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Mid-Atlantic Skier’s Forecast
By Kyle Dodd, Guest Author
December 4, 2008

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.

Long Term:

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.

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Kyle
5 years ago
“On Thursday night the real fun starts……”

should be “thursday” instead of “thursday night”
andy
5 years ago
I really enjoyed your detailed & to the point play by play f-cast for us Snow/Ski Condition watchers in the Mid Atlantic.We or I have never been able to get a clear pic of what is going on in our Mtn’s…its always been like “Fuzzy math”. The DC TV weather folks have been dropping the ball for years, The Accu’s & others including NWS mostly F-cast for 2000’ & less & too many folks have been left clueless.The Snowmaking F-casts are very important since that is so important to our region & the fact that there are a lot of factors that go into that Science..we cannot just rely on a high/low F-cast to get an accurate pic.

Like I said..I enjoyed your sample F-cast & would like to purchase your product…how much?..(Smiley Face!)
JimK
5 years ago
Yes, a simple narrative like this once a week should be a great service. Thanks a bunch. Most of us know the areas you are talking about, but a few geographic descriptors would be helpful, like Western PA, Allegheny Front, or specific resort names as you characterize the range of conditions. However, if keeping this effort brief and simple helps you to continue to produce it all winter that is paramount. Thanks again. Hope you can get some school credit :-)
The Colonel
5 years ago
Langleyskier and Scott,
Thanks for starting this new service. I agree with JimK that additional geographical/altitude references might be useful since the weather for Snowshoe and CV is often vastly different than for the lower altitude resorts near the big cities. Even a more Northern area such as SevenSprings experiences much colder temps than say Massanutten or Bryce simply because the cold air sometimes does not seep as far Southl.
I also suggest that another feature would be having links to real resort forcasts such NOAA forecasts precisely for Snowshoe, CV, Champion, etc.
Well done.
The Colonel
rmcva
5 years ago
Thanks for the report and I look forward to reading more throughout the season.
Kyle
5 years ago
Colonel,

Ya i will try to provide more geographical references, definitely could be a little confusing for someone who is not totally aware of which resorts i am referring too. As for the NWS forecasts, those are already linked to DCSki’s weather page, scott has already done a great job capturing the forecast for each area and loading ti to the site (and even adding the cool snowmaking (icon). I assume that most people have the ability to go to weather.gov and click on a resort or go to the weather page on this site. I am simply trying to add to that and give a more indebth look at the weather (also any online forecast has trouble with elevation effects on the weather).
Kyle
5 years ago
and btw, thanks a ton for the feedback, want this to be the best I can make it and cater to the average skier so all the comments really help!
andy
5 years ago
So where would you like us to Discuss any future weather events or to comment on your outlooks…Here, or on the main thread? You added this link to the main discussion area but I’m still not sure. I think it would be better to have followup Disc on the main site so as to cut down on what I call useless “Virus threads” that pop up about the same subject….

Next weeks Storm will Form but as of 11pm on the 4th you might as well flip a coin as to WEATHER (I did a Funny!) it will ride up the east or west side of the Alpps (Spine of appalacians).
Kyle
5 years ago
Andy,

How about I, or you or anyone else, make a thread every week on wednesday as well to discuss possible altercations in the forecast. Then every week we can start a new thread so as to minimize the length of the individual threads and make it easier to follow for everyone? Would also be a great place to post snow totals and such. That way this detailed weekly forecast is available and if people choose, they can dive into further detail/critiquing in the forum thread. I figured that by wednesday we will have a good gasp on the weather for the weekend (which is what people care about the most) but as you and I know, everything can change and it is fun to discuss other possible events that pop up.
ski bum
5 years ago
can you do a 30day out look ?
andy
5 years ago
One step at a time Buddy!
Woody
5 years ago
Kyle, this is great. Between your weekly columns and the weekly thread for discussion, I’m looking forward to learning an great deal of meteorology…and finding the best skiing! I agree with the request for altitude and geographic names. For the latter, ski areas plus states and topographic features would seem to work well together. The Shenandoah/Great Valley, Blue Ridge, Allegheny Front, and Potomac River should slice up the landscape into workable chunks.
Kyle
5 years ago
Ill give an “extended outlook” from time to time, but anything after a week is always pretty much a complete guess
Kate
5 years ago
Thank you Kyle. Your article/forecast is terrific. I think the addition of geographic/resort area specs would be helpful. Since my family moved from PA to VA we’ve lived by the motto to “Go to the Snow”. We’re often trying to determine where we’ll get the best bang for the buck on our weekend excursions. A thread would also be helpful. I often visit Accuweather.com forums. It’s especially interesting to hear observation & post mortums on forecasted snow events from the folks in those areas.
Sharpen your edges. And pencils.
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