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Monday, April 9, 2018

Last standard update of the season has minimal snow this week with gradually moderating temperatures

We got one 4 incher on Friday and a lot of cold weather over the weekend, but I was hoping for substantially more out of this 2018 winter encore. The big disappointment is the early week storm which was certainly capable  making an impact but will exit the east coast with a whimper early Tuesday, April 10th. This meager system does have an inverted trough structure which will spread some light snow or snow showers across both New York and New England Monday night into Tuesday. Mad River Glen and surroundings could score about an inch out of this but the event will fall well short of what will be needed to open the re open the mountain. The spring warming trend will commence in the wake of the light snow on Tuesday and though this process will be rather slow over the coming week, the snowmelt will begin to speed up across the high country. Given this information, today's update will be the last regular one of the season before the blog's traditional summer hiatus though a proper end of season summary will follow this in the coming week or two.

Wednesday will start out chilly with another round of near 20 degree temperatures but some limited April sunshine will boost readings into the 40's. It will take some time to soften up some of the snow near the summits  of the mountains that remain open. Lower dewpoints (near 20) Wednesday might also keep the corn horn at bay but Thursday's temps will be a few degrees warmer and so will the dewpoints which could prove to be the difference. Thursday could also feature some mixed precipitation especially late which will end as some plain rain. Friday looks a few degrees milder yet again, near 50, and most if the opened terrain should be softened.

The weekend forecast has taken a turn for the colder in recent days. Some chilly arctic air is looming in Canada and seems intent on making a charge southward through the New England side door this weekend (via Quebec). Models have yet to give us a conclusive read out of the weekend's weather but I trust the Euro which has established some consistency over the last 48 hours. Some forecasts still have readings in the 50's this weekend but I expect this to drop in the coming days. In the end, both Saturday and Sunday should feature lots of clouds and temperatures between 32 and 42. Visibility might also be pretty limited and some rain is likely though the timing of this remains uncertain.

Heavier rain is likely for a period early next week (April 16th or 17th) which might end as some snow during the middle of the week. For the most part, temperatures should remain well above freezing during the day with only a few hours of below freezing temperatures during the overnights late in the week.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The winter encore continues for another week with snow Friday and possibly more after that

The upcoming week is likely to be the last "serious" roar of the 2017-2018 winter season. I woudn't crown the season has historic by any means, but one has to credit the longevity. The upcoming week will feature plenty of anomalous cold and 3 decent chances for snowfall. The first chance Friday is a near certainty at this point, the next two not as much.

Visibility will finally improve Thursday with the arrival of a serious charge or cold dry arctic chill. Thanks to some blustery winds, the day will have a mid-wintry feel to it with readings starting out in the teens and struggling to reach the freezing mark. Any morning flurries will give way to some sunshine, a welcome sight given the dreariness of Tuesday and Wednesday. A strengthening clipper system will bring snow back to much of Vermont Friday. Clouds will arrive in the pre-dawn hours Friday and the snow comes soon after with temperatures predominantly in the 20's. The snow should accumulate 3-5 inches across the high country by the middle of the afternoon, diminish for a time and then resume as occasional snow showers Friday night. Temperatures Friday are likely to reach the freezing mark, allowing the snow to be on the wetter side in the valleys though its likely to remain powdery closer to the summits.

Arctic air will gradually attempt to rebuild across the region on Saturday but a wave of low pressure will try and establish itself into a full fledged storm along the Carolina coastline by late in the day. Incoming energy in the polar jet has the capability of further igniting this system and allowing for a period of snowfall in the Saturday night time frame. Significant snow is not a likely outcome with this storm but it bears watching as almost anything is possible in this type of set up. The masters golf tournament will finish up this Sunday but Vermont will spend most of the day in sub-freezing country with readings in the 20's during the morning and 30's during the afternoon. Snow is possible early Sunday from the aforementioned storm, but again, the chance for a big accumulation is on the low side.

The pattern does have a caboose. The jet stream will be relaxing early next week as some of the polar jet energy diminishes or retreats. Meanwhile, a weather system will gather some steam as it crosses the middle of the country Monday and begins gathering a bit of Atlantic Ocean moisture Monday night. Without the full ferocity of the polar jet, the storm will not have as much cold air to work with and will be moving decidedly slower. That said, it has the capability of becoming a rather potent east coast weather producer by Tuesday April 11 and snowfall will largely depend on the track of whatever develops. For now, better to just emphasize the potential and also understand that the system could stay south, move well north or just fall apart altogether. I would place the chances for significant snow at 30-40 percent though which isn't bad 6 or so days out.

I suggested a pattern change toward the warmer side around April 10 during the last update which obviously appears delayed but not by much. The relaxing jet stream will allow temperatures to modify by the end of the week and readings are likely going to reach the 50's and even 60's by the middle of the month. Though winter is likely to take an isolated punch or two at us after that, I am guessing that this is it as far as sustained wintry weather is concerned. Enjoy 


Thursday, March 29, 2018

Colder, wintry weather is on the way but we need the storm track to cooperate next week

The "corn horn" was finally sounded and unfortunately the rain horn has also been sounded. After about a quarter to a half inch of rain Thursday night, the rain will move out on Friday and some partial clearing will accompany a push of colder temperatures. The last full day of March, Saturday, will start with sub-freezing temperatures and with the help of a healthy dose of sunshine, readings will climb into the 40's. A "BC bomber" then attacks from the west on Saturday night bringing clouds and some elevation sensitive rain/snow showers. Unfortunately this system is expected to track through Quebec leaving us on the warmer and less precipitous side of things. We could see a small gloppy accumulation above 2500 feet prior to Sunday morning but I don't expect a powder day Sunday. It will however be colder with temperatures again starting in the 20's and only rising into the 30's.

Now I know the updates have gotten more sparse and we are expecting some winter weather to return to the region, so my apologies for the lack of updates. Since the weekend, the intensity of the chill next week looks slightly less. Still, a very impressive area of anomalous April cold will set up shop across the middle part of North America and though its reach into New England looks a bit more tenuous, we are still .lined up for some below normal temperatures and potentially some snow. Monday appears to be a dry day with morning temperatures in the teens and afternoon readings struggling to get above freezing. After that, the first of what I think will be two significant weather producers will impact the region. With the center of the cold and supporting trough in the jet stream set up across the middle of the country, this first storm has been advertised to take a less than ideal track later Tuesday into Wednesday. This puzzle has yet to be pieced together however and even given the aforementioned scenario, we could still be looking at a period of snow turning to mixed precipitation. If we intend to get any powder however, we will need this system to track further south and not close to the Canadian border or even farther north. Colder weather will follow for Thursday and send temperatures at least partially back below freezing through Friday and then another weather system is likely to impact the region around the weekend of April 7th and 8th. We have the cold weather in place but will need the storm track to cooperate much like we need it to for the first storm on Tuesday.

 Around the time of April 10th, the jet in the Pacific will tighten a bit and although some cold weather is indicated to linger across the Plains, it will likely loosen its grip on New England. Hardly a bold prediction given the time of the year, but we should expect temperatures to spend a greater percentage of time above freezing with readings reaching the 60 degree mark at least once between April 11th and 15th.

Saturday, March 24, 2018

A few inches Saturday night keeps the winter vibe alive and after some milder weather this upcoming week, winter will make an April return

Still talking about fresh powder on March 24th and we could be continuing such discussions into April by the looks of things. Strong northerly flow at Jet Stream level typically means dry weather in Vermont and for the most part it will be in this case, but a quick moving impulse will drop down this chimney Saturday night and allow for a burst of snowfall across the high country. The snow won't last long but will accumulate 2-4 inches before ending by morning. Temperatures as I indicated, are good enough for powder - near 20 degrees.

Sunday will feature increasing amounts of blue sky and Monday will feature a total blue sky and will probably rank as one of the best visibility days of the year. Temperatures will generally stay below freezing on much of the mountain Sunday but the strong late March sunshine will help boost temperatures to within a few degrees of 40 Monday. The warming, given the time of year, was pretty imminent this upcoming week, but we've had thaws already this year that were more destructive. Readings will climb into the 40's on Tuesday and up near 50 on Wednesday, but the warmer temperatures won't be accompanied by high dewpoints or strong winds and will thus leave much of the snowpack in tact in the mountains.  Rain showers late on Wednesday or Wednesday night will melt a little more snow, as will some lingering mild weather on Thursday, but the cold is returning by the weekend and new snow might very well arrive with it.

Arctic cold will be on the move southward late next week and into early April thanks to a plethora of favorable teleconnection indices, mainly a relaxed Pacific Jet stream. There are hints of a significant storm late Friday into early Saturday capable of providing a multitude of precipitation types to New England. Temperatures on Friday are likely too mild to support snow but an infusion of arctic chill could make things more interesting by Saturday March 31st. Cold, below normal temperatures will continue at a varying intensity for at least a week into April and the wintry temperatures are likely to be accompanied by some wintry weather. If we can continue to keep the subtropics involved as we have through much of the last month, be prepared for some intrigue.  

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Cold weather and some snow flurries through the weekend then a warm-up for next week

Another in a long list of March of 2018 winter storms has raged on the Mid_Atlantic and parts of southern New England, but this impressive system remains and will remain beneath us. This nor'easter, like the one very early this month, features a strong and closed upper low south of the Delmarva Peninsula and this consolidated much of the precipitation to the western and southern flank of the storm. We also have some very dry, cold air in place this week. Though not bulletproof, this airmass also helped shield us from the heaviest precipitation.

We still have a ton of snow on the ground; in fact, its some of the deepest late March snowpack we've seen in a while. Temperatures finally inched above the freezing mark on the lower part of mountain Wednesday, but for the most part, readings will stay below the freezing mark through the weekend with the exception of a few hours during each of the next several afternoons and really only at lower elevations. As for snow, the forecast doesn't have much. A low pressure wave will bring some wintry precipitation to the Mid-Atlantic again this weekend but this system will again follow a very southern path and stay well south of the region. This allows the aforementioned colder air to remain in place and although heavy snow  is not expected, a very weak plume of moisture from the maritimes will keep Friday and Saturday on the mostly cloudy side with flurries and an occasional snow shower. Don't think we can do much better than 1-3 inches by early Sunday from all this, but its worth keeping an eye on.

I advertised another possible warm-up next week and though it looks a day or two delayed, arrive it will. Chilly overnight temperatures will continue into the early part of next week thanks to clear skies and snowcover but sunshine will boost readings toward 40 on Monday and well into the 40's Tuesday. If we don't hear it by Tuesday, the corn horn should sound on Wednesday & Thursday of next week with at least one of those days featuring 50-plus temperatures.

Winter is not done however. The EPO is really expected to crash by late in the month and will be coupled by some significant ridging in the Arctic north of Alaska. Combine all that with a possible reemergence of ridging in Greenland and it adds up to one of the best set ups for cold and wintry weather we've seen all year in eastern North America. The timing has been pushed back just slightly compared to a few days ago but we should expect a big surge of below and much below normal temperatures around April Fools Day and some accompanying snow across the Vermont high-country.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Upcoming storm stays south of Vermont/MRG but cold persists for another week

Thanks to the deep snow cover and an influx of arctic air, temperatures dropped below zero Sunday morning in some sections of the state and will likely do so again by Monday morning. It's post St Patrick's Day and winter prevails and will continue to do so through this upcoming week with temperatures remaining below average and mostly below freezing. In a way of thinking, winter will prevail a little too much this week as the storm track has shifted south and will help keep the next juicy weather system well south of Vermont.

By midday Monday, the storm in question will be crossing the lower Mississippi River Valley and gathering moisture from the Gulf of Mexico as it does so. The weather across New England has been a lot colder than expected 10 days ago and that is a result of substantial amounts of polar jet energy that has taken up a position over eastern sections of North America. During other polar intrusions this winter and in winters past, we can recall how much this can suppress many storms and this is no exception (though in March, sometimes all bets are off). That said, we have established some pretty good agreement that our next potential big east coast system will stay south of the Virginia tidewater with its trailing upper level support confined to the southern Appalachian Mountains. The storm will take a more northward turn Wednesday get to within 150 miles or so of Cape Cod, but unlike its predecessors, there is no mechanism in this jet stream to hold this storm in the Canadian Maritimes long enough to allow moisture to reach Vermont. The forecast has thus gotten pretty dry and includes lots of sunshine actually with the exception of a period of cloudiness Wednesday and Thursday. Temperatures will modify only slowly and will remain below freezing on most of the mountain through Thursday.

The weekend of the 24th and 25th again looks colder and includes mostly below freezing temperatures thanks to an expected re enforcing of the east coast trough. Milder air will be gathering some steam across the middle of the country and will begin making a push northeastward as the weekend progresses. A series of weaker weather producers will likely divide the milder air from the cold gripping New England and may produce some snowfall as they pass though its a bit early to clearly define the timing. With mid-week storm passing to our south, the weekend is likely our next chance for snow generally speaking.

The mild air is expected to continue gathering strength by the 26th and is likely to make some inroads into Vermont for at least a day prior to March 28th as the Arctic Oscillation neutralizes. Winter is probably not done however as a building ridge in western North America and Alaska will probably allow for a major push of chill around the end of the month.

Friday, March 16, 2018

January-like temperatures will keep it powdery through the weekend while next week storm is still in play but looks somewhat south of us

Half way through March of 2018, nearly 75 inches of snow has fallen across the high country surrounding the Mad River Valley. Just 15-16 days ago, one would have to climb to the summit quad at Mt Ellen just to see consistent snowcover (MRG was closed). It was a depressing state of affairs even as the pattern appeared to be improving dramatically. It was a season truly on the brink to borrow the title from the great John Feinstein book. Going into St Patrick's Day weekend, there is currently snow where there almost always isn't, cliffs that have disappeared, ice falls covered in pow and steeps and chutes that even a hack like me can navigate.

And the snow keeps falling. Flurries in the case of Friday and these will actually continue into Saturday though accumulations will be fairly minimal. As you probably have noticed, the forecast just keep getting colder. Though the snow has fallen at an amazing clip this month, temperatures are still above average ( for the month) and Friday marks the first day of substantially below normal temperatures. Saturday's readings will be colder still, hovering in the teens throughout the day with blustery northwest winds pushing the wind chill down below zero. It mostly sunny on Sunday but wintry with readings close to zero in the morning and near 20 in the afternoon. Monday looks like a repeat of Sunday.

And then on to the next storm, a sizable one, that will dump snow across the Rocky Mountains this weekend and churn  its way across the Mississippi Valley on Monday. With the colder changes in the forecast, the storm track has shifted to the south and there is good agreement  that the center of the storm will be somewhere between the Virginia Tidewater and Cape Hatteras by Tuesday evening. The setup with this event appears a bit different than our recent one. Though some blocking in the jet stream has defied some expectations and will persist through the weekend and into early next week, it is expected to subside during the middle of the week, allowing the storm to have an "escape hatch" as opposed to getting hung up in the Maritimes like its two predecessors. At least that's how it looks right now. It appears like we could grab a few inches from this even in the current setup but we'll likely need the storm to track further north than models currently have for another big snow producer. This is not a big ask, so lets just see how this all looks in another day or two.

Meanwhile, temperatures will gradually modify during the week but remain mostly below freezing on the mountain through the end of the week. The period beginning Sunday March 25th and ending sometime early in the following week appears to be the time frame where a good push of spring-like temperatures could reach the region. Something similar was shown for St Patrick's day weekend about 10 days ago and we can all see how well that worked out. In addition, the warm-up is not likely to last even if it were to happen, as the ensembles are showing a nice looking positive PNA structure in the jet stream by the 27th or 28th of March. This will promote another southward push of cold temperatures that would essentially take us to the end of the month.