Think Snow, Tweet Snow !!!

Saturday, January 31, 2015

I got the welcome mat out for a storm that now seems headed our way !

Did we will the Monday storm northward ? I don't know, but if we did we should bottle that strategy and store it for future events. The Monday snow is back as models continue to violently waffle this way and that way on about everything. It has been a forecasting headache for many of the NWS forecasting offices who have scrambled rather admirably to keep up with the ever-evolving picture. Washington DC for example seemed like ground zero for 6-12 inches with temperatures in the 20's while much of New England remained dry. This scenario would have the low pressure center tracking along the Virginia/North Carolina border Monday. Now however, the storm is expected to track across southern Pennsylvania to the New Jersey coastline and proceed to do roughly a 50 mile hug with the southern New England coastline. This track is not the most optimal one for us at MRG, but good enough and far better than the former. Washington DC, by the way will wake up to rain and temperatures in the 40's Monday, quite a shift in the forecast over a 36 hour period.

If we can get another 50-100 miles north on this storm track perhaps we can get our foot of snow. For now however I think it's yet another storm in the productive 5-10" category. This will be a cold storm as well with a fresh supply of arctic air reestablishing itself just as the snow begins to fall around day break Monday. Snow should continue to fall at a light to moderate clip for much of the day with temperatures falling to near zero and later below zero as snow tapers off during the evening. After a very chilly and mostly sub-zero Tuesday, a midweek clipper could spread some additional snows into the region later Wednesday into Thursday. Not a bad way to start what I expect will be a terrific month of skiing at MRG. 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

BC Bomber turned Gulf of Maine bomber should bring a nice dose of Friday powder

This nice little BC Bomber type system should serve us quite well on Friday and provide the mountain with a nice powder day. We haven't seen too many events like this over the past few seasons but they do occur frequently and produce positive results just as frequently. Light snow should overspread the region Thursday night as the relatively benign low pressure system approaches. As the storm interacts with the relative warmth of the Gulf of Maine, it will intensify quite rapidly and precipitation will enhance along the northern and western flank of the deepening system. The high country of the Green Mountains will also get aided by terrain effects and a nice fetch of moisture from the fast flow off Lake Champlain. Flow which should enhance late in the morning and continue through the day and into Friday night. It's not incredibly unstable so I don't expect huge amounts of snow, but another 5-10 is reasonable on top of the approximately 5 we got on throwback day is not too shabby.

Light snow or flurries continue into a very cold Saturday. We've had a few days this week and this month where temperatures have struggle to climb above zero and Saturday will be another one of those days. Blustery northwest winds will keep wind chills in the vicinity of 20 below throughout the day. Sunday will be the more comfortable of the two weekend days with temperatures recovering back into the low teens along with relatively calm winds.

We've been watching Monday's potential weather system for some time now and the plethora of models that have been released over the last 24 hours have all taken this system further south by a few hundred miles. This keeps snowfall well to the region's south and this scenario would allow cold to overwhelm the region once again early in the week. I am not completely selling my soul to this idea just yet given how poorly the medium range models have performed this winter but would not be surprised by it either. The polar jet is back in a big way early in the week and it's proximity to New England will have the capability of shunting any nearby weather systems eastward. This same "PJ" can bring a clipper system into the region for the middle of the week before more cold arrives around the 5th or 6th of February.

There are signs beyond February 8th or so of a significant temperature moderation and at least a temporary reconfiguration of the long-wave or jet stream pattern. I think the teleconnection indices, particularly the NAO/AO strongly support the receding of the polar jet in this time frame but I do not at all buy into the idea of a significant warm-up for February. The Pacific- Decadal Oscillation and the continued presence of warm water across the Gulf of Alaska and the west coast of North America in general will make it extremely difficult for any upper trough to gain  a persistent foothold. This means any temperature moderation across New England would be slight as opposed to dramatic and that the door should be wide open for potential snow events. In short, I think we can look forward to a good month of February with plenty of excitement.

Monday, January 26, 2015

5-10 windblown inches form massive New England nor'easter

A couple more cycles of data have been released and some slight modifications to the forecast are required. The storm track has shifted east ever so slightly. Ideally we would want a low pressure center to track west of Cape Cod (at least the eastern tip of Cape Cod) and even more ideally right over Boston. As this storm bombs south of the Cape it will make every effort to reach that eastern tip but the latest models have it falling just short. Still, I expect we will see a good band of snow rotate back into the region from the south and east during the early part of the day Tuesday. Snow should begin at or just before dawn and some moderate snow is probable for a while during the morning beginning right around first tracks time. The heaviest snow will be well off to our south and east. The Monadnock region of New Hampshire should do extremely well and much of eastern Massachusettes and Rhode Island will perform even better (perhaps 25-35 inches in spots). Here at MRG, I am expecting a wind blown 5-10" and I mean it when I say wind blown. Winds will become very feisty during the day, mainly out of the north and will cause lots of blowing and drifting both on and off the hill. Snow will taper to flurries during the overnight hours and will give way to a blustery and chilly Wednesday. Temperatures will hover around 10 through much of the storm and wind chills will be well below zero.

Nice looking BC Bomber type system is showing up for late in the week. Not huge amounts of moisture but enough for a decent period of snow Thursday night into early Friday and another several inches is certainly possible. Still expecting an invasion of bitterly cold temperatures for early February (Feb 1 or 2). Interestingly, there is some uncertainly regarding the way in which the cold invades. Does a more organized weather system mark the leading edge of this cold or is just a benign clipper system. The Euro is not suggesting any activity out of the southern branch or subtropical portion of the jet yet other models are leaving the door open for such activity. Not a bad pattern though, no thaws on the horizon, lots of cold weather and hopefully the snow continues to pile up.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Expectations for Tuesday's potentially monster nor'easter shifting dramatically

Humbled and a bit embarrassed, yet full of exciting news. This is a pattern loaded with potential and in two updates a potential storm was discussed in the upcoming Monday/Tuesday time frame. Yet, I totally threw in the towel this past Thursday as it looked like the polar jet would do a "squash job" on a promising looking storm. This aforementioned polar jet is expected to be a little softer early in the upcoming week. It's such a subtle difference but oh so critical. The clipper system Sunday is expected to dive into the Midwest as expected and then begin evolve into a monster coastal system near Cape Hatteras. The polar jet would be capable of providing the westerlies necessary to drive a strengthening nor'easter out over the ocean but the jet a bit weaker and a bit farther north (verses expectations a few days ago), this storm can do its thing. 

I have alluded to the erratic performance of the models this winter and this event underscores that point. That and models continue to "evolve" in regards to the handling of this event. Intensity, track and the eventual precipitation field have all been altered dramatically over the last 24-36 hours. This being said, the "evolution" may continue and expectations will need to be refined after the next few cycles of model simulations. Snow is a lot more likely at MRG for Tuesday but I am not ready to guarantee a huge dump yet, at the very least though some snow is likely.

From Cape Hatteras, the storm is expected to explode later Monday and get sucked toward Cape Cod. If this does indeed go down this way, and the low does indeed deepen to sub-980 mb, as the lastest pieces of info have suggested, snow will move into the area early Tuesday and become heavy for several hours. The snow would be accompanied by wind, cold temperatures and treacherous road conditions. Though there is data supporting a 10-20 inch dump, and yes I think that can certainly happen, I want to caution my fellow powderhounds. We could see some additional changes. We could still see less than 10 and yes, we could see more than 20. Lets wait another 24 hours and see how things look. I also want to point out that this system could become a nor'easter of historic significance for portions of the northeast. Eastern Mass, Rhode Island, Connecticut even New York city could memorable snowfall totals and the biggest storm in a few years.

I'll have more on the long range in a subsequent update, but temperatures will be cold in the wake of the storm during the middle of the week. A clipper dives to the region's south Thursday. This is a potent little system and though it could confine most of its impact to locations south of us we could see at least a light accumulation. Flurries and snow showers follow for Friday and perhaps into Saturday the 31st ahead of a more major jet amplification late in the weekend. Models for several days bring the full ferocity of the polar jet, possibly even the whole polar vortex over the eastern Great Lakes for early February. Extremely cold weather and possibly some snow out in front of all that Sunday is possible. The cold would linger through February 4th or 5th before receding allowing for a slow moderation. 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Looks like we swing and miss on both storms over the next few days I am sorry to say

Weekend storm comes close, very close, but this area of low pressure will pass east of Cape Cod and move northeast from there. Parts of eastern Mass, southeastern New Hampshire and eastern Maine will see some good snow very late Saturday and into Sunday but we needed this storm to track 100 miles further west for a significant dump. A shift in the "11th hour" is not impossible but not likely given what the consensus of data is indicating. Temperatures will sneak up to within a few degrees of the freezing mark on Saturday making it one of the milder days of the month so far and perhaps the last chance to eclipse the freezing mark until well into February. The milder temperatures, albeit the brief appearance, will come in advance of a clipper system that arrives late Saturday into Sunday bringing much colder air with it. I had hoped the clipper would bring some replenishment with it, but coastal system will steal some of its thunder and prevent that from happening. Still, we could see some snow showers and an inch or two Sunday if we are lucky. Temperatures Sunday will remain in the teens and plummet in to the single numbers during the evening.

The second of the two potential coastal storms will get squashed by the weight of the polar jet early next week. It was just a timing issue in this case. If Monday's system could have arrived a bit quicker, we might have had a phasing and a nice accumulation up this way but the snow will fall across southern New England in this set up while bitterly cold, dry and unmodified arctic air dominates the region in its stead. Temperatures will be sub-zero Monday morning and struggle to reach 10 during the afternoon. Tuesday will be a repeat of Monday.

The polar jet will be a persistent force throughout the upcoming period through the early days of February before receding around the time of February 4th. It will be tough to get an organized storm system from the southern branch of the Jet but we can continue to see clippers and we should see one in the later part of next week. This will mark the advance of another reinforcing blast of cold and hopefully some snow will accompany the advance of this chill. There are indications of some extreme temperatures in the time frame between January 31 and February 3rd. We could see a clipper or a disturbance bring some light snow but unless we see some fundamental chances in this pattern, much of the big precipitation will likely fall to our south. This is typical for January around here and honestly I am happy to get through the month without a major thaw.

The upcoming cold is being driven by the persistent ridge across western North America which is expected to strengthen briefly late next week before retrograding into and evolving into a high latitude block across the Bering Sea. The jet stream in the Pacific is expected to remain loose however and this means arctic air should remain on the playing field. Can't complain about a pattern that continues to support some cold and not one dominated by the "evil empire" but it's unfortunate about the two misses and what looks to be a drier forecast in the days that follow. Hopefully something intriguing shows up on the ever-changing weather map sooner than later.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Watching two more potential storms over the next week but both are far from guaranteed

2 days and 15 inches of snow since the last update and once again there are some new forecast ideas that will require an introduction while other ones might need to be scrapped. The changes today are not quite so drastic compared to last week but it is nonetheless remarkable how inconsistent medium range forecast ideas have been. Even the normally reliable European model has generally failed to lock on and stick to an idea for more than a day or 2. The American GFS model ? Well, this numerical weather prediction package just underwent a major upgrade where the resolution was increased in the long range, product fields were added and model components were changed amongst other things. The results on a strictly empirical level certainly leave something to be desired. Typical GFS model biases remain and these biases seem to result more from problems with the model physics than any resolution related shortcoming. I digress however. Numerical Weather Prediction are the fruits of some hard labor by many others and it has made amazing strides over the last quarter century and should continue to do so over the next quarter century.

Still nothing doing from Wednesday clipper and the overall forecast appears free of accumulating snow for the duration of the week. Temperatures will remain within few degrees of seasonable levels and visibility should stay pretty good given the season. Not one, but two updates ago we had discussed  a potential southern branch feature becoming our next significant weather feature. In the last update I squashed this storm as it looked "squashed" by several different computer models yielding hardly a dent anywhere on the East Coast. As of Tuesday afternoon, this system looks far less "squashed" again. It is rising to prevalence out of the ashes and is expected to leave a mark on coastal areas. For most the storm will bring rain which might change to snow as the storm exits. If the storm continues to appear stronger and farter north and west with an expected storm track, I will get very excited for Sunday. As of now it is still a whiff. It is also killing the potential clipper I had advertised as the cause for some light snow Saturday. Lets just hope for one or the other.

The overall long wave pattern will become extremely amplified as this storm departs Sunday. It will become this way without the overwhelming weight of the Polar Jet which means the East Cost will be a "powder keg" of sorts. Indeed, the next clipper which is expected to begin its approach late Monday could very well explode into something of great significance Tuesday in this set up and will warrant a close watch over the next few days. We could see ideas  with the Sunday storm and this potential Tuesday storm shift as models refine the forecast and digest the various ingredients associated with all these players. It will turn chilly later Tuesday into the middle of the week and we should see more polar jet energy by late in the week bring a reinforcing blast of potentially even colder temperatures.

The polar jet is then expected to recede just slightly into early February as we lose some support from the NAO but not enough I think to completely eliminate the cold or pose a significant risk for a thaw. The biggest upper air feature in the Northern Hemisphere by early February will be a large blocking ridge which is expected to settle in the Bering Sea. This means the Polar Jet moves south but should focus the arctic air on the western US. Jet energy undercutting this ridge in the Pacific should provide some energy for 1 or 2 well organized storm systems in early February. No reason to think that something big can't happen in this period but we will just have to wait for anything concrete to show its face.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Green Mountains should come out on top by Monday morning

Yes indeed ! #Sweetspot. This was a tough victory to earn as well since it will be such a narrow window of good snow associated with this storm. The Adirondacks are west of the good moisture and most of New Hampshire will see rain. The Pats game in Foxboro is obviously just wet or damp (Take it easy on me Bill Belichick)  with temps in the 40's. Most of VT is sitting pretty however. Perhaps not the Connecticut River Valley and perhaps not the Champlain Valley either. The spine of the Green Mountains ? That is exactly where I would want to be !

Snow should arrive a few hours prior to the Pats Colts Sunday. There has been freezing rain and rain reported throughout southern New England and the New York City metro and precipitation could start as a mix of freezing rain, sleet and snow. There is a lot of very good moisture associated with this system and as the precipitation intensifies Sunday evening we should see more in the way of snow and less in the way of about everything else. Later Sunday night, temperatures will drop, the snow should continue to fall in the more powdery variety and should accumulate 8-14 inches on the hill by first tracks time on MLK day. Snow should continue in lighter fashion for a good chunk of Monday with temperatures in the high 20's. Elevation will be a big help during this storm. You may not do too well below 1000 feet if that's where you reside. I would expect the high country does pretty well in the end however even if things start out a little wet this evening.

Seasonable temperatures follow for the middle part of the upcoming week. A clipper passes well to the region's south on Wednesday but MRG will stay high and for the most part dry during this event.  A big, jet stream phasing, late week 2 footer is out the window I am sorry to report as of today but overall longwave pattern is going to reconfigure itself quite favorably beginning the weekend of the 24th and MRG will reap the benefits of this with several potential smaller events and a chance for a bigger one with a little good fortune. I feel relatively confident about the mountain securing 3-6 inches of powder from a clipper system on Saturday the 24th. Another system early in the last week of January should at least provide lighter accumulation. This one could grab some limited southern branch energy and evolve into something bigger though it's certainly way too early to tell for sure.

The pattern amplifies around the 27th and 28th allowing for some very chilly air to cover a good part of eastern North America. This happens as western North America completely dries out thanks to the establishment of a large ridge in the jet stream. There have been varying indications of snow events in the last several days of January and with the Polar Jet re-asserting itself, I think most of these events would be garden variety but it will still be a nice way to finish out the month and a good way to start February.