Saturday, October 31, 2009

Tis' the season ;)

Mid-November will be more like late December as a strong Polar Vortex moves down from Canada. Classic negative North Atlantic Oscillation, so watch for development as well. It's going to be an early ski season from the Smokies, Allegheny's, Poconos, and Catskills as long as they use this snowmaking window wisely. It's coming...

Arctic blast looks more likely everyday....

This is all I have to say. The NAO and AO supported it yesterday, now the model is finally showing it. If this does indeed happen, then Mountain Creek will be able to open up for Thanksgiving. Keep checking back in, the winter pattern may be less than two weeks away.

Friday, October 30, 2009


Both the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO) are forecasted to tank around the 5th of November. This won't supply any adequate cold for cost-efficient snowmaking for the resorts of New Jersey but it could be a sign of things to come. In mid November those snow guns will finally get their opportunity...

Come back daily to check on the graphs above, they update automatically. Negative means cold and snowy this time of year, just remember that.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The Polar Vortex

There is some hints of a true arctic front moving in mid November. It's a little far out right now, but let's keep an eye on it. It could be a worthy event for snowmaking up and down the entire east coast. The bigger mountains in the northeast will turn their guns back on next week, and that will lead to their opening. Check back every day or so for more information.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


It's almost November already and that means the eastern ski/board season is just about here, but living in the east coast means the snowmakers got to get to work. Next week will give places in Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, and New York the required wet bulb temperature required to crystalize water droplets. But a strong enough cold shot is not in the foreseeable future for Mountain Creek or other area resorts. For now, the snow guns are just waiting. Waiting for the air and water to start pumping through the pipes.

When I see our first true arctic blast, one that will provide a decent snowmaking window, I will let everyone know a good week or two in advance. Enjoy what's left of fall, cause late November could get interesting...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Winter 09-10 Forecast

After hours upon hours of going over the climatology records, looking at past years, investigating current trends in the atmosphere and oceans, even some math (which Im not good at), and using some personal knowledge I think I have somewhat of a good idea what is in store for this winter season. You may want to go get some hot coco and a pastry before you start to read this, because it is kind of long.

Let's first take a look at what I believe to be one of, if not the greatest influence on our winter patterns, the ENSO, or as most know it the "El Nino Southern Oscillation". This image actually updates on its own so you can always come back and check it to see what is going on. As of right now (Early October) we have a weak El Nino which is becoming even weaker, more toward a "neutral" phase. Take a look for yourself:

In the past years we have been in a positive phase of the ENSO know better as "La Nina", but that has finally ended. In those years we have a lot of freezing rain and sleet, and that was a direct cause of the La Nina because it pumped up a lot of upper level warm air which melted the snow in the upper atmosphere and refroze either at the surface or just before. Last year northwest Jersey picked up 45"-65" inches of snow (elevation depending) with a weak La Nina and our snows where still affected by a decent amount of ice. And the year before that with a much stronger La Nina brought 25"-35" inches, and A LOT of ice. I actually remember somestorms dumped 6 inches of pure sleet! Several times! And that really lowered snow totals, this year, it's not going to be an issue :)

What about this years ENSO phase?
"El NiƱo is expected to strengthen and last through the Northern Hemisphere winter 2009-2010." (From the climate prediction center)

Now I realize that I am not a climatologist, but I strongly disagree with the CPC on this, and I have good reason. For one they are forecasting a somewhat strong El Nino to form throughout the season but in the past month has totally reversed from what they were forecasting. Take a look below, does it look like it makes any sense? It doesn't... This is why I'm forecasting a neutral phase in the ENSO if not slightly positive.
This is what they were forecasting: (Sorry for the poor quality. If you see where it first starts to rise thats where the rise was in the image above. That strong el nino forecast had it very strong for mid October, but look above. It went down.)

The Pacific Decadal Oscillation?

The PDO is cycle that goes on in the northwest Pacific Ocean, along the Alaskan and Canadian coasts. There is a positive cycle and then a negative cycle. See below:

Unfortunately I am not as familiar with the PDO as I should be so here is quote from Accuweather's Joe Bastardi:

"My latest evaluation of the state of the Nino finds the only negative value is the global atmospheric angular momentum, which is the great regulator of the pattern. Its negative value acts as a cap on how strong this can get, which is borderline moderate for the start of winter.

The recent crash of the SOI means this will intensify. This is a crucial aspect of my winter forecast as the warming of the ONI areas means the PDO will warm, and a warming PDO in the heart of the cold overall PDO (multi year, multi decades) has led to some interesting winter implications. As important, it means the Mei analog to 1951-1952 will fall by the wayside"

The North Atlantic Oscillation?

The North Atlantic Oscillation or NAO is the most important pattern you can look for when forecasting weather events in the Northeast United States all the way to Europe. Typically the weather in the northeast seems to be a carbon copy of what's going on in across the north atlantic in Europe. Now I would get into detail but I need to shorten the blog so if you are not educated in the NAO check the link:

When looking at the NAO a negative phase means cold and snowy conditions while a positive is the opposite. This is a live image so you can always come back to this blog and check on its progress, or check out the same links on the right hand side of this page.

How much snow?

This is my general idea of this years snowfall totals. Just please note that not all colors are in intervals of 5 inches, several are a span of 10 inches. This is based on a 150% above normal snowfall. NYC will finally get above 40 inches and the ski areas of Sussex County like Mountain Creek, Hidden Valley, and High Point XC should get upwards of 80 inches + at the summit. It's going to be a great year!

  • Neutral Phase to slightly + ENSO
  • PDO will turn warm mid winter
  • Look for negative NAO values
  • Means colder and snowy conditions
  • Snowfall 150%+ of normal
Now I'm not going to try and forecast month to month, but at the beginning of each month I can attempt an "overview" of what is to come. This winter will be noticeable different than the previous ones in past years, this time expect mostly snow events and ice may be a thing of past until La Nina develops again. Wax your boards and take the ski's out of the basement, it's going to be an amazing season. That is if you like powder anyway...

Saturday, October 17, 2009

NWA Conference

I will be at the NWA conference in Norfolk Virginia for the next week so depending upon whether the hotel has free WiFi controls my blogging. Ill try to blog if anything exciting happens, but after this weekend it looks like things get boring.

You also might wondering why I haven't blogged about this weekends storm. And that's because I just don't believe much snow is coming. The soundings are just showing me that the atmosphere won't be able to support much frozen precipitation. You need to live high up to get accumulations with this one. There is always the possibility that all models could be wrong, I'm wrong, and we get 8 feet of snow. But I doubt it, winter is still coming.... :)

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Check out this map

This is the predicted snow cover 36 hours from now: (Bull's eye over Sussex)

Snow swath shifts east?

This is from the 00z NAM (just came out at like 10:40 PM). Anyway, it's now bringing in the colder air and heavy precipitation into our area. If this stays consistent by tomorrow morning then expect heavy snowfall. Check back for updates sometime tomorrow.

First snow of the season?

Yeah, that's right. It's going to snow across the higher terrain of Northwest Jersey in October yet again! The issue is that the area is right on the edge of the rain/snow line so I don't expect any accumulation at the lower elevations, as of right now that is. Sorry Newton, Branchville, Vernon Valley, Sussex, and the rest of the central valley in Sussex County it's not your storm. If you live along the High Point ridge then expect accumulating snowfall and that goes for the highlands from Mount Olive, Hopatcong, Jefferson, and up to West Milford.

As of right now it's hard to tell how much snow will pile up, and that reason is because if it's 31.5 and snowing then your in good shape, but if it's 32.5 then you may have some issues. That's just how early season snowfall works. Places like Mountain Creek will be snow capped and that could lead to downed trees if the worst case scenario happens. And after last years ice storm, that is the last thing they want.

This is what the latest NAM is showing for the surface for Friday at 2:00 A.M:

Saturday, 8:00 AM

Now let's move to my smoking gun of the storm. The atmospheric soundings. Now imagine this as a vertical model of the atmosphere, the surface is 1000mb and then pressure decreases with height. Now look at the two white lines. The one on the left is dew point and the other is temperature. The first thing you see is how the two lines seem to merge together, this tells you the atmosphere is saturated and can really support heavy precipitation. Ok, no big deal, that even happens in the summer. But look at the bottom of the Skew-T, you see those blue numbers? That's surface temperature in Celcius, and it's forecasted to be right on the freezing mark. That means the atmosphere at Andover Airport can support snow at an elevation of 583 feet, if you like at 1,000 feet things could get interesting. And at 1,500 feet, prepare to potentially shovel...

It's going to be a close call, and if you get A LOT of snow don't be surprised. If you get no snow, don't be surprised either. Local conditions will vary and the usual "snowy spots" will yet again be the big winners.

Check back for more updates, I'm in winter storm mode...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Year without a summer, and a year without fall...

This is quoted from Joe Bastardi on his blog this afternoon. It's something that has been something I have been watching and we might get another major October snow event, and elevation is crucial. This winter is going to come early...



It does not take much wet snow to fall a tree still full of leaves. Late last week I started opining that there could be one heck of a winter event in the interior northeast... and it will be an event in the I-80 corridor in the plains and midwest, but for the northeast above 1500 feet from WVA to New england there is more at stake here as the period Thursday pm into Sunday could bring 2 wet snow events as a major trough pivots through the northeast with 3 separate storms over a 5 day period. The one in the middle, For Friday, should just turn into an out and out noreaster but at this time of the year, there is so much warm air around, that storms can develop quickly back near trough axis and so a second weekend storm may follow.

So here is the deal, if you live above 15 hundred feet in Pa NJ, New York, and New England I would be concerned you have enough accumulating snow to have trees breaking around you. That goes for Maryland too and into the central high ground of WVA> but the fact is it snows at this time of the year more often in places like Beckley and Bluefield so its not as big a deal."

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Latest Fall Foliage Update

This is from the Fall Foliage Network:

As you can see the state is very diverse when it comes to color. You have some areas where the color is low, to places where the color will most likely peak in the next few days. Surprising, the elevation really matters. Tomorrow I will get some pictures of mountain side in the Allamuchy's and the top of half is at peak color, where the bottom still has a lot of green. And that is representative of pretty much the whole northwest corner of Jersey. Updates tomorrow.

I have also been working on my winter season forecast. Which is really long right now, sorry about that. It's almost done and will be posted in the coming week. And I'll also be talking about how our first snow could just be days away.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cold snap coming, with snow?

As of now all of the long range weather models see a cold shot coming down out of Canada and a storm coming up from the south. Each one is most certainly showing snow for most of the northeast, even in the big cities. The GFS, CMC, NOGAPS, and EURO are all having the same idea and are staying consistent. There is a possibility of snow, but as of right it is unsure what will happen on October 12th.

GFS model:
Euro model:
CMC model:

Check back in tomorrow for latest updates to see what evolves out of the models!