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Winter Weather Predictions for the Mid-Atlantic
By Ed Fowler, Guest Author
October 25, 2007

I am not a meteorologist. That being said, I keep a journal that spans 12 years of conditions at the local resorts. I spend about 8 hours in early October, analyzing seven or more combined forecasts. The data originates from almanacs, weather companies, government agencies and energy companies.

Analysis of the combined sources can be summed up in four words: Better than last year! Keep in mind the fact that the resorts make snow, so the main factors are temperature and humidity in coverage conditions.

The summary of the details:

  1. The temps will average 4 degrees lower than last year.

  2. The temps will average 2 degrees above the 30 year average.

  3. Snowfall will be below normal but close to normal (30 inches is normal)

  4. This is not to say that a large amount of snow can fall, 22.5 inches on Jan. 7-8, 1996, and 14.9 inches on Jan. 25, 2000, both during a la Nina winter.

  5. The area is in a slight drought. This limits potential snow and rain. This will not affect snowmaking operations.

Better than last year, what was last years’ weather conditions? Most people can remember a large snowstorm, but few remember the daily conditions.

The Summary of last year:

It started with a bang. Local resorts opened in early December, 2006. Then a month-long cycle of rain and milder temperatures settled in. It was the first time I missed Christmas day skiing due to rain since 1996. The resorts made use of any cold air by making snow. Most had 25 percent coverage of trails.

This cycle continued until January 17, 2007. Then winter came back. On February 5, 10 degrees and 100 percent trail coverage. The resorts stayed open until almost the end of March. Go back and check the blog, a running journal with text and pictures.

Short range weather for the resorts, for 6 to 14 days, can be found on the www.skidome.org web site during the season. Twice weekly coverage and conditions are rated using a proprietary system perfected over 10 years.

Reference:

Normal temps 30 year average NOAA

Nov 55H 36L Dec 45H 28L Jan 40H 23L

Sources:

*EIA - Short-Term Energy Outlook.

*WSI Corporation - Weather Driven Business Solutions.

*2008 Appalachians Long-Range Weather Forecast and Prediction - The Old Farmer’s Almanac.

*Farmers almanac 2007-2008_outlook.

*AccuWeather Winter 07-08.

*NOAA Reports.

*Easternuswx - Forum for weather, Winter 07-08.

*Weather.com.

*My personal blog journal 10 years.

Related Links

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Andy (fishnski)
6 years ago
In my Amature little weather world I’m thinking that even though the eastern lowland areas could have a better year the western front Highlands(Alpps) could have a worse year. Looking at the last 10 years snow data for Canaan Vly & comparing it to the Sea surface temps I can see that this years SST doesn’t match up to a good snow year..infact its the complete opposite. That bummed me out & then I noticed that there have been a few record highs broken lately…the records that were set back in 01..the year of the worst snow year in recent memory for canaan!Another factor is the odds…Odds are that after 5 years of above ave snowfall we are due for a Downer!
I like to think positive so I’m thinking we are due for some NEasters..we have been short in that dept & when has DC had an above ave snow year..let alone an ave year?..I’m thinking that even though the Alpps look to see less conditions favorable for Lake Effect/Lake Enhanced, when they do set up they will be more intense due to the warmer lake temps. The NAO could help out & all kinds of tricks only known to Mama Nature…so i Predict 138“‘s for Canaan this year…Could be worse…Hope not!
langleyskier
6 years ago
Just wondering why you would want to factor in an outlook by either of the farmer’s almanacs. They are well known to be complete BS. Not trying to discredit your forecast… it seems likely that temps will be above normal (although i think we have a chance for below normal if La Nina starts to deteriorate) but i just dont see why you would want to include the almanacs when there is plenty of other credible sources that base their forecasts off of real information.
Ed Fowler
6 years ago
Hi, Thanks for the comments. At least somebody reads this:o)

Number one: This takes in Liberty, Whitetail, Roundtop. Once you get out 2 ridge/mtn lines it is a whole different ball game. I have driven in whiteouts in Canaan/Timberline / wisp, even 7springs. I have caught lake effect at Blue Knob. Still remember ..Cut work, 40 people 3 feet snow all trails open.

Number 2: you are right why would I use almanacs?
this year they were opposite. I just look at all these links, it did not mean I use them all.
La Nina you just never know. Last week I had 6 inches of rain. wow if that was snow.

Last month the wsi / energy cos forecast was spot on. and looks to be this month with below normal cold.

I race so I really only like snow if it helps to build a base to open new trails. I like hard pack/ice.
Ed Fowler
6 years ago
Hi, Thanks for the comments. At least somebody reads this:o)

Number one: This takes in Liberty, Whitetail, Roundtop. Once you get out 2 ridge/mtn lines it is a whole different ball game. I have driven in whiteouts in Canaan/Timberline / wisp, even 7springs. I have caught lake effect at Blue Knob. Still remember ..Cut work, 40 people 3 feet snow all trails open.

Number 2: you are right why would I use almanacs?
this year they were opposite. I just look at all these links, it did not mean I use them all.
La Nina you just never know. Last week I had 6 inches of rain. wow if that was snow.

Last month the wsi / energy cos forecast was spot on. and looks to be this month with below normal cold.

I race so I really only like snow if it helps to build a base to open new trails. I like hard pack/ice.
Shout it from a mountaintop.
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