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  1. #11
    SUN-MON LIGHT EVENT
    There's a weak low passing through Canada with first the trail end of a warm front passing through early Sunday, and then the trail end of a cold front passing through on Monday. This isn't expected to do much in the Northeast, but there is bonus snow potential in the northern areas as well as some light accumulations along the lakes. These weak systems can have wide variability from just flurries to maybe 4" of snow in places. The most recent NWS regional stitch through Monday at 7 p.m. is attached as well as the NAM3K covering all of Sunday through Monday at 7 a.m. The pre-open snow on Sunday is primarily what to keep your eyes on. This will be a bigger deal north of the St. Lawrence, but I would not be surprised to see over 3" at Snow Ridge and Jay Peak refresh the used snow through Monday.


  2. #12
    TUESDAY STORM UPDATE #3: Winter Still Mostly Winning
    While the track of this storm was a losing battle to begin with, we've lucked out when it comes to strength and timing and as a result we can expect widespread snow on Tuesday, and by Wednesday morning the Northern areas as well as S-ME may well have remained all snow and all frozen. Since the bulk of the snow will fall during the Tuesday ski day, this is now being tracked as just a Tuesday storm. Attached is the ECMWF 1-hour precipitation intensity loop covering all of Tuesday as well as a snowfall map covering the whole event as well as maybe up to two inches here and there that may fall mostly tonight.

    It will snow at some point at all tracked resorts on Tuesday. The only areas of concern are W-NY, C-NY, and S-NY with the potential of some very late in the ski day mixing in S-VT and W-MA. By open on Tuesday the snow will primarily be in NY, but by around noon it should be affecting most of New England. It will be a little warm on the trail end of the precip in W-NY and C-NY during Tuesday and possibly end with some light rain or drizzle. S-NY and W-MA may change over to other frozen forms of precip starting at 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. based on this model run. Maybe in the last hour of the ski day this makes it into areas of S-VT, but it looks to be a great day there.

    The warm sector of the storm will likely affect all of S-VT, S-NH and the rest of MA after 4 p.m., but temps should drop overnight below freezing and it's possible that only slight or isolated damage is done to conditions. Everyone should net some base out of this. Both Tuesday and Wednesday should be widely pretty good or great days.

    NWS offices are starting to put out forecasts for this storm, but they are early and incomplete as of this moment. I would expect some 6"-8" totals forecasted generally in the hot spots with some extra enhancement on the Presidentials as well as the SE side of the ADK's and Tug Hill Plateau. Generally you should expect the highest totals somewhere around the Gore/Killington/Waterville/Abram latitude outside of mesoscale effects that may create some other winners.

    Following this storm we actually stay in a pattern that will be mostly dry and primarily below freezing until almost the end of the month. Groomers should be widely excellent, and resorts will make good progress of topping off their terrain before snowmaking gets shut down for the season. While this group may be heavy with powder hunters and mogul and tree skiers, groomers are obviously the most popular form of terrain, and this is what families will be seeking on school break.

  3. #13
    TUESDAY STORM UPDATE #4: Nice Refresher, Maybe More, Some Ice & Wind
    Although only only N-NY, N-NH and ME are expected to stay 100% snow in this system, on Tuesday you can expect all or most of the day to be snowy in S-V, S-NH, and W-MA as well. There will be some rain and non-snow frozen precip affecting many areas, but there won't be a lot of it, and much of it will happen overnight and after a re-freeze it will largely be of only minor consequence except for some natural terrain. There will however be some wind issues Tuesday as this warm front is a low level jet feeding moisture to the storm passing through Quebec with winds from the south to south east. I will share a map later on tonight with wind hold warnings. Wednesday may well have some isolated wind issues as well, however it's too far out to issue warnings for. It is also likely that there will be an impactful back-end event with both lake effect and orographic lift enhanced snow in the northern areas, possibly convective squalls. That too will be covered later. Attached is the NAM3K simulated radar covering all day Tuesday as well as the most recent NWS snowfall forecast stitch. I'm including the latest ECMWF snowfall map also to help show where it may snow more broadly, but the NWS typically does much better than the models at predicting snow.

    Timing: Precip will start off at all tracked resorts outside of CT and RI as snow. By open the snow should have advanced generally to the NY/VT border and by noon impacting most of NH and ME. Precip will remain through the rest of the ski day in most areas, though it may be spotty in W-NY and C-NY sometime in the afternoon.

    All Snow Areas: N-NY, N-VT, N-NH and ME resorts should stay all snow in this storm, however some may break freezing briefly in the evening. There should be some fresh snow Wednesday morning on natural terrain in N-VT and ME.

    Changeover Areas: W-NY ad C-NY will have changed over to rain/drizzle sometime between open and noon depending on how far east the resort is. S-NY will experience a changeover first to freezing rain probably sometime around noon and eventually rain/drizzle before close. MA experiences a changeover starting around noon as well, but Berkshire East and Wachusett may stay snow until 1-2 p.m. and then freezing rain/drizzle. Generally speaking, S-VT and S-NH will likely experience more new snow than other types of precip. Parts of S-VT and S-NH may change over to freezing rain/drizzle around 2 p.m. and some may escape the changeover until after close. I don't expect a lot of damage as this isn't a super wet system, but it might create some slick spots on natural terrain where the snow is compacted like the troughs of moguls. This will negatively impact conditions most notably in W-NY, C-NY ad S-NY

    NWS Snowfall: The ECMWF and NAM3K models are a bit more bullish on the prospects around the SE side of the Presidentials into ME around Mt. Abram and Shawnee Peak. Technically NWS Burlington is also adding in snow on the back-end of this storm for Wednesday, but it is barely measurable as they frequently start low, but I would expect back-end snow to be notable enough in some areas.

  4. #14
    TUESDAY 2/18 RISK OF MAJOR WIND HOLD
    Winds will come primarily from the south to southeast at ground level. Areas of concern in NY will likely see wind holds by 11 a.m. or remain operating for the day. In VT, NH, and ME the threat will grow throughout the day. This is a light to moderate event as these things go.

    Bear in mind that a resort confirms the warning here by losing easy access to 25% or more of terrain for 2+ hours due to a wind hold. Keep in mind that there is no lift redundancy at some resorts for certain parts of their terrain, however others have fixed grip chairs that they may run giving potentially even full access but we consider taking two lifts to lap terrain normally accessed with one lift to have lost that easy access. Needing to traverse long distances or uphill also counts as having lost that easy access, but bear in mind that for some who are powder hunters, this is actually a blessing as it helps to keep the goods untouched. Clearly enclosed lifts are generally the most threatened, and then open detachable chairlifts (high speed lifts) are the next most threatened type of lift. Fixed grip lifts do at times go on wind hold, especially lifts that access the summits.

    These risks are calculated by wind speed, direction, lift configuration, type of lifts, and perceived resort sensitivity to holds. I do consider the surrounding geography as well, however I am not perfectly familiar with most mountains and their unique weaknesses with wind from every single angle. Generally I do not over-warn on winds.

    On Wednesday there may be some issues with wind from the WNW with the primary areas of concern being S-VT, N-NH, and N-ME however it is too early to put out a map for that.

  5. #15
    TUESDAY STORM UPDATE #5: Warmer and More WInd
    There's been a bit of a shift in the NAM3K to a slightly warmer phase to this storm. This will have little impact on Thursday's ski day due to timing, but it's possible that precip transitions to drizzle and light rain in some additional areas. It was always expected that for a number of hours after close many of the resorts that stayed all snow would break freezing, and now they look a couple of degrees warmer with the precip hanging on a bit later. Winds now also look worse in N-VT and N-NH on Tuesday and I've updated the wind hold map accordingly. I've included the latest NWS snowfall stitch as well as the NAM3K simulated radar covering all of Tuesday and Wednesday, and the latest ECMWF snowfall map which seems heavy.

    Despite the warmer solution all snow is expected until at least 2 p.m. in N-NY and Northern New England. The last two hours could see some changeover to sleet and freezing rain in N-NY, S-VT, and S-NH. W-NY starts the day as rain. C-NY transitions to rain around 11 a.m.. S-NY probably flips to sleet or a form of rain around 12 p.m. W-MA likely flips to sleet around 1 p.m. and then freezing rain.

    Keep in mind that the NWS snowfall forecast includes both this front end snow as well as some back-end snow from lake effect and orographic lift. I don't expect any totals of over 5" during the Tuesday ski day with most areas that are all snow receiving 3"-4" in that time frame.. Don't be surprised to see some dry slotting short N-NY and N-VT during Tuesday.. N-NH and ME will be the focus of the front end snow, and it will continue for a while after close, but some mixing is possible during the warm sector.

    Wednesday will bring the back-end with a re-freeze. Accumulations should be light until around open when some enchancement happens with both. This is only a light back-end event with totals likely less than 6". Not all of this seems to be in the NWS forecast yet.

    I've included the latest ECMWF snowfall map despite the fact that I much favor the NAM3K at this range. I believe it is unlikely that there will be such a large area of +6" snowfall due to the dry slotting and potential for mixing in these areas.

    As far as winds go, see yesterday's post for the timing as that is going to be generally the same. Winds however are being modeled even stronger in N-NY, N-Vt, and N-NH, which is why I upped the warnings in N-VT and N-NH. I'll work on Wednesday momentarily.

  6. #16
    TUESDAY STORM UPDATE #7: The Back-end and Wind
    We have some more snow falling tonight with some notable accumulations in N-NH and ME after today's close, but winds will be a widespread issue unfortunately. There may be a brief respite in the morning allowing resorts to rescue people who were stranded on their lifts overnight, but winds will pick up to near full force before noon and they are being modeled a bit stronger than yesterday so I have updated the wind hold map in N-VT and N-NH taking several up a notch. There will be some notable lake effect, but the biggest accumulations will miss tracked resorts with the heaviest amounts, but expect some refreshers all the way out to Greek Peak over the next two days. A nice burst is also modeled to hit N-VT around open, mostly focused on the Spine up to Jay Peak, but my thoughts are that Thursday may be generally the best day to hunt that snow by lift and there may be another streamer overnight to add a couple inches in places as well.

    Attached is the NAM3K simulated radar covering 9 p.m. tonight through 7 a.m. on Friday and also the latest NWS snowfall stitch.

    I do believe NWS Burlington is underplaying the snow potential in N-VT and also N-NY outside of the hot spot shown on Jay Peak. I would expect Whiteface, Titus, Smuggs, Stowe, Bolton Valley all to get maybe another 3" or more over the next two days, but these events can be hit or miss. Also note that forecasts for lake effect snow are almost always more isolated than shown, but there is clearly potential of persistent bands where the higher totals are likely to confirm. I would expect some accumulations at tracked resorts in W-NY, C-NY, and at Snow Ridge and McCauley.

  7. #17
    TUESDAY STORM POSTMORTEM
    The first image is the NWS Snowfall Analysis which is built from ground measurements and radar estimates, and then interpolated. As always, this will not show the higher amounts measured at many resorts. The second image is the last NWS stitch of various regional offices' snowfall forecasts. Note that some of the lake effect is still left to come as well as maybe 1" in some isolated places in N-NY and N-VT. This was of course an over-performer in S-VT, NH, and ME, but dry slotting and the back-end not delivering caused it to underperform in N-NY and N-VT. Temperature profiles were not as warm as expected which allowed it to snow more further south. Most tracked resorts added to their base in this storm.

    Wind holds on Tuesday seem to have verified quite well the percentages given. On Wednesday there was a slight over-warn on the high end, and a slight under-warn on the lower end. Pico, Cannon, and Loon all seem to have maintained over 75% of their terrain for the majority of the ski day. I do not like over-warning on the high end. Wind direction had a lot to do with this, but there is a possibility that wind holds were not reported on the websites of some of those three (not every resort updates lift statuses, especially in the afternoon).

    As far as conditions go, they are largely very good to great and glades and natural terrain is open all over the Northeast. We could still use a nice coastal storm to light some areas further south, but NY and New England is probably 95% open currently.

  8. #18
    WED-THU STORM UPDATE #2: Big Storm, Mixed Results
    We have pretty good model agreement among the ECMWF and GFS for the storm right now, but that doesn't mean that things won't change. The track of the main storm could be largely influenced by the track of the weak meandering upper level low that is going to phase with the trough dipping through the Great Plains and form a giant storm. Right now this looks more like a cutter that moves up into Ontario, but cold air may keep precipitation all frozen in N-NY and Northern New England, though transitional. There are also signs of possibly a good back-end event lasting all the way into Saturday.

    I'm attaching the ECMWF 6-hour precipitation intensity loop covering Monday through Friday. Also included are the ECMWF ensemble snowfall amounts seen through Friday from half of the ensemble members.

    Let's start off with the early part of the storm which is a warm front fueled by moisture a decaying low. Tuesday in the PM some light rain may fall in W-NY and C-NY primarily, with some spotty rain and mist in S-NY and Southern New England. North it presently looks like a fine day with a widespread melt into spring conditions after a firm early morning.

    Overnight into Wednesday morning there should be some snow as the warm front advances over the area. Surfaces should be mostly unfrozen during Tuesday and then freeze up overnight with this snow, and then quickly melt again on Wednesday except for N-NH and N-ME. There likely won't be enough snow to make things sticky, but where there is good coverage this might add to the fun. Don't expect much more than 3" out of this phase with most of it groomed in on managed terrain. There is a possibility of some light rain or drizzle on Wednesday also, but primarily in the southernmost areas. We have to keep watch on Wednesday though as timing of the advance of the main storm may change.

    Wednesday night into Thursday is the main event, and models show a mixed bag currently in most of the area, with maybe N-NY, N-NH, and N-ME staying all snow currently, however there is no reason to count on this happening as some small changes could make a world of difference. If the storm track shifts a bit east, a secondary spinning up in the Gulf of Maine would help reinforce both the cold air in Northern New England as well as enhance the snow. If the storm tracks more west or otherwise doesn't spin up a weak secondary, then the cold air will be more likely to fail and more mixing will occur. This is a pretty big upper level low though, and there's almost no chance of it becoming a true coastal storm. The huge upper level low however may stay close by in Quebec for a couple of days and deliver some notable back-end snow in time for the weekend. So despite the potential for a mixed bag of precip, many resorts may well net some base in frozen form and some may get topped off nicely.

    While wind forecasting isn't great at this range, there appears to be two phases of concern. The first currently appears to be overnight Wednesday into Thursday and may miss operating hours. The second appears to be on Friday with West wind which may funnel down the Mohawk Valley into S-VT in typical fashion. I will keep an eye on winds, but don't expect any wind hold forecasts until <2 days out.

    If you are looking for the best bets for a huge dump, go north of the St. Lawrence River in Quebec. Tremblant, Saint-Saviour, Mont Sainte-Anne, and Le Massif are all looking lit. In the Northeast all of the northernmost areas are the best bets currently.

  9. #19
    WED-THU STORM UPDATE #3: On the Edge of Greatness (for most)
    There are no real changes to what Tue and Wed look like in the most recent model runs. I favor the slower progression of the ECMWF and my comments in Update #2 on these days still apply.

    Wednesday night into Thursday is the main event and critical to our success seems to be whether the storm spins up a secondary on the coast and how strong that secondary becomes. That secondary will not just enhance the precip nearer the coast and further to the east, it will also help prevent the warm air advection from changing over the precip to rain and other forms of mixed precip. We want that secondary strong and early. Trends have been mildly improving in this regard. Upper level vorticity shows the trends even better with a negatively tilting trough with a ton of uplift helping to spin up a low near NYC, but as yet that low is still modeled to be somewhat weak. If that secondary becomes stronger, expect heavier snow and snow even further south in New England.

    On the front end of the storm N-NH and ME seem like the sweet spot for snow at this point, and also N-NY. N-VT however probably misses the best of this and may even be in a warm slot, but S-VT may do well with some mixing. There is still a good back-end event signaled however that could douse areas of N-VT with snow from Friday through Saturday with both instability from the decaying upper level low and lake effect streamers set up in a persistent direction which seem aimed not just on the Tug Hill, but could help enhance snow all the way to N-VT. This might be a pretty good back-end event with well over 6" in the highest areas.

    I've attached the ECMWF 6-hour precipitation intensity loop covering Tuesday through Friday, and also the ECMWF ensemble snowfall for 25 of its 50 members showing potential variability. To me this primarily shows the various effects of whether or not that coastal low spins up early and strong, or if it fizzles. Note that the ECMWF does a poor job of showing back-end snow potential, so most of that would be additive to these snowfall maps.

  10. #20
    WED-THU STORM UPDATE #5: Just Wednesday
    Note that I will shortly update on Thursday, and this will be somewhat brief. Attached is the NAM3K simulated radar from midnight through 4 p.m.

    During the Wednesday ski day there's going to be a mix of mist/drizzle/light rain in some areas, and also some light snow The light snow will primarily fall in the ADK's, Green Mountains, and White Mountains, while the light unfrozen precip will mainly affect the Tug Hill, C-NY, S-NY, MA, and S-NH. This will all be pretty light and no more than 2" is expected where it is all snow, and the only place where steady light rain for any period seems possible is around the Tug Hill (Snow Ridge and McCauley). Note that the NAM3K overehances precipitation and the spotty green areas should be drizzle at most if not mist or even virga.

    VT is where the snow may be steadiest, but south of Killington the chances increase for there being unfrozen at the bases while snowing on the tops. Elevation matters. In far S-VT it could also be mist or drizzle all the way to the top, but this is very borderline. The precip should hang around VT all day.

    In NH and ME things will be more sparse and not really accumulate, so the only notable thing might be some mist or possibly drizzle causing goggle issues, but any snow won't amount to much.

    The main storm starts to enter W-NY right around close.

    WED-THU STORM UPDATE #6: Just Thursday
    We saw a storm just like this less than a month ago, and it actually overperformed the NWS forecasts, but this time the NWS seems more on the side of the glass being half full and I'm hoping for a repeat. You need to be aware however that in S-VT and around Gore, there is certainly bust potential. Why? Because it's going to be above freezing when the snow falls over a large area, especially in VT.

    What will likely cause this to end up being snow is a combination of dynamic cooling and uplift. Dynamic cooling happens when frozen precip falls through a warm layer and cools it. The heavier the precip, the faster it cools. As far as the uplift goes, when you force air up a mountain it not only wrings out moisture, it also cools. This big storm sitting over Ontario has a conveyer of moisture feeding into it called a Low Level Jet. This will bring with it very high winds and a ton of moisture, and this is primarily going to be in the lowest levels of the atmosphere. This feature will dump snow at very heavy rates for maybe up to 6 hours as it swings through the area. On the windward side of the mountains in Northern New England and N-NY this should result in snow, but in the areas with more marginal temps, right over the ridges as the air descends, it probably flips back to rain. Altitude matters a lot, so unfortunately some of the lower elevations ski areas just won't have the uplift to help create that snow.

    The loop is the ECMWF 1-hour precipitation intensity loop. I typically use the NAM3K at this range, but this model doesn't seem to do well with low level jets in borderline temps, and so the ECMWF is the way to go here. I've attached the latest NWS stitch showing the forecast through 7 p.m. on Friday, but since this also includes some back-end snow in the form of late effect and orographic lift enhanced snow, I am also including the NWS forecast through 7 p.m. on Thursday in a different form as the second image. Lastly I've included the ECMWF snowfall map through 7 p.m. on Thursday also providing a broader view without human interpretation.

    Snowfall: Resorts in Quebec north of the St. Lawrence are going to get crushed. N-NH and ME are still predicted to be the places in the Northeast where the most snow will fall on the front-end, but winds will be more of a ski day issue there and unless you can find some fixed grip's to ride, Friday may be the better day to hunt there. Far S-VT and also far N-VT might be over-forecasted. Shadowing is pretty clear in the models for around Bolton Valley and north to Jay, but don't worry, they will get what appears to be a very night back end event that may last multiple days. Far S-VT is questionable due to some rain possibly mixing in, but more water will fall there and it's certainly possible we could see totals of 10" there. Gore is a bit borderline and might mix a little also.

    Snow and Wind Timing: Moderate snowfall should start exiting N-NY around 9 a.m., S-VT around 10 a.m., N-VT around 11 a.m., N-NH around 12 p.m., and ME around 1 p.m. These are also the times when the biggest wind threat will pass on the front end, but take note that wind will then switch to the W to WSW and hammer all of NY and S-VT. I will make a wind hold map shortly.

    Plan to Ride Fixed Grip Lifts Thursday: Your safest bet is going to be finding fixed grip lifts because many detachables may be down for parts of the ski day. Know your resorts and expect holds, even on some fixed grip lifts.

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