Image from Killington, Vermont
Report From Powderchasers.com
After a quiet and warm December in the Northeast, a pattern change in the upper atmosphere is upon us. The teleconnection indices have gone through significant changes, with the PNA shifting from negative to positive, and the NAO, AO, and EPO shifting from positive to negative. These indices describe the environment in the upper atmosphere and have moved into favorable positions for coastal storms to affect the Northeast. They do not determine the exact storm track or amount of cold air, but nevertheless the potential for snow is substantially greater than with the December pattern. The next week or so looks particularly active with two events (Tuesday – Wednesday) and Saturday – Sunday) to track. The midweek system overall will deliver a general 3 – 6 inches in NE New York, 5 – 10 inches in Central and Northern VT, 3 – 7 inches in Northern NH, 6-12 in NW Maine, and 8-14 in Northern/Northeastern Maine.
The first system will affect the region from Tuesday evening into Wednesday as a clipper moves through the area that spawns a secondary low that will undergo cyclogenesis. This clipper will result in intense lake effect snow as a cold airmass moves over the warm waters of the great lakes. Not only will this deliver several feet to typical lake effect zones in upstate New York, but these bands will be strong enough to reach Vermont and even Northern New Hampshire and perhaps Maine. Whiteface and Gore could see 3 – 6 inches from the LE snows, while central and Northern Vermont could see similar totals. Northern NH resorts like Cannon and Wildcat should see 1 – 3 inches from the initial Lake Effect snow. Northwestern Maine (Sugarloaf, Saddleback, and Sunday River) may see a couple inches as well.
After this clipper moves through northern New England on Tuesday afternoon, it will spawn a secondary low that will undergo cyclogenesis (intensification) over the anomalously warm waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The exact placement of this secondary low is crucial to how much snow it will deliver to the best resorts in New England. The models aren’t in total agreement yet, but it appears the low will be too far East to deliver big snow totals to the premier resorts. The heaviest snows will remain East of even Sugarloaf, with Northern and Northeastern Maine favored. However the storm will be strong, eventually deepening to 970mb over the Gulf of St. Lawrence. As it begins to intensify it will spread heavy snow across Maine and moderate snow across New Hampshire and Vermont Tuesday evening. Expect another 2 – 4 inches in Central and Northern VT (Sugarbush to Jay Peak) as well as Northern NH (Cannon to Wildcat). Northwestern Maine will be in better position to receive heavy snows from the intensifying low, with Sugarloaf and Saddleback favored. Expect 4 – 8 inches in NW Maine, with Sunday River on the low end of those totals, Saddleback in the middle, and Sugarloaf closer to the high end. Big Squaw in Greenville, ME, and Big Rock in Mars Hill, ME will receive significant snow from the intensifying low. These areas will receive 8 – 14 inches from Tuesday night to Wednesday night. Both resorts have enough terrain to chase, if you know where to look. Finally, Quebec resorts Massif du Sud, Mont Sainte Anne, and Le Massif should also do well. Expect 4 – 8 inches at these resorts with the onset of precipitation about 6 hours slower than in New England. These three resorts offer solid terrain as well. For Wednesday my pick would be Big Squaw if you can get after the Upper mountain, otherwise Sugarloaf or Big Rock.
After this storm clears out eyes turn towards the weekend, where another coastal storm could deliver snows to interior New England. The exact timing and track of this storm are still very uncertain, but as we get closer these details will be ironed out.
FORECASTER: LUKE STONE