From the skiing weatherman...interesting that he completely disagrees with the temperature outlook for next week. Also notice the "changes" in moisture coming from the west.
Big weekend storm in East...
Weather discussion 01/21/05
As we head into the weekend, everything seems to be falling into place for the first region-wide snowstorm of the season. As is the case in every storm, there will be winners and losers when it comes to snowfall, but most of the snow sports industry from the Carolinas northward into New England will be happy with the outcome of this fast moving system.
The impetus behind this storm is a wave of low pressure that originated in the Yukon, and as it heads southeastward, it will set off substantial snow from the eastern Dakotas, through the lower Great Lakes and into the east. It will strengthen as it spins into the long wave trough position that is currently parked over the eastern U.S., and that will enhance its ability to produce snow, and wind, as it deepens into a formidable ocean storm Saturday night and Sunday. One thing for sure, there is plenty of cold air to go around, as Wednesday's clipper delivered a chunk of pure arctic air after it dropped 2-6 inches on most of the east. Between the fresh snow and the yeoman's effort of the snowmakers in the east since last weekend, surfaces have been morphed to mid winter packed powder. There are still firm spots in high traffic areas, but overall, the improvement in conditions in the past week has been amazing. Don't forget...a week ago today it was 65 degrees in Boston, and a week ago yesterday, Pittsburgh hit 70 and Buffalo 68. Don't forget to hug your local snowmaker.
Back to the storm...as it heads offshore, it will slow down slightly, so it looks to me that there will be two areas that really get tagged. First of all, close to the track of the surface low, the northern mountains of West Virginia northeastward to the Poconos should get a solid 8-12 inches. Upstate New York will be too far from the action to max out, but should still pick up 4-8 inches, with the higher amounts along the Pennsylvania border. The Catskills are looking at a 5-10 inch snowfall, as are the Berkshires, but again, the higher amounts will be found in the southern reaches of both mountain ranges. The slowing of the system will allow the largest amounts to fall from New York City northeastward to Boston.... 10-15 inches of dry, windblown powder will fall. Due to the cold air, the snow will be very dry just about everywhere, and Sunday will be a powder day from Wisp in Maryland to Wachusett Mt. in Massachusetts. As for the Adirondacks and the mountains of northern New England, they will be just a little too far from the primary circulation of the storm, and I'll line my 3 inch line up on route 4 across central Vermont and New Hampshire. The southern extent of the 3-inch line will run from Washington D.C. westward to Bluefield, West Virginia, with an inch or two of backlash snow falling further south along the spine of the Appalachians.
In the wake of the storm, yet another shot of arctic air will spill into the east, which will sustain the packed powder surfaces. Temperatures will moderate a little toward midweek, but another clipper will track through the east Wednesday, setting off another round of light to moderate snow. Lower elevation areas in the mid Atlantic will see a bit of a mix before yet again, cold air moves in. Later next week, it will be colder than normal again in the east, despite what your local television weather report might say...they are all falling in lock step with the U.S. generated model, which has performed horribly on cold outbreaks and the numerous light to moderate snows in the east. Once again, it will miss the intensity of the late week cold shot. By the way, if you go to a web site that presents a ten or fifteen-day forecast with cute little weather icons...that forecast comes from the same U.S. model...proceed with care.
In the west, changes are about to take place that promise to make the next two weeks very interesting here in the east. The ridge is still going to hold, which bodes well for the east, but the southern stream of the jet is going to begin to undercut the ridge, and that will produce precipitation in southern California and across the southern Rockies as next week progresses. With the cold air holding sway in the east, and southern branch energy attempting to overrun the cold air dome, the last few days of January and the first week of February promise to produce a series of snow events in the east, although the southern resorts will be dealing with mixed precip when the southern branch impulse is particularly potent (and carrying more warm air with it).
The National Weather Service has issued its outlook for February and it suggest that the east will be warmer than normal...I'm skeptical because the month looks as though it will get off to a colder than normal start, and with blocking slowly strengthening over the north Atlantic, cold air will tend to hang around longer. And, as I have said since the beginning of the season, weak El Nino winters tend to be back loaded with snow and cold in the east, and I thing what has unfolded in the past week is a clear indication that we are headed toward a "climatologically favored" solution of that nature.
As an aside, you may or may not know that since Labor Day I have been the co-host of a nationally syndicated talk show on, what else?, the weather. It's called Real Weather USA, and it is currently heard in 20 markets around the country. My co-host is Joe Bastardi of Accu-Weather...a brilliant and passionate forecaster with whom I have been a friend since we were roommates back in the 70's. The reason that I have engaged in this quick shot of shameless self-promotion is that we would love to talk to you on the show...if you have a question about the weather, or a complaint about the way the information is used or presented...anything related to weather, please give us a call. The number is toll-free (866) 473-2587, and if you call between 8 and 10 a.m. on Saturdays, we'll be there. If you are shy about being on the air, you can email your questions or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
We'll be happy to use your stuff, and credit you to boot.
In the meantime, if you have been holding off on skiing or riding this season because of sketchy conditions...get your sorry carcass off the couch and head for the hills!!!