Friday, November 25, 2011

Waiting For Winter

While Killington Vermont has 111 acres of skiing open Mountain Creek has yet to even turn on it's powerful snowmaking system. It has nothing to do with the resort itself but the lack of cold air we have had. So far this season we have only had a 20 hour period of potential snowmaking conditions and that was after the major Halloween snowstorm where temps dipped into the low 20's. The fact is it's still fall and winter doesn't technically start for another month yet we are currently 10x to 18x above our average snowfall for the season thus far. If it didn't snow until the middle of January we would still be above average for the season!

It seems like my blog posts increase 95% when an extreme event approaches, or when weather begins to get interesting. Probably lack of motivation but would anyone really want to read a blog about how dry and seasonable it's going to be? The reason I mention this is because I am getting excited, and for good reason.

A pattern that often produces cold and major snowstorm is a -AO, -NAO, and +PNA, especially all at the same time. If you look at the chart below it shows exactly that, and that's why early December will provide snow and cold enough weather to allow for around the clock snowmaking. The only problem is trying to keep the cold air in place across the east once it arrives, which may be difficult.

The lack of any stratospheric warming event indicates a lack of strong blocking, therefore when cold air does arrive it doesn't last long. Essentially the arctic air will hit hard for a few days then continue it's journey out to the Atlantic where it will modify and lose it's arctic characteristics.

The models do suggest some interesting weather as we head into December, and I agree. All we can do now is sit back, wait, and enjoy what "nice" weather we have left. Check back in a few days for updates.

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