Sunday, March 9, 2014
I hope you were able to get out on the slopes over the weekend, because the slopes and trails of the northeast were in their best condition of the season thus far, thanks in large part to the major snowstorm of last Wednesday.
If you weren’t able to make the trip to the hills, I hope you at least skied or rode vicariously by watching coverage of the Olympics. The downhill has always been my favorite event, and this year’s men’s course was amazing - 3,600-plus feet of vertical drop over more than two miles covered in a little more than two minutes.
This week is going to start out crisp and cold across the northeast, as high pressure glides down over the region between now and Wednesday. Monday will be blustery in the mountains, but after that, the winds will abate as the center of high pressure approaches the region, and with the February sun climbing higher in the sky every day, it should be very comfortable on some terrific packed powder the next couple of days.
At the same time, a short wave trough at the jet stream level will be traversing the country from the Pacific Northwest, across the plains and Mississippi Valley and into the Southeast by midweek. The northern and southern branches of the jet stream will then start to phase together and it looks as though low pressure will form in the northern Gulf of Mexico and head across the southeast and head up the coast.
This storm will not be one that cuts up west of the mountains and sweeps warm air into the region, it will be a coastal storm, so we don’t have to worry about rain/sleet/freezing rain on the slopes and the potential is there for a significant snowfall in the resorts of the Northeast on Thursday into Friday. Coastal regions could see a changeover to rain, but this has the makings of a nice snowfall producer in the hills and mountains just in time for the President’s Day vacation period that will get underway this weekend.
It is not etched in stone that this storm will take the best track for northeast snow, but it looks quite promising. If the threat fizzles, it will likely be caused by a track that is too far offshore. Even if the storm does not deliver the goods, it appears as though a system will come rolling along in the northern branch of the jet stream over the weekend and it should be able to produce a light to moderate snowfall to most of the region’s resorts. Temperatures will remain cold enough to sustain packed powder for the foreseeable future.
Longer term, the jet stream will gradually become more zonal in nature during the week of the 17th. A zonal flow is one that flows from west to east across the continent. That sort of configuration will allow Pacific air to spread across the country, which will lead to a bit of a warm-up during the second half of next week. It does not look like a major thaw, but a spell of five or six days when temperatures will be above normal.
The slopes are currently in outstanding shape, trail counts and the sun angle are up, and another sizable storm appears to be in the cards this week. Sounds like a good time to carve out some time for a trip to the slopes.
Here are a few special events that might be of interest: Sugarloaf has the Kagan Cup from Feb. 14-16 with moguls, half pipe and slopestyle competition. On Feb. 15 the Maine Heritage Ski Classic takes place.Tweet
As The Skiing Weatherman, Herb Stevens has been the go-to guy for snow conditions for skiers and riders for more than 25 years, first on televisions stations up and down the East Coast, and now on newspaper-related web sites. A lifetime New England skier, Herb travelled the world as a caddy on the PGA Tour for five years before launching his career as a meteorologist. After one year at WJAR-TV in Providence, R.I., he became one of the original on-camera meteorologists at The Weather Channel, and later was chief meteorologist at WNYT-TV in Albany, N.Y. While at WNYT, Herb pioneered a weekly on-snow ski report, which later became his full-time job as The Skiing Weatherman.