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    Sunday will be subtle

    By Weatherman

    I'm happy to be able to put forward a remotely optimistic weekend outlook. Some light precipitation (of mixed phase depending on location) on Friday night will give way to a beautiful day. Saturday looks to be a warm and sunny days with temperatures in the 40s in the valleys, and 30s at the summits. But all eyes should be focused on Sunday, which looks like a classic warm air overrunning scenario. In these situations, Vermont typically starts as snow and switches over to straight rain. But northern New Hampshire into Maine can be a very different story where cold air damming hangs tough. Looking toward Sunday afternoon, snow may still be the dominant precipitation over the White Mountains and northeast into Maine. But the temperature profile is going to be borderline. The exact details will depend on to what extent a secondary surface low develops off the New England coast, which will help to reinforce the cold air damming. If this lows fails to develop, we could be left with freezing rain or a straight cold rain. Optimistically so far it looks like the White Mountains will see a 6 inch paste job on Sunday. For those of you savvy on Skew-T diagrams, note the deep layer of overrunning warm air all the way up to 650 mb. That nearly isothermal layer looks to stay just below freezing, and should lead to a pasty snow, but it won't take much of a shift to flip it. Updates will be necessary as the storm approaches.
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Widespread snow expected on Wednesday

It's no secret that March is the snowiest month of the year, and fortunately this year looks to preserve that generality.  A Nor'Easter will impact the region on Wednesday bringing snow stretching into Monday morning. Widespread moderate to heavy snow is expected from a band of 8-14" stretching across much of ski country. Locally deeper snowfall is possible, but moderate temperatures should limit the fluff factor keeping accumulations down. The latest GFS snowfall forecast will give you a general idea of the pattern. For much of the area, especially at lower elevations, expect a wet snow paste job. It'll make excellent base snow, but don't be looking for a blower powder day. As it stands the surface temperatures should be borderline in many areas, but plenty of cold air exists aloft. There will be little to no chance of mixed precipitation, so icing is not a concern. The skew-T below from the Monadnocks shows the plentiful supply of cold air aloft and deep later of moisture. What does the mean for skiing? Wednesday night should be fun where night skiing is available at places like Shawnee Peak, Gunstock, Pats Peak, Crotched, and Wachusett -- though temperatures at the latter bear watching for any rain mixing in. Thursday morning should bring knee-buster snow to much of central New England. Even higher elevation areas like Wildcat and Cannon will be looking at dense, though hopefully drier, snow and not champagne. Accumulations in northern Vermont will be lighter on Wednesday night as is typical with coastal storms. For Thursday I'd head to northern New Hampshire in search of dryer snow even if accumulations aren't as high. It'll be a hunt for quality over shear quantity. Given that Wildcat already has natural terrain open (with very thin and scratchy cover) courtesy of last Friday's nsow, they look like the best bet. As the low passes southern New England, it is expected to wrap up and move onshore into Maine. By this point snow should be wrapping up in southern New England, but the next phase of the storm will start, and this one isn't being discussed much yet. Expect the talking heads to catch up with it soon. The potential of heavy upslope snows exists for the Friday timeframe at which time the low will be inland. Wrap-around flow will be pumping Atlantic moisture into the spine of the Green Mountains. I'm not touching any potential accumulations so far out with an upslope event, but the typically favored upslope areas look to be in great shape. I'd start thinking about making plans before things get booked up. The plan for this weekend depends on what type of skiing you're looking for. For skiing groomers with maybe a little off-piste, southern Vermont looks to be in the best position given the snow they received on Friday coupled with Wednesday's upcoming storm. Groomed trails should be in great shape. If you're a powder hound looking for the trees, head to northern Vermont. Given the upslope nature and current base depths, Bolton, Stowe, Smuggs, and Jay are looking promising for the weekend. A bonus wild card in Bretton Woods who will do okay on Wednesday and can make out well from upslope flow. They have practically zero base depths already, but New England's only lift-serviced golf course doesn't need much snow to open its ungroomed terrain. Looking to next week, there is another chance of a storm in the early week (Tuesday?) timeframe. Then things should moderate back towards spring conditions in time for St Patrick's Day weekend. With natural snow on the ground, it could be a beautiful weekend.  

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Coastal storm expected with severe impacts in southern New England

For the past few days I've been carefully watching the development for Friday's coastal storm. The greater than usual uncertainty has been the result of two key factors: 1) the thermal profile is going to right on the cusp between snow and rain, and 2) the system is going to be highly energetic. Robust storms like this one are difficult to forecast since the perturbations enter a non-linear regime meaning small changes in computer model inputs can result in dramatic differences in the forecast. Model solutions have ranged from a non-event to a crippling blizzard of historic proportions. As the storm draws closer, we're starting to get a better handle on the uncertainty. Nothing in out of the question yet, but here is the general idea... A cut-off low will approach southern New England and then drift off to the south. The primary impacts of the storm will largely miss ski country. Heavy snow is likely to confined to upstate New York. Expect strong on-shore flow keeping the thermal profile above bringing heavy rain to southern New England. Snow will be limited to higher elevations, except at the tail end where the snow level may drop enough to bring pasty snow toward lower elevations. Areas like the Monadnocks, southern Greens through the Berkshires, and Worcester hills stand to get higher than forecast snowfall totals if the thermal profile changes much. The Catskills look to be in the best position for reliable snowfall out of this storm. Across southern New England, several inches of rain likely somewhere in a band where the low-level jet is the strongest. But this really isn't a story focused on rain or snow, at least not on its own. Instead this is going to be a story about severe coastal flooding and widespread power outages. There is still a lot of time for things to change, but multi-day power outages are a strong possibility. To highlight the strength of this storm, check out the pronounced tropopause fold that is forecast. You're probably thinking either a) what the hell is that? or b) cool! but get to the point. The tropopause fold itself is not on consequence to this story, but is a symptom of how robust the storm will be. A strong low-level jet is going to bring onshore plenty of moisture and exceptionally strong winds just above the surface. It's unlikely, but possible, that this moisture could reach the ground as snow if the thermal profile cools, which would increase the potential for power outages as the pasty snow further burdens trees that will be exposed to damaging winds. But check out that low-level jet... Wind speeds at 850 mb (around 5,000 feet) are going to be on the order of 100 kts (115 mph) around Cape Cod. Yikes! It's an open question of how much of that mixes down to the surface, but expect widespread wind damage. Also another cool geek note: check out the gravity waves being shed from the exit region of the low-level jet off the coast of Virginia. There's definitely some numerical issues caused by the weather model, but they're just another sign of the energy in the system. Cool.

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Sunday will be subtle

I'm happy to be able to put forward a remotely optimistic weekend outlook. Some light precipitation (of mixed phase depending on location) on Friday night will give way to a beautiful day. Saturday looks to be a warm and sunny days with temperatures in the 40s in the valleys, and 30s at the summits. But all eyes should be focused on Sunday, which looks like a classic warm air overrunning scenario. In these situations, Vermont typically starts as snow and switches over to straight rain. But northern New Hampshire into Maine can be a very different story where cold air damming hangs tough. Looking toward Sunday afternoon, snow may still be the dominant precipitation over the White Mountains and northeast into Maine. But the temperature profile is going to be borderline. The exact details will depend on to what extent a secondary surface low develops off the New England coast, which will help to reinforce the cold air damming. If this lows fails to develop, we could be left with freezing rain or a straight cold rain. Optimistically so far it looks like the White Mountains will see a 6 inch paste job on Sunday. For those of you savvy on Skew-T diagrams, note the deep layer of overrunning warm air all the way up to 650 mb. That nearly isothermal layer looks to stay just below freezing, and should lead to a pasty snow, but it won't take much of a shift to flip it. Updates will be necessary as the storm approaches.

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

The heat is on for vacation week

I was on vacation for a while in late January in early February, so I am sorry for missing those couple of storms. Unfortunately the weather has taken a turn for the less favorable. Looking toward this weekend, I expect only light accumulations in the higher terrain. The school vacation week look warm. Very warm. And there will be some showers mid-week. Not exactly the most compelling ski conditions, but the kids won't be freezing.

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

February 7, 2018 storm

I know that January was less than favorable for snow storms, which is why you didn't see a lot from me. Plus I was on vacation for the last ten days in the Dolomites and Venice, but I'm back now! I'm still trying to work through my backlog, but fortunately tomorrow's upcoming storm is a simple story. In short, there is a progressive wave coming through tomorrow (Wednesday) that will drop a quick 8-12" of snow across northern New England. As the center of the low will pass over southern New England, accumulations will taper off across the seacoast of NH and most of MA. The snow should start in the morning and taper off in the evening and be done by midnight across New England. Like most coastal lows, expect New Hampshire and Maine to do better than Vermont, though nobody should be disappointed. I've left out any specific model forecast maps, because I don't want to get too focused on where the exact rain / snow transition line sets up in any one forecast. Also given the nature of this system (a progressive wave), I don't expect orographic enhancement to be as big a factor as we would see with a closed coastal low (your traditional Nor'Easter). The thermal profile still appears uncertain over southern New England, so I'm not showing a track for the low. Look for it to pass somewhere between southeastern NH and southeast MA. The result is relatively uncertain accumulations, with 2-8" expected in the transition region around the Merrimack Valley. After the storm, cooler but still seasonable temperature return. It will be a chilly but tolerable late week for skiing, and then will moderate toward the weekend. A weaker wave of disturbed warmer weather approaches for this weekend. Enjoy the soft snow on Friday and Saturday, because the passing of Sunday's weather could lead to a wetter snowpack firming up on the back side. Next week's weather looks at best seasonable, with a lack of any sustained cold air.

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

January 4, 2018 storm

Model trends today have been to the west, which is no real surprise. In this highly amplified flow the models tend to damp down such extremes in the long range. The way we initialize models (data assimilation) there are terms in the equations to penalize extreme solutions and force everything back to average. The result is often suppressing storms in highly amplified regimes like this one. The track looks to be just offshore with strong snow banding just to the west of the track. This bring heading snow bands to eastern coastal regions of New England from eastern Massachusetts into most of Maine. The White Mountains of New Hampshire into Maine will see a localized maximum as is common in coastal storms. For those of you in Vermont -- tough luck but that's no surprise. Your bread and butter are the lighter snow of upslope wrap-around. I don't mean that there won't be any snow -- there will be some upslope -- but when in these cold regimes it is the light and fluffy stuff that just serves as a top dressing. For skiers, it won't give you any float, it won't serve to reinforce the base, and it won't stand up to skier traffic. It will end up blown into the woods. If you look careful at the precipitation map above, you'll note the cellular pattern in the precipitation. This is the result of embedded convection within the snow band. In these intense snow storms, there can be pockets of elevated air that become unstable and rise upward like in a thunderstorm. This is in contrast to overrunning (stratiform) precipitation where moist air rides mostly horizontally from the south up cover cold air. The overrunning results in precipitation. Those same dynamics are at play here, but mesoscale (mid-scale) dynamics are at play that causes that overrunning area to have more energy than the air below it, resulting in overturning. A sounding from the model forecast above taken in southeast Massachusetts (where the red dot is) shows this. For the untrained eye, there are three things to see. Note the profile of "equivalent potential temperature" in the lower right. This is the temperature that the air would have if it was brought down to the ground and all the water vapor condensed. This should continue upward if the profile is stable. If it decreased with height, the air will want to convectively overturn and result in precipitation. Note the elevated unstable later around 800 mb pressure level, and a near surface instability area as well. This same unstable layer shows up in the Skew-T sounding in the middle of the page. The diagonal solid dash lines refer to lines of constant potential temperature, which are just subtly different from equivalent potential temperature -- just discounting the events of moisture. The green line is the dew point temperature, and red line is the air temperature. Where the red and green liens meet, the air is saturated. In the saturated layers, note the negative omega values in the bar plot in the lower left -- in dynamics omega is vertical velocity of an air parcel with respect to pressure. Negative omega means decreasing air air pressure and upward motion. Where the air is saturated is becomes buoyant and accelerates upward. Once the instability relaxes the upward motion slows. You can see this upward motions in the negative omega values in the two layers. The presence of these two unstable layers are likely due to two different mechanisms at play. The elevated, and stronger, unstable layer is the broad scale up-lifting. As snow falls from the upper layer into the lower, it will seed additional precipitation from the lower saturated level. This is a common situation with terrain-based enhancement and is know as seeder-feeder snowfall. S0o where does that leave us? The responsible NWS is showing a broad moderate snowfall, and that's the appropriate forecast at this time. Note that these maps don't accurately show expected terrain enhancements. The White Mountains will once again make out well from this storm. The global GFS guidance picks up on it, and the high resolution 3 km NAM really latches onto it. As previously discussed, convective dynamics are at play in this storm, and the global models do not have sufficient resolution to catch this. So give more credence to the NAM forecast in the lower plot. It's also worth noting that skiers may miss the real news worthy story. You'll hear talking heads on TV tossing around the B-word. That's a result of the strong winds being driven by the intense cold already in place that we're feeling when we go outside. The NAM is showing a taste of that. The heavier, wet snowfall in southeast Massachusetts couple with those strong winds could result in power outages. Those would be a big deal in this regime. We'll be returning to extreme cold on the backside of this storm. Those who lose power could be facing freezing pipes within hours of power loss. Temperatures will be diving sub-zero again across New England on Friday into Saturday. If you lose power, watch your pipes! So where to ski this weekend? Nowhere? Everywhere? Good luck. It's going to be damn cold. But the White Mountains will have the deepest snow pack in place, with depths in the high terrain approaching three feet. Secondary maximums are evident in the higher terrain of Vermont, but are not quite as deep, especially counting the water content of the snowpack which is helping to pad the New Hampshire numbers.

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Christmas weekend

It's all about the base. Starting tomorrow we'll be seeing a storm system composed of two phases. The first phase will be a quick hit of light to moderate snowfall falling throughout the day. Late Friday night into Saturday morning we'll see a lull in the precipitation, followed by the onset of freezing rain on Saturday afternoon and evening. It's remarkable how consistent the models have been with this freezing rain for days now. Typically models don't handle freezing rain well as they generally lack the resolution, especially vertical resolution, to capture the dynamics of entrenched cold air damming. This gives us confidence that significant freezing rain is expected, but I don't expect significant impacts. Because the freezing rain will be preceded by a snow event, the snow will act as a spongue and prevent significant glazing. When the storm is over, expect moderate accumulations of snow with a breakable crust across northern New England. Expect subzero cold to move in for the middle of next week. It'll make skiing unpleasant for long periods, but is not unexpected at this time of year. The larger topic of interest is a potential storm looking toward next weekend. It's too early for details, but I can't help but get excited.

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Initial Christmas forecast

Please don't panic. Life will go on. But this Saturday it is going to rain. Vermont will get the worst of it. As is usually the case with these inside runner storms, the frozen precipitation will hold on the longest over the White Mountains of New Hampshire and into Maine. They made actually see a net positive gain in snow depths (base builder event) especially at places like Wildcat, Sunday River, and Sugarloaf that sit on the north side of the White Mountains. The high terrain can act as a protective barrier keeping the cold air locked in place for longer. It won't stay snow there, but it will contribute positively to the water load in the existing snow pack rather than melting it. The good news is that this may not ruin the whole Christmas week. For those of you with travel plans on Christmas day, please keep an eye on the forecast. Right it looks like a storm is brewing which will refreshen our snowpack bringing widespread snowfall to the higher terrain. So after a rain and then a snow storm, what is the net-net gain? The White Mountains look to come out nicely. It should be a great Christmas week for skiing in New Hampshire.

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Weather takes a turn for the wintry side

The stars have aligned over the last 24 hours as the weather model guidance has decided that it's time for winter to get started. This a much more sensical solution as all the pieces were in place. The first development is that model guidance has shifted on-shore with Saturday night's snowfall. The result is a plowable snowfall across southeast New England, with light snow over the White Mountains of New Hampshire and western Maine. Accumulations in Vermont won't be meaningful until later in the week. Another storm is expected on Tuesday which will track across New England and bring a mixed bag of precipitation. Right now it looks like a solid base-building snow event for the White Mountains on New Hampshire. Details are still sketchy this far out, but the model runs have been more consistent than usual for this range of a forecast bring snow to the mountains and rain to the coastal plain. The latest GFS model forecast below illustrates that the rain-snow line will be a question in play, but just inland of the line it's looking like several inches of mixed precipitation or wet snow. After these two systems pass, the cold sticks around for the foreseeable future. Stay tuned as much snow events are likely. 10:45 PM Update: With the latest round of guidance coming in, we're finally at the point where the high-resolution models are in range. And terrain enhancement in the White Mountains is looking good. I'm upgrading this to a Powder Day Watch. Carrying wider skis with you this weekend is recommended. Something in the 95 - 100 mm width range is recommended for Sunday. About 6" of fresh is expected for first chair at Wildcat on Sunday.

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Second weekend of December outlook

Temperature Outlook Cold air is moving into the Northeast today, and it will be here to stay for the foreseeable future. The long range forecast is for below-average forecast at least the next two weeks. Snowmakers will be working overtime. Below are the surface temperature anomalies for the next two weeks. This Weekend This weekend looks tranquil with a low chance of very light snow -- not enough to do anything but look pretty. A wave low pressure should stay just offshore. There is still model disagreement with whether light snow will reach coastal areas, but it should stay far enough out to miss ski country. Below is one of the more snowy model solutions. For those of you attending our season kick-off and demo day at Bretton Woods on Saturday, expect highs in the 20s and calm wind. The snow should be hardpack after this week's rain. Hopefully a couple of grooming cycles will allow them to recover. No Snow? While the ingredients are in place, right now there's no sign of significant snow over the next several days. Anything beyond early next weeks remains uncertain, but nothing stands out at this time. The 10-day forecast shows only light accumulations, with the possible exception of the higher terrain of northern Vermont. There they could see a total of several inches of light, fluffy snow, but nothing of the quality needed to build a base.  

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Early December outlook

This weekend December arrives on Friday! So where should you ski this weekend? That's an easy answer: Jay Peak. They've reported 22" of snow this week. Have you seen the reports? I'm jealous.  They already have several trails and a few glades open with natural snow. The snow isn't done yet. Another several inches (maybe 6?")  is expected before the weekend. If you're not skiing this weekend, this is your opportunity to complete preparations for winter. This may be your last chance. Finish leaf cleanup, and make sure the snow blower is functioning. But seriously, you should be going to Jay Peak. Start packing. Next week Temperatures will be seasonable this weekend, but warming up into early next week. Around Tuesday - Wednesday, expect a dramatic regime change. The transition itself should bring precipitation, though the details of how that happens remains unclear. From late next week onward we'll see dramatically more wintry weather. Expect ample cold air and opportunities for snow.

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

A brief explanation of today's northern Vermont snow

Ski areas across northern Vermont reported several inches of snow today. This is a classic case of upslope flow, and it usually leaves really powdery snow. The kind of fluffy snow that disintegrates as soon as you sneeze at it. Pure blower. Great for a top-dressing, but no good at building a base. @Flying Yeti writes... Most of the time the moisture from these events is wrap-around from a departing low, like yesterday's rain storm. The mesoscale models generally handle these post-storm snowfall events well. The trick is high-resolution models can resolve the terrain whereas the global model (GFS, ECMWF, etc) simply lack necessary resolution. Check out the 3km NAM forecast initialized at 12Z yesterday. The orientation of the lake-effect snow streaks illustrates how the flow is coming out of the northwest. The moisture from the lakes is not tracking toward Vermont. Notice how well the model picks up on the terrain enhancement of the snowfall. And check out the model sounding in the midst of the snowfall. Notice all the low-level moisture that is going to be forced over the mountains. If you're not savvy on reading the Skew-T diagram above, don't fret. There's a lot going on in it. I could teach a semester weather course and not manage to explain everything on that plot. For those looking for extra credit, UCAR offers a several hour crash course that assumes you already have a meteorology background.

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Pre-Thanksgiving weekend outlook

The thermal profiles are timing are looking very close, but I've become more optimistic that there will be some good skiing to be had for this weekend. Let's break it down in brief. Thursday The White Mountains look to survive Thursday's storm with a net-gain of snow, especially at elevation. Just enough cold air is going to hang on aloft to counteract the  rain/snow changeover. The mixing line looks to go up to about 3,000 feet at times. Vermont will not be so lucky as they receive a little snow by mostly rain on Thursday. At least the mid-week timing will give snowmaking and grooming systems a chance to catch back up. The snow in the White Mountains will be the pasty variety that will hopefully freeze into place. Look for total accumulations of around 1-3" at low elevations, and on the order of 6" over the higher terrain at places like Wildcat. Saturday - Sunday Looking forward to the weekend, everybody is likely to see snow transition to all rain. The good news? The rain will fall largely overnight Saturday into Sunday. Right now it looks like the skiing hours will not be severely impacted by the rain. Saturday especially could have nice conditions in areas that receive a net benefit of snow this week. Below is the meteogram for this weekend in Pinkham Notch. Where should I go this weekend? It's definitely a White Mountains weekend. Wildcat looks to be in the best position, though they'll offer the least terrain options. Depending on exactly how things break, Bretton Woods, Loon, and Sunday River could all do well.  What comes next week? At least early in the week their will be a good snowmaking window following this weekend's storm. Around Thanksgiving Day the weather turns more questionable. There's a broad range of possible outcomes ranging from a Nor'Easter to blow torch warm. I'm not going to get pinned down on any specific forecast quite yet.

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

More cold on tap for next week

I'm looking at the forecast for the next several days, and I'm not impressed.  Thursday we'll see widespread rain across New England. The ECMWF model is holding onto a wet snow paste job across the White Mountains, but the GFS is going rain. Either way, the thermal profile is going to be close. I'm leaning toward a washout. On Saturday - Sunday, we'll see another wet weather system move through. That one looks to start as snow and quickly change to rain. I'd rather not dwell on this. My goal is to make this a ski weather blog... not a rain blog. Do I have any good news? On the back side of the storm we look to transition into long-lived cold weather in the East. Next week will bring sustained snowmaking weather for Thanksgiving. Let's put up some pictures with lots of blue! Below are the temperature anomalies for next week (top) and Thanksgiving Day (bottom). The net result will be plenty of productive snowmaking weather. This season looks to be off to a health start. Terrain expansion is come quickly.

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Cold moves in tonight

Welcome to ski season 2017-18. This weekend we look forward to skiing at: Killington Sunday River Wildcat Mount Snow Okemo Sugarloaf Bretton Woods? -  Thursday
Guns are off right at lower elevations during the day as the flow has turned out of the south bring in warmer and more humid air. We're getting squeezed between two circulation centers which is moderating the weather for now. Friday
In the early morning the flow flips around, and cold air pours into the region. Sub-freezing temperatures should extend all the way to the coast. Expect anyone and everyone who wants to make snow to do so. Near record cold temperatures mean an excellent stretch of production. Temperatures should be ideal for around the clock snowmaking. Saturday
Snowmaking continues all day Saturday. By now you should be skiing at any of several open ski areas. Sunday and beyond
Temperatures moderate to just above freezing during the day on Sunday. Below-freezing temperatures hold on a bit longer at elevation.
Next week we enter into several days of seasonable temperatures with highs above freezing dipping into the 20s at night. It'll be an operations decision whether to make snow in marginal temperatures at night. The long term pictures looks favorable for continued cold in the East with opportunities for coastal storms. Signs look good!  

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Opening week weather update

Monday afternoon update It's finally here. The first turns of the 2017-18 ski season will be made this week! Snow guns will be firing up tonight across New England. Looking at who is already in play, expect Killington to be making their first passholder-only turns by the end of the work week, with other early season players coming on board by the end of the weekend. Sunday River has already announced a weekend opening, and Bretton Woods may join in. Exciting! Let's break it down day by day. Tuesday
Snow guns will be running in the early morning hours at elevation. Lower areas will hold off. Most areas will have to temporarily shut down during the day as temperatures climb into the 30s. Northern New England should be able to keep the guns on at elevation at places like Sugarloaf, Wildcat, and Stowe. Just about at dusk expect the snow guns to go online. Temperatures and humidity will be a prime for a early November window. At night snowmaking should be able to go all the way to the base. Wednesday
A lot like Tuesday. Guns go off during the day and come back on in the evening hours. For now temperatures look good to go for more top-to-bottom snowmaking that night, though will be warmer than Tuesday night and a shift of a couple degrees makes a huge difference. While not ideal at low elevations, it is a workable window. Thursday
Guns go off at daybreak. It looks like conditions may not be favorable to a return to snowmaking until after midnight A short wave trough will be swinging through the area. If the current model solutions play out, look for two weak low pressure systems to pass to either side of us: one across central Quebec and another out to sea. With New England between two lows, expect us to be in a trough where winds turn out of the south and humidity rises. The result for us will be marginal at best snowmaking at best. Friday
After the trough passes through New England, expect temperatures to drop to stay below freezing all day. Sub-freezing temperatures should extend all the way to the coast. Expect anyone and everyone who wants to make snow to do so. Near record cold temperatures mean an excellent stretch of production. Saturday
Snowmaking continues all day Saturday. By now you should be skiing. Next week
Winds turn out of the south on Sunday, and temperatures rise above freezing by mid-day. The next system moves through late Sunday into Monday. It's too early for details, and rain vs snow remains to be seen. We'll keep an eye on it and let you know more as the time approaches.

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Opening Day comes this week

Monday evening update is posted, previous discussion continues below. It's finally here. The first turns of the 2017-18 ski season will be made this week! But before we get there we need to weather some rain tomorrow (Monday) and be patient as the snow guns come online. Looking at who is already in play, expect Killington to be making their first passholder-only turns by the end of the work week, with other early season players coming on board by the end of the weekend. Exciting! Let's break it down day by day. Monday
It's going to be warm and rainy. The end. Tuesday
The first sub-freezing air hits in the early morning. Maybe a few aggressive ski areas start blowing in the early morning hours, but they'll likely have to temporarily shut down during the day as temperatures climb into the 30s.
Just about at dusk expect the snow guns to go online. We're not talking about ideal snowmaking weather, but it'll get the job done in early November. In northern New England they should be able to make snow top-to-bottom, but that will be an operations decision. Wednesday
A lot like Tuesday. Guns go off during the day and come back on in the evening hours. For now temperatures look good to go for more top-to-bottom snowmaking that night, though again a shift of a couple degrees makes a huge difference. Once again temperatures will not be ideal, but it'll work if they want it to. Thursday
Guns go off at daybreak. It looks like conditions may not be favorable to a return to snowmaking that night. A short wave trough will be swinging through the area. If the current model solutions play out, look for two weak low pressure systems to pass to either side of us: one across central Quebec and another out to sea. With New England between two lows, expect us to be in a trough where winds turn out of the south and humidity rises. The result for us will be marginal at best snowmaking that night. Friday
After the trough passes through New England on Friday, expect temperatures to drop that evening. Sub-freezing temperatures should extend all the way to the coast. Expect anyone and everyone who wants to make snow to do so. The weekend
We're still a week out, but it looks favorable for continued snowmaking. Temperatures will likely stay cold enough to allow snowmaking throughout the daylight hours at elevation. Next week
Monday may be a fun day! The next storm system will move through the area. Right now it looks like snow for northern New England. We'll keep an eye on it and let you know more as the time approaches. The extended period looks favorable as well. It looks like we'll be in a new regime of cooler weather in the East.

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

First widespread snowmaking window in sight

I'm settled in a home with two bowls full of candy awaiting the Trick or Treaters. Yes, we're running a bit behind this year due to Sunday's storm and the subsequent power outage. On top of that today is my wife's birthday, and my mother's. Yes, both of them. But today's multi-occasion theme has me in the mood to transition to welcome November news. Snowmaking will be coming online in the foreseeable future. Killington has proven a willingness to blow snow in the most marginal conditions, even if that means that it all melts. They'll get a brief window at elevation tonight. But the window will be very limited and marginal. I doubt that stops them. The situation looks a little better at Sunday River, and they may see another even more marginal window tomorrow night. It's an operations call as to whether the light up the guns. We're in for a warm-up early next week so they'd likely lose much of what they can put down. Early next week we're looking at yet another warm up with rain moving through the region. Yuck. But on the back side the situational looks much more favorable. I'm personally planning on making my first turns of the season next week, and I suggest you too clear your calendars. Starting on Tuesday night we're looking at nightly snowmaking windows! And the temperature profiles and durations look favorable enough that most mountains will likely get in the act. Below is the mid-week forecast at Sunday River at elevation. This initial mid-week window will be nights-only which may mean that some ski areas will sit this one out. But the cool streak looks to continue through next weekend. This could provide a long enough window for most of the traditional early-season players to open if they so wish. We're still a week out so this is subject to change, but it is showing up in the ensembles of all the global models. This is about as robust a signal as you'll see a week plus out. My skis are ready! Are yours?

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Welcome to November

I'm glad that the last storm is behind us. I wish I had a catchy name for it, but it sucked. I lost power at 8pm on Sunday and got in back at 8pm on Tuesday. Just to rub it in, my house was a smoke den last night because I lit the fireplace for heat (before the power came back on) but it wasn't quite cold enough to draft properly. Enough of my problems... we need some good news. Killington is making snow! But you probably already known that. They desperately need to put down some snow before the world cup, and they make a lot of money off early season stairway hiking with Joey from Jersey. Killington is nowhere near opening despite over 24 hours of "production" because conditions were marginal at best. They're blowing almost entirely air at the wet bulbs we have. And the other early-season player, Sunday River, is still cleaning up from a crippling wind and rain storm. The next snowmaking window comes Friday night into Saturday morning, but once again conditions are going to be marginal at best. Saturday night into Sunday may bring another marginal window, especially toward, Sunday River, but I would not count on it. Most ski areas will choose to sit out this weekend and save their money. Monday brings warmer weather, but that is where the predictability ends. Snowmaking temperatures may return for Monday night into Tuesday, or they may not. Midweek next week into the weekend could be boringly quiet with just some showers, or things could get interesting. What should I say in such circumstances? Recent weather has been anything but boring. Thousands across New England are still without power to prove it. But I'm tired of not seeing any snow in the forecast. If you promise not to judge me later, I'll get things started here. For your personal pleasure in the comfort of your own home.... this morning's GFS put out a bonafide November nor'easter with snow all the way down to Boston. Yummy! Next week's forecast is highly uncertain. We're approaching one of those windows with high unpredictability. Model solutions show no agreement. Buckle up! In the interim, I'm going to continue to pretend that snow is coming.

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Subtropical hybrid coming our way

As promised, a potent October storm is heading our way. I know I promised this would be a ski weather blog, but I might as well post something to give me something to do this morning. Bottom line is watch out for strong winds and heavy rain. Coastal flooding is not a concern as the tides are low. I'm not expecting widespread flooding, but it sure is going to be wet! Expect widespread 2-4" rainfall totals. See the NAM rainfall forecast below. The real threat with this storm is going to be strong winds, especially along the coast. Much of the energy is coming from Tropical Depression Eighteen which is tracking up the coast and will probably strengthen to a tropical storm. As the tropical moisture interacts with the mid-latitude energy, winds will continue increase. It looks like the subtropical core, and the strongest of the winds, will remain just offshore. Even with the core offshore, expect wind gusts over 50 mph leading to power outages, especially in coastal areas. The plot below shows the forecast sustained wind speeds. Looking past the storm, we'll see at least a few nightly snowmaking windows in the first several days of November. The guidance is mostly consistent with this, although it's not clear if there is going to be enough opportunity to get on the snow. It seems very unlikely that we'll be skiing by next Saturday, but the snow guns will likely be running at night. Maybe we'll see an opening shortly thereafter?

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

Another week of wet ahead, then November comes

As promised, the last two days featured wet weather brought up by a strong southerly flow pumping up the subtropical moisture. I wish I could say that we're done with it, but the week ahead looks to bring very similar weather. The frontal boundary parked on top of the New England coastline isn't going to clear the region until Friday. Behind it dry weather should settle in for Saturday and the start of Sunday. However, by Sunday evening we'll see a return to the strong subtropical flow from the south bringing potentially damaging winds and strong downpours stretching through Monday. Give that it is five days out, it's no surprise that the exact details are fuzzy, but the pattern is clear as shown both in the GFS and ECMWF. Note the strong wind out of the south pumping subtropical moisture into New England. Don't get hung up on the timing or exact placement of the rain in the plot below, but note the potential for an additional several inches of heavy rain concentrated where convection trains into narrow bands. The heavy rain won't be the only story. The potential exists for damaging winds, especially along the coast. You'll find some alarmists noting near hurricane force sustained winds in some of today's model runs. It's too early to talk about that sort of magnitude. It's more likely you'll see something similar to the brisk southerly winds of the last two days. The strength of the upcoming system will depend on how well the tropical energy develops as it moves off the Florida coast. The intensity of these subtropical systems are typically poorly handled by operational models as their energy is derived from convection (thunderstorms) that are too small scale to resolve in the global models. The weather turns more seasonable heading into early November. The next window for snowmaking opens in the early morning Wednesday, November 1 and could last nightly through that weekend. As previously mentioned, humidity may continue to be an issue and snowmaking conditions look marginal. The operational GFS is currently showing a workable window, but this is uncertain. I suspect the cold here is greatly exaggerated. This window isn't evident in the ensemble mean, but I expect the ensemble to run a bit warm for a few different reasons. We're too far out to talk about it with any confidence, but I can't rule out the chance of a couple aggressive ski areas hosting some rock skiing that weekend if the forecast trends in their favor. It seems more likely that the snowmaking window begins in earnest sometime that weekend of November 4, and we see some early season openings early in the week of November 6-12. UPDATE: Just to show how touchy that Wednesday morning snowmaking windows is, here is the latest GFS ensemble temperature plot.

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

As you were

Fall sucks. All sorts of waiting around and getting your hopes up. I know we were talking about skiing next weekend, but I'm much more pessimistic now. As I mentioned before, the outcome is all going to depend on the transition, and right now that looks wet. All the way through Halloween the cold air stays out over the Midwest, and the firehose of humidity gets pumped right at us. In the plot above note the surface winds out of the southeast pumping in moist (high dewpoint). The frontal boundary remains sharply to our West. The shift in the model forecast over the last few days is both a testament to how far out we can predict, but also the error scales inherent in those forecasts. The cold, dry air is still forecast to pour south, but its position has nudged just far enough to the west to left us out.

Weatherman

Weatherman

 

October regime change

There's no doubt that October 2017 has been warm so far. The foliage season is an unequivocal bust. So let's look forward to ski season! The next week is going to be a beautiful stretch of warm and dry fall weather. It'll be a great time to get some yard work done and tie up all those loose ends before ski season arrives. I'll personally be staining my porch railing this weekend. But the warm weather is going to come to an abrupt and wet end in the middle of next week. Behind this transition, colder air will move in for the last weekend of October. How that transition occurs is an open question, but there's plenty of energy to work with. Below is the latest GFS model run, but don't read too much into it. The transition circa Wednesday, October 25 is likely to be a dynamic one. There looks to be plenty of subtropical moisture coming into contact with the cold air burst. Recent model guidance suggests we'll be looking at a robust storm crossing being fed by a strong low-level jet. The snapshot below shows an example of this, with the color scaling showing the 850 mb wind speed. (Note: 850 mb represents approximately the elevation of the high peaks in New Hampshire) After this dynamic system clears the area, I expect productive snowmaking temperatures over the weekend. The plot below shows the ensemble average lows on Saturday night. I expect to see colder temperatures than this at elevation. I don't expect to see any ski areas open on Saturday, but it still looks likely we're talking about skiing somewhere in New England by Halloween. Sunday, October 29 is still in play too. How the Wednesday transition plays out is likely the key.

Weatherman

Weatherman

Northeast Mountain Sports

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