Monday, November 17, 2008

Mountain Creek Updates!

At my school near the city, New York that is, it was around 49 degrees when I left on my hour drive home to northwest Jersey. And just like any winter day when I arrive home and take the first step out of my car the temperature change from my previous location is shocking. It's the usual ten degree drop from the mountains to the city and a good sign that winter is on it's way.

I'm sure we all noticed the drop in temperatures with the start of this new week with today's high temperature in Sussex ranging from 43 in the valleys and 39 at the highest mountain tops. Most of us were some where in between. Tonight we will dip down into the mid 20's and the rest of the week will struggle just to get into the 30's for high temperatures. With all this cold air that's going to be around let's talk about some snowmaking. First we have to see if it's cold enough to make snow and we do this by checking both the outdoor temperature and also the outdoor humidity. For example with 10% humidity snowmaking is possible at 39 degrees, although it's poor quality and most resorts wouldn't bother with that. At near 100% humidity snowmaking isn't possible until 27 degrees. Take a look at the chart for more information, we need a "wet bulb" temperature of 27 in order to make snow! (Currently at 5:37pm wet bulb is 28 degrees!)
(Click for bigger image)
With low humidity this week and temperatures at night reaching some upper teens and lower 20's it seems almost likely to me that Mountain Creek will turn on those guns and start painting the slopes white! Perhaps an early opening? We will have to wait and see about that one.
Ok, well it's going to be cold and it's going to last awhile, there is no doubt about that, but what about snowstorms!? Well we do have some snow in our forecast but nothing to exciting at this point in time. Monday night into Tuesday some showers will be possible in the area but the bulk out of them will be passing to our south and east giving us nothing more than a dusting if we are lucky anyway. Some lake effect snow squalls are possible at almost any time during the week and could put down a quick coating to an inch of snow across isolated areas, but those are extremely unpredictable. As long as we are in this pattern, clipper systems and squalls will be the main concern, but as of now, no major snowstorms are showing up in the computer models.
Check back everyday for more updates on snowmaking status and possible snowstorms! It's so close, I can hear the sound of a board carving in the snow...

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