Mother Nature picks up the pace…

Halloween is upon us and it’s now reasonable to think snow. In the past week we have seen some major amounts of snow fall in the West, particularly in the Sierras of California. After a very dry summer, a veritable firehose of moisture pointed at the coastal ranches and let fly. Thankfully, there was just enough cold air around to convert it to bountiful, base-establishing snowfall. Tahoe resorts hit the jackpot with 30-40 inches burying their higher terrain. Further south, Mammoth Mountain will be kicking off its season late this week. In the East, a major storm battered New England but it was too early to expect much in the way of snow…the higher elevations of northern New England did see snow, however, which put some pep in the step of the locals.

The Nor’easter was a classic case of what my grandmother called a “line storm”, which she said drew the line between an extended warm autumn and the start of a more winter-like pattern. That is exactly what is happening to the jet stream pattern now. “Endless Summer” is an iconic surf movie, but not a term that skiers and riders like to hear at this time of year. After weeks and weeks of an upper level ridge sitting over the eastern half of North America, keeping temps above normal, upper level troughs, which support storms and deliver cold air, have become more common. A solid cold shot will move through the Lakes and into the Northeast later next week, potentially producing the first meaningful snowfall of the season. Here is the 10-day forecast for snow from the European model…

It won’t be a massive event, but it will deliver at least a couple of nights of productive snowmaking temps across the higher terrain of NY and northern New England around the 6th/7th.

Here is the western snowfall forecast for the same 10 days…

Much of the snowfall that you see in CO and NM will come from an upper level disturbance that will track east and lead to the eastern event. Clearly, the northern Cascades and the ranges of BC and AB look to be the big winners as we head into November.

Last time, I referred to “analog” forecasts that are a big part of my long range forecasting methodology. I don’t just look at models, but rely heavily on “pattern recognition” and analog forecasting. Pattern recognition simply means that at my age, I have seen a lot of cold fronts come and go. Analogs are developed by looking at historical patterns and phenomena that are similar to what’s in place right now…on a time frame of weeks and months. Like many other things in nature, the weather tends to repeat itself. If you do the detective work and find setups in the past that match up with the present, you can forecast the future quite accurately. One set of analogs have me bullish about the start of the season over the central and eastern U.S. The common factors are a colder than normal May, a busy hurricane season with a significant landfall on the U.S., and widespread warmth in October, all of which occurred this year. Here is the temperature regime of the Decembers of the years that shared those events…

The pattern is changing, and this is where I feel we are headed, temperature-wise, for the next 60 days or so.  Look for the Great Lakes and East to get off to a quick start.  The West will be fine, too, as warm anomalies at elevations can be overcome.  Next time I will start the regional breakdowns…here we go!   

One Comment

  1. Great news Herb! Hope to see you soon.

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