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.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Thanksgiving? Could it snow?

Once again the european model has caught eye of a potential snowstorm. It's only one model and one run but this is the same model that forecasted the Halloween storm a week prior. Let's see what tomorrow brings.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Winter Outlook 2011-2012

This winter outlook is much shorter than ones in the past because I already post a blog which I called my pre-winter forecast. That goes more into depth into the main reasons behind my thinking and you can check it out here: Pre Winter Forecast
This is the first time I have ever done a winter forecast already having a major snowstorm behind us so I will be including that event into my snowfall prediction. Let's start off with the projected winter season temperatures:

The map above does show the heart of the cold this winter over the upper mid west and great lakes region. This will result in some major lake effect snow outbreaks and a storm track that brings the snowiest conditions to the Appalachian Mountains. The early part of the winter willcome with much colder than average temperatures and above average snowfall right up to the holidays. During the heart of winter there may be prolonged periods of ridging over the east which will help to bring the average winter temp up to just below average.

Forecasted precipitation from average:

Unfortunately for Texas the drought will continue through the winter months as the northern tier gets their fair share of precip. The lakes region will end up well above average associated with the lake effect snow events.

I promised a short winter forecast this year so I don't put everyone to sleep so here is my project winter snowfall forecast for the area:

(**Just a note on snowfall. Just one snow event can drastically alter the accuracy of this map and it's not easy to forecast snowfall within a ten inch range. Last years map was bust on eastern sections mainly because of nearly 30" of snow during the post Christmas blizzard)

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.