Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Winter Has Just Begun

Unfortunately I wasn't able to work on my winter forecast due to lack of power. I plan on getting it finish by this weekend if all goes planned. I think I've had enough snow for now but I do want to recap the storm a little and talk about a major pattern shift coming mid month.

Snow totals across the state from the October snow storm:

Basically the higher terrain got hit the hardest with the storm and most of Sussex County for that matter. I picked up 16" at my house, around 18" in West Milford, and even Central Park picked up 2.9". The totals aren't nothing compared to what we see in the winter but since the leaves have yet to drop the situation went from plowing and shoveling to all out destruction. Basically this set records for everywhere. If this had been January then the snow totals would be measured in feet.

This storm made us realized how fragile civilization really is. When the power is out basically your back in the olden days. Food went bad in refrigerators (even in stores), gas stations ran out of gas (if they had power to pump it), roads were impassable (that's an under statement), and for the first time I felt at the mercy of the weather. Some roads are still in bad shape and many residents are still without power. Stores that don't have power are losing a lot of money and employees aren't getting paid to do nothing. I even ran out of money. Without power ATM's and credit machines weren't working, forcing people to drive long distances just to get some cash out of a working machine.

Want a hot meal? Can't cook without power, and neither can Burger King or Ted's Deli. Want milk? Well the trucks can't make deliveries without fuel that was hard to come by and stores can't keep food cold without power. Want that tree off your house? Your local tree cutter isbooked for the next month. Want heat in your house? The stores are all sold out of generators and kerosene heaters. This was the most destructive storm in north Jersey I have ever seen, and may end up being the most costly of all time. We are at the mercy of mother nature and this storm was a harsh reminder of that.
Let's move on to the long range outlook. First let's take a look a the three teleconnections that affect our region the most:

As seen above the NAO and AO both take a nose dive into negative territory. This can only mean one thing, a pattern change. The NAO going negative will allow for storm to ride up the coast line and the AO will essentially displace the cold air from the pole to lower latitudes. This is will be the first real arctic outbreak of the winter season. The values go negative next week and we will allow for about a weeks lag, so around November 15th place like Mountain Creek and pretty much every resort on the east coast can turn their snowmaking systems on full blast.

One thing we want to look for is a stratospheric warming between 10mb-100mb, but I have yet to see one of any significance. Give it a week and a major event will be occurring over the western Pacific.

By the second half of this month we will be talking about snow again but by that time the leaves would have dropped from the trees so widespread damage is not likely.

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