It seems like all of the fun has been in the West over the past few weeks with the Northeast enjoying mild temperatures and sun.
There was storm at the end of October that brought an early season snowfall, but that was before most of the resorts were open with the exception of maybe Killington or Sunday River with a snowmaking trail.
Cold air has moved into the Northeast behind a cold front on Sunday night. Meanwhile there is a storm brewing over the Midwest which is the same storm that brought snowfall to the West Coast on Saturday. The current forecast is for the center of the storm to pass over Pennsylvania and then off the coast of New England. As the storm approaches it will draw warm air up ahead of it which will mix what starts as snow in the mountains of New York and Southern most VT with rain. But further North it looks like mostly snow for the resorts of Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine.
Once it hits the water the storm should strengthen and bring down colder air on its backside turning any mixed precip back to all snow. The snowfall should continue into Wednesday night before it clears out in time for Thanksgiving. There is quite a lot of liquid with this storm with over an inch being shown by the weather models in the Central and Southern sections of the 3 states, and up to three quarters of and inch near the Canadian border. That translates to 6-12 inches for the resorts in Vermont like Stowe, and 12-18 inches for the resorts in New Hampshire and Maine.
The past two winters were highlighted by lots of cold and snow for the Northeast. A lot of that was thanks to blocking over Greenland that would help drive cold down from Cananda and hold that cold in place down the East Coast. Since the jetstream follows the boundary between the cold and warm airmasses it would dive into the Southeast, pick up moisture, and then come up the East Coast dropping snow over the ski resorts.
A way to measure that blocking is looking at the NAO (North Atlantic Oscillation). When in its negatie phase the NAO favors blocking near Greenland and cold down into the East Coast. It also gives the best chance of seeing a Nor’Easter form along the Coast that will come up the coast and bring the best chance for significant snowfall.
So far this fall the NAO has been positive so there hasn’t really been any cold outbreaks in the East. The forecast for the NAO through the end of the month however looks a little more promising as several of the models are suggesting it could go negative.
We will have to continue to watch the trend and hope for blocking to develop that can bring lots of cold and snow to the Northeast. Until that happens it will be back and forth between some mild weather and then shots of cold and snow. Overall the Winter forecast for the areas getting the snow tomorrow is for a cold Winter with above average snowfall. That’s what we like to hear! BA