The Weather Worm Is Turning, Especially In The East.

If the optimist in all of us considers November 1 the start of the winter sports season, then the first month of this season was a dud in the eastern half of the country. Cold air masses were infrequent visitors, and natural snow was even harder to find.

A persistent jet stream pattern brought early snow to the West while the East was stuck in mid-autumn weather much of the month. A western trough/eastern ridge couplet was common and kept any early winter weather bottled up over the West, especially in the Northwest, closer to the source of cold air. The ridge kept it unseasonably mild in the Midwest and East, with only passing chunks of cold air that supported brief snowmaking windows.

Well, the weather worm has turned, and it is now the eastern half of the country where an upper trough is promoting cold and snow while the West sits under a strong, quiet, ridge. Now, the air across Canada is milder than normal pretty much from coast to coast, but as it flows into the lower 48, it is just cold enough to lead to snowfall. Much of Ohio as well as western New York and far western Pennsylvania got tagged with a moderate snowfall early this week. Another storm will be on the weather maps this weekend.  Because the axis of the upper trough that supports it will be further east than it was several days ago, the track of the surface storm will also be displaced eastward to the coast where it can tap deep moisture as it tracks toward southeastern New England.

Here is a look at how the jet stream will look early Saturday.

The axis is just east of the Appalachians and a surface storm that forms along the mid-Atlantic coast will be ushered up toward southeastern New England, a nice track for snow for the mountains of the Northeast. Cold air will be limited with this storm so elevation will play a big role in the battle of snow vs. rain.

If all the pieces come together, this storm has the potential to produce moderate to heavy amounts from the Catskills and Adirondacks through the mountains of western and northern New England. In addition, sufficiently cold air will move in behind the storm to allow productive snowmaking in the Upper Midwest and Northeast early next week. Full disclosure: If the northern and southern branches of the jet don’t work together to form the system you see on the map, then the storm will be a dud. But I am an optimist; first turns look plausible next week!!!

Looking further down the road, it looks like the eastern trough will dominate for about two weeks and additional opportunities for snow will develop. After that, the pattern is likely to revert to the western ridge/eastern trough combo, which is more favored in La Nina winters like this one.

Here are the regional details:

Northwest U.S./Western Canada: A storm will try to dent the ridge late this weekend/early next week and lead to high elevation snow from Washington into B.C. Better pattern evolves mid-month.

Sierra: Dry for at least the next week; pattern change mid-month is next good chance at snow.

Rockies: The upper ridge keeps it dry for the next week. This region will also be waiting for the western ridge to break down.

Midwest: Seasonably cold for the next week and likely longer. Decent snowmaking temps most nights. Alberta Clipper systems will bring light snow every few days.

Northeast/QB: Favorable pattern for snow and snowmaking temps for next 12-14 days. Potential for significant mountain snow this weekend. Pattern change to milder


  1. Thomas Rogers says:

    Why is it when you refer to “the east” you only talk about the “NORTHeast” ? Do you not realize that the mid Atlantic area of this wide country does indeed have excellent skiing all the way into North Carolina!

  2. Herbert Stevens says:

    Point taken, Thomas. I have avoided mid Atlantic and SE because it has been so difficult to get things going thus far this season. I have enjoyed visits to most of the resorts from Wisp and Snowshoe down to Sugar and Beech and promise not to neglect them going forward. La Nina is not your friend this season, I am afraid.

    HS, TSW

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