Hey everyone, Scott and I have been talking recently and decided that it would be beneficial to create a weekly “skier’s forecast” for the Mid-Atlantic, something that is already produced for many ski regions around the country but is hard to come by in this area. For those of you who do not know me via the forums, my name is Kyle Dodd (langleyskier) and I’ve been a member of DCSki since 2004. I am a member of the Penn State Ski Team, currently a ski instructor at Tussey Mountain, and am in school at Penn State pursuing a degree in meteorology.
My goal through this column is to put out a weekly forecast every Wednesday throughout the ski season to both provide Mid-Atlantic skiers with a forecast pertaining only to skiing, and to help myself grow as a meteorologist through real-world forecasting. Please feel free to comment asking questions or simply providing general feedback. I want to make sure whatever I write is as clear as possible.
Short Term: (through Saturday night)
Wednesday, December 3, 2008 was relatively warm across the area, generally around 40 to the mid-40’s at most resorts (slightly below average), the warmest temps most areas have seen since mid-November. Wednesday night was much warmer than Tuesday night (when temperatures dipped down to the mid-20’s to teens at all resorts), and probably did not offer any extended possibility for snowmaking. On Thursday the real fun starts, as a cold front will move through around mid-day, bringing with it rain mixing with and then changing to snow.
Light rain, possibly mixed with snow, should begin from west to east early Thursday morning, quickly changing to snow by mid-late afternoon. Highs will be in the mid-30’s in the higher elevations early in the morning, with temperatures dropping starting around 11 a.m. or noon through the 30’s and into the 20’s. For the lower elevations, rain showers will dominate until the late afternoon when temperatures should drop and allow anything that is left over to change to snow. Rain should not be too heavy anywhere so don’t worry too much about the destruction of snow base by the rain. Expect anywhere from 1-3 inches in the higher elevations by late tomorrow and maybe a dusting to an inch or two in the lower elevations.
Overnight Thursday, temps will continue plummeting into the teens for higher elevations and low twenties for lower elevations. Snow showers should stick around in the higher elevations, picking up an additional few inches depending on how intense the upslope/lake effect is in the particular area. Should be amazing snowmaking (a little windy but not too bad) everywhere, exactly what we want for the weekend. Friday should be very cold for this time of year, 20’s for higher elevations and around freezing for lower elevations, with great snowmaking throughout the day and continued snow showers for higher elevations and partly cloudy for lower elevations.
Friday night will again be bitter, about the same temps as Thursday night, and fantastic snowmaking. Saturday should be a great day for skiing. Temperatures should be around the same as Friday’s, maybe a degree or two higher, allowing for snowmaking all day on unopened runs. Clouds will slowly move in throughout the day ahead of a weak Alberta clipper. Saturday night the clipper should move through bringing with it scattered snow showers, possibly a dusting to 3” for mid elevations and 2-4” for high elevations (really fluffy snow!); temps will be in the 20’s in most all locations.
Could possibly be interesting, as the clipper that moves through on Saturday night has the potential (absolutely no guarantee) to spark a system off the coast that would lay down some powder for anyone from DC to Maine, or nothing at all. (This will most likely will be a player for the Poconos but not anyone else). More likely is that the clipper moves through, bringing with it more cold and allowing for continued around the clock snowmaking through at least Sunday everywhere and additional upslope and lake effect for high elevations (light-moderate accumulations).
After Sunday, temperatures should moderate a bit but remain well below average for this time of year and continue to allow around the clock snowmaking in the higher elevations and at least nighttime snowmaking for lower elevations. Sometime mid-late week it looks like a system will move through with mixed precipitation, too early to tell what type for where. Temps throughout the week should remain below average, possibly again becoming very cold behind next week’s system as well as more lake effect/upslope.
Please feel free to provide your feedback or questions below.