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Friday, May 4, 2018

Winter 2017-18 gets high marks for longevity and resilience but one can't forget the nasty interruption

If nothing else, one has to admire the persistence and certainly resilience of this most recent winter. After reaching 70 degrees in parts of the Mad River Valley on February 21st, the mountain failed to see any matching warmth until late April or early May. The past winter was unique for its longevity and appreciated for the longer, more sustained cold outbreaks. That said, the 7-week stretch which began on that catastrophic Friday January 12th and extended through February was very unappreciated and severely crippled what is traditionally the heart of the Vermont ski season. A 2nd straight March recovery was epic, but it would be nice if we could reach March without needing a "Hail Mary" to save the season. 

Going back to early last autumn, it looked as if the unabated succession of anomalous warmth across eastern North America had broken. The summer was milder, autumn appeared to be arriving quickly and perhaps we could align ourselves for a succession of cooler months that might extend through the cold season. Then, for the 3rd consecutive year, Vermont experienced an autumn blowtorch with summer-like heat late in September and very warm weather for much of October. When "El Torchy" type patterns linger for such a duration, I tend to get concerned there are extraneous sea-surface temperature forces that are steering the outcome. Indeed, one could make that case given the configuration of sea surface temperature anomalies in the mid and high latitude Pacific and what appeared to be a building La Nina in the equatorial Pacific. Some of those sea surface temperature anomalies shifted in November however and the blowtorch abruptly ended. Winter didn't exactly break the door down in November but it did make itself known. Temperatures were generally below average and the mountains secured 10-15 inches of snow by the Thanksgiving holiday with a favorable looking pattern emerging for early December. 

The Arctic Oscillation (AO) provided a massive boost for the colder weather both in November/December and the season generally. By way of comparison, the 2016-2017 winter featured an AO that averaged over an index of 1 which in the aggregate is quite substantial while 2017-2018 featured an AO that was a shade below zero. The effect of this was felt instantly. Though the state saw a few mild days very early in December, a somewhat blocked arctic combined with ridging in western North America to produce a nice succession of sub-freezing temperature days beginning around December 7th. Lighter snows accompanied the colder weather initially but a clipper system arrived on December 12th, blew itself up into a full fledged winter storm and deposited over a foot of snow on the high country by the end of December 13th. For almost 2 months (way too long thinking back), the 12/12-13 event was the best of the season. The colder weather was more of the garden variety type through mid December but the pattern strengthened as the month progressed. There were significant questions relating to all this, as it appeared that a developing block across Alaska would be in direct competition with a building ridge across the southeast United States. Would another Christmas holiday feature a big thaw or would arctic air prevail ? In the end, the arctic cold won and won big. Christmas weekend saw some snow to ice and Christmas Day featured some powder though not as much as we might have liked. The ensuing days were brutally cold with temperatures spending much of that period between December 27 and 31st below zero. 

The onslaught of cold continued into the New Years holiday weekend and through the first week of 2018. All sorts of terms were thrown describing the deep freeze, my favorite being "The Arcticgeddon". Though it was impressive, sustained outbreak of extreme cold are not uncommon and typically impact much of the eastern seaboard every 2 years or so. For Vermont, the cold rivaled and even exceeded in some instances that of February 2015 with nighttime and morning readings of -25 and daytime temperatures failing to climb above zero both on January 1st and 2nd (the coldest two days of the winter season). The northern green mountains were hit with a unique warm advection snow event late on January 2nd, but for the most part, the period after Christmas through the first few days of 2018 was dry thanks to a suppressed storm track and the very shallow stable layer of cold that typically accompanies the polar vortex type events. Coastal areas did get a big impact from what many referred to as the "bomb cyclone" on January 4th. Meteorologically speaking, this was a truly mesmerizing storm since it strengthened to a hurricane-like intensity (~970 mb), producing 30-50 foot swells along the Massachusettes coast that were captured in full fury on YouTube (I highly recommend looking this up if you haven't seen it). I've provided another link here 

Scituate, MA video from 1/4/18

The storm stayed offshore but nonetheless caused a healthy swath of cold, powdery, snow in coastal sections and grazed Vermont with a few cold inches. Wind chills were 40 below or lower at the summits that day and into Friday making the skiing a bit of a challenge, but the snow was piling up and the season (aside from the extreme chill) seemed to be firing on all cylinders.

And then came January 12th. There were some glaring signs that the arctic cold would make a big retreat during the back half of the month and a rough 1-2 weeks of skiing was likely state-wide. The actual weather played its own little tune however, improvising quite a bit and deviating verses many of the expectations put forth early in the month. The January 12th event was some seriously bad improv. A combination of features in the jet stream conspired to produce an absolute worst case scenario for New England skiing. This combination included a somewhat phased amplified jet stream across the high plains and a resilient upper air low pressure center over Florida. The surge of warmth across New England was simply overwhelming and was accompanied by rain, high winds and temperatures well into the 50's. The 24-plus hours of all this was simply too much or much of the snow pack, even across the high country. Yes we retained a minimal amount of snow when the snow and sleet returned by Saturday the 13th (MLK weekend) but it wasn't much and thus the Vermont "frozen hellscape" as one follower of the blog called it had officially commenced. 

The improvisation actually continued for another week in January, as arctic cold made an impressive southward surge thanks to the formation of a powerful ridge in the jet stream which took up a position over the Canadian Rockies. The surprisingly strong outbreak of widespread cold provided a golden opportunity for a quick recovery but all of the precipitation and specifically snow was confined to areas well, well to the regions south or well offshore.  And then the cold finally did retreat as the MJO cycled out of the more favorable phases allowing the jet stream to tighten and the infamous "evil empire" to set up shop north and east of Hawaii. January ended quite horribly with lots of mild weather, mixed precipitation or rain and only isolated days of colder weather that included little if any snowfall. Hope came alive toward the end of the month in the form of what appeared to be a much improved weather pattern in February, but the weather continued to improvise and prognosticators that opted to marry themselves to specific ideas regarding the February weather pattern were taken to the woodshed yet again.

February indeed started promising and included both new snow and colder weather. Man it looked good too, especially for those weather enthusiasts that love to hyper focus on the MJO which I can tell you from experience is not running in short supply right now. The MJO had, as expected, move into some of the mild phases in the cycle during the latter part of January but was proceeding very quickly and a 3 year old could have quite easily extropolated that the MJO was riding toward glory in February. Extrapolating the MJO is a dangerous game however, about as dangerous as over-emphasizing the cycle as the single best determinant for the ambient North American weather pattern. Everything was on track initially with snow falling late on Superbowl Sunday and then a foot of snow falling during the middle of the week from a garden variety system that tracked beautifully for interior New England. It all fell apart thereafter however. The MJO stalled, the ridge in the jet stream across western North America fell apart and it finally started to snow across Colorado which had been barren for the entire season. It began to get mild across Vermont by the weekend of the 10th and 11th and then it got milder and then even milder. We got some rain, we lost some snow and then we got more rain and lost more snow. Then the mountains got 60-degree weather on February 21st and many places at 2000 feet had little if any snow. By the end of the month it appeared hopeless. Though improvements were right around the corner, the snow was almost entirely gone below 3000 feet. Pictures taken at Mad River Glen on April 30th show more snow on the mountain verses what was present during the last few days of February. It was a truly depressing state of affairs
  
Morale always takes a beating during blowtorches and meltdowns and in recent years it has been accompanied by doom, gloom and despair. Each round of anomalous warmth always brings discussion of global warming/climate change and comments are often suggestive that winters are "going, going gone" as are decent ski seasons. All of this is actually true if the warming experienced over the last 150 years persists for another 200 years or beyond. Generations from now, winters in Vermont might be unrecognizable compared to what we are typically accustomed. We as a globe have to make it a priority to rethink our carbon footprint if we are to conquer this challenge. All that said, global land and sea temperatures have moved up about one or two hundreths of a degree F every year. Speaking strictly in the scales of geological time, these are alarming changes. They are not changes however that can be easily separated from typical statistical noise associated with variability which as we all know occurs through time and across geographical space. Cold happens, warm happens, storms happen, drought happens and all these things will continue to happen regardless of climate changes. Attributing each anomalous weather event to global warming and climate change introduces some sketchy science unless compelling scientific and data driven arguments are made to support such assertions.  Hurricane season seems to bring out some of the worst actors in this regard. Though warmer water temperatures undoubtedly support stronger storms the available data has not suggested that hurricane activity in a general sense has increased at least during the satellite era. The climate change/global warming issue is a vital one that requires a mass movement just for general awareness. Like any movement of this scale and importance, there are going to be bad actors that rely too heavily on bad science or are simply using the platform to garner attention for themselves. If you are one that tends to be disinclined to take the climate change issue seriously because of characters like Al Gore (who I don't consider the worst actor but is still guilty of using reaching scientific arguments to make his case) I would try and move past it and understand that although some of the alarmists might be seriously wrong about their claims, one still has be extremely concerned about what the climate might look like 100, 200 or 300 years from now. 

One glaring, completely non-sensationalistic example of some early manifestations of climate change is the ongoings across the Arctic and specifically Barrow AK. Barrow, also going by the more indigenous name of Utqiagvic is considered, by some, to be one of the oldest inhabited towns in the United States, sitting at the northern most point of Alaska bordering the Beaufort sea and the vast but rapidly decreasing plate of arctic sea ice. Barrow is a place of -80 degree wind chills with an economy that is geared toward local oil exploration or feeding itself through whaling, fishing or hunting. The town, which remains majority indigenous is a place where memories are stored and past forward over multiple generations and where changes in the climate have real impacts on daily life. And it would be difficult to find a place anywhere in the world where those changes have been as dramatic. The autumn months in particular have been running warm and the weather was so incredibly anomalous during the last few months of 2017 that a statistical algorithm automatically flagged the data and tossed it out of the global aggregation. A more detailed narration of this occurrence can be found in the write-up by Angela Fritz of the Capital Weather Gang in December. 
 
 
In a span of just 20 years a typical October has warmed almost 8 degrees F, almost 7 degrees in November and almost 5 in December. The warming, especially at this latitude is a direct result of climate change and on multiple fronts. Almost every month has experienced at least 1-2 degrees of warming but the autumn months have been especially dramatic because of the dramatic loss of sea ice. 50 years ago, the arctic would usually freeze by October and is now remaining unfrozen through part of November. Barrow has literally become a maritime climate for two additional months. Though there are several visible signs of what has already occured, Barrow stands out to me as being one of the most glaring.

Back to Vermont and the incredible "don't call it a comeback" (yet it really was) month of March 2018.  The month rolled in with the snow mostly obliterated and MRG looking at “practice slope” only conditions and Stowe was forced to cancel their annual cross country derby for the third year in a row. Once again, a Hail Mary was needed to extend the season in any material way.

The pattern looked promising even as the February torch was annihilating what was left of our snow. The pattern change was triggered by the formation of an intense block in the jet stream over Greenland to go along with a negative Arctic Oscillation (AO). Interestingly, there was no available mechanism in the jet stream to transport significant amounts of cold in New England so that hope was that the pattern would deliver simply through sheer storminess and deliver it did. Big storms impacted the northeast on March 2nd, 7th-8th, 13th-14th and 21st-22nd. Not all of these big weather systems impacted northern Vermont; in fact, MRG was hardly the best spot, but during this crazy March, one didn't even need to be in the best spot. The first storm on March 2nd was the most impressive meteorologically speaking, causing wind damage and power outages along with producing heavy wet snow. Most of the snow missed northern Vermont, smacking the Catskills instead with 2-3 feet and delivering a foot to southern Vermont. Mad River did better from the subsequent storm on March 8th and though the storm was notable for the intense 5 inch an hour band that smacked suburban New Jersey, General Stark was back in business to the 1-3 feet that fell by Friday March 9. 

15-30 inches were back on the ground and March 13th had yet to arrive ! Our recent propensity for recording big storms around that date was further ironed into Mad River Glen tradition this year when for the 2nd straight year our best storm smacked the mountain. Though certainly not the strongest system to impact the northeast that month, the set up was absolutely perfect with the block across the Davis Strait prohibiting the storm from a clean getaway and allowing for continuous snowfall for roughly 60 hours. From virtually nothing to some of the deepest snow since 2015, March of 2018 was one of the more remarkable turnarounds. Vermont mostly missed the next big east coast system on March 21st and then received some mixed precipitation and rain during the last few days of the month.


As snowy as March of 2018 turned out to be, it was not especially cold. Temperatures averaged out to about normal during the month and bitterly cold arctic air never really became a big part of the equation. All of this changed ironically when April came around. The blocking in Greenland disappeared and eventually reemerged in a rather substantial way over Alaska and within a few days, extreme cold began making big hard charges southward. Temperatures averaged 7 degrees below normal for the month and when all the numbers are tallied, it will likely rank as one of the 10 coldest April's on record. One would have thought that with all that cold in April, the snow would also fall in abundance. Though enough snow did fall to bring the seasonal total up past 200 inches, the total for the month was actually a little disappointing and only in the vicinity of 10-15 inches or so. Much of the snow that fell in March however, continued to remain on the ground through most of April. As of early May, snow remains across the high country and the growing season is only finally readying itself to commence for the year. 

In the end 2018 managed to provide a little of everything. Though the snow season and Sugarbush ski season extended to nearly 6 months, February has to stick in one's craw. The traditional peak of the Vermont ski season was torched away by warmth while especially intense bouts of winter in varying forms ravaged Vermont both prior to and after February. The season was decidedly colder than the previous two, accompanied by either normal or below normal temperatures in November, December, January, March and April. There was plenty of snow across the northeast as well, but northern Vermont simply was not in the best place for it. The over 200 inches recorded by the end of April is within the vicinity of normal but a vast area beginning not far to our south recorded well above normal snowfall. Compared to normal, here is a breakdown of how certain regions did surrounding Vermont. 

Southern Vermont: 125-175 % of normal 
Coastal New England: 125-175 % of normal
Maine: 100-150 % of normal 
NYC/The Catskills/The Poconos/Jersey: 150-250 % of normal
Mid Atlantic Region: 75-125 % of normal 
CentralAppalachian (PA/WV) 125-175 % of normal
Southern Snow Belts: 150-250 % of normal
Northern Snow Belts: 75-115 % of normal

Northern Vermont in regards to snowfall was actually on the eastern edge of a broad area that extended through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan that under performed relative to their southern counterparts. In the case of Mad River Glen, it was simply being too far northwest for the most intense areas of precipitation. It seemed as if almost every storm got the mountain a little but only a select few got the mountain a lot even though we had so much winter to play with. It's all apart of the history books now and hopefully most that follow the blog got a chance to play in it a bunch. Enjoyed the effort once again as always and will be talking winter once again on the other side of the upcoming summer.

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.