Trick or Treat!
Yes it is now a new year (the rain year starts October 1st) and Snow Curmudgeon has his own blog, only about 5 years behind the times, I should have just skipped the blog and gone straight to podcasting. That's probably not even that new either huh?
First off, I have been working on this for awhile now, and have painstakenly recreated as much of the history of Snow Curmudgeon Reports as possible. Feel free to peruse the archives, and relive those wonderful memories. Oh wait, last year's snow season sucked, maybe we shouldn't go there. Instead let us look onward, to the future....
Well it is now November, which means the official start of the ski season, but much like christmas, it starts earlier every year, but just like Santa, it doesn't mean the snow actually comes any earlier (I just got back from Freddy's and the Christmas crap is already up, ugggg). Yet the signs of the season are among us, the new Warren Miller just played intown, I have officially bought my pass (only 3 days left to get your discount) and if you happened to look at the Meadows cam you would ahve seen something we haven't seen there in a loooooong time, SNOW!!! Yes that's right my friends, Meadows got snow this weekend, they were even reporting a 4" base this morning, but looking at the Cam it was clear that you could only get 4" if you scraped all the snow into a pile. But fear not, the snow level is coming back down, let's just hope it is here to stay.
The other exciting news is the realease of my official secret Winter forcast. I swindled access to these forcasts through top secret means (it may not be legal to post them on the web, but hey I am the Snow Curmudgeon, I must post for my fans). It looks promising, yet I am skeptical, and still jaded from last year. I even shaved the beard recently. I can only hope this is accurate. We shall see as the winter progresses. I will continue to post forcasts here as they warrent, and i hope to add some good weather links and such to this page. So check back every now and then, I may get bored and post something, or feel free to heckle me, but remember the rules of the Snow Report, I may not be able to ban you from reading this but I can run you skis or board over in the parking lot!
Looking forward to seeing you on the SLopes!!!
There are a number of items and indicators to look at that might
foretell our coming Fall and Winter Season, but I like my tried and true method
of looking at the Global weather pattern and noting the position of the Western Subtropical ridge of high pressure. This tells me more about the weather pattern ahead than any other item. The weather pattern itself reflects all of the other indicators very well, and could certainly be the result of the other indicators.
This year, I feel that we will see a Fall and Winter mode similar to
that of 2001-2002. We have noted similar trends already due to the dry Winter of 2005, so coming out of the Dry Winter, we had a wet Spring, now I think we are faced with a Wet Fall and Winter 2006. I find very little evidence of back to back dry winters, unless you go back and look at the 1930's. We had several then, but in recent history, it is rare to get totally dry back to back winter seasons. For this reason, and others, I think that we are setting up for a Wet Winter. The main reason is the position of the subtropical high, which seems to be located inland over the Western U.S. and the Rockies while the long wave trough position seems to be setting up over the North & Eastern Pacific. This positioning seems to give us a very mild and wet Fall and winter pattern when compared to past events that had a
similar weather pattern in October.
Thus, I am inclined to go with a very mild and Wet Fall season, a cooler and wet Winter, and a cool and unsettled early Spring. I think that we could dry out quickly in the later Spring which would be okay with some of my Hay growers. In fact, if we have a Wet and snowy Winter, we will all be welcoming a dry late Spring!
The ridge over the West, in the Fall, leads to a very wet and active Fall weather pattern. Over the years, I have seen this play out many times as the colder air pools over the North/NE Pacific, and the warmer air sets up over the West. This keeps the Rockies very dry and mild in the early Fall, but leaves the PacNW in a wet mode, along with BC/Alberta and the Northern Rockies too. The jet seems to take on a SW to NE mode which is a mild one too. We have noted this already in the month of October. The pattern is now about to shift into a more active mode with stronger weather systems/features and blustery weather. There is strong evidence that we are about to see some very active Fall weather as the Western Ridge weakens and flattens a bit, allowing a stronger Jet to drop Farther South. This certainly brings in some
active weather, stronger fronts and colder air aloft. All of this adds up
to a much wetter mode for much of the PacNW and BC, but even Northern California gets into the act too. So too, Northern Rockies. I think this mode will certainly help the regional Hydro issues, and get us back some water that we need, and Mtn snows that we need too!
As we go through December, the active jet will keep rainfall going
nicely along with heavy regional Mountain snows. This mode will keep us
guessing as we see systems moving inland rather quickly at times. The long
wave trough will remain over the North/NE Pacific while the mean ridge
stays over the Rockies, but in a much flatter mode.
As we move into the New Year, we will see the pattern shift East. This opens the door to some colder air moving inland from the Gulf/Pacific which will lower snow levels markedly. This pattern should bring some heavy snows inland as well as snow levels down to around 500' or lower in January and February. I believe that we will see a later onset of low elevation snow events as it will take time for the colder air to shift East. Thus, January and February will be our cool and unsettled
months. I am not sure that I would call them Cold due to the Lack of a strong Northerly component of the winds aloft. I can't rule out that we could see brief bursts of colder air and low elevation snows, but I do not believe that we will be that cold, or too cold. The relative flatness of the global pattern right now leads me to believe that we are not under the gun for any significant low level snows. I am sure that we will have a shot or two, but nothing that lasts for any prolonged length of time. If we are to see the cold and snowy mode, Jan-Feb would be the time
from, and perhaps lingering into March. We have seen that in years past, a
mild and wet Fall & January, then our coldest weather arriving later in
the Winter and early Spring. I could see that happening this year, if it
is going to happen, it would be later rather than sooner!
Coming out of the winter mode, I think that the Spring pattern will
be typical, March and April showers with low late season snows. This could be a good mode for most of us, because it will help build the late season snowpack and bring some late season decent rainfall. Once we get into April or May, I think that the overall pattern will begin to dry out, finally. I am bullish on the Fall and Winter rains, which could certainly stay active most of the next 6 months. I am certainly leaning toward above normal amounts on a monthly basis for the period. I am sure that we could see some below normal periods, perhaps February, but even so, it
will be wet. Of course, the heavy rains and snows will help many folks and
get us in position to endure what could be a long dry Summer pattern!
Of concern for me in the longer term, is the potential for a ridge developing upstream over the International Dateline. If this were to happen, it would not get going until December or early January, at that time, we usually see 30-45 days before we see the impact of Arctic air reaching us. This can be verified by looking back at 1978-79-80 and again in 1989 and 1990. In each of those Arctic events, the ridge starting to show up a good 30-45 days prior to the arrival of the bitter cold
air. The daily models and means seem to suggest that we could see a ridge develop out there this winter season. If so, then we will have to watch for some colder air in the Jan-March time frame. I can certainly see us getting colder then, but whether that is Arctic will depend on a number of shifts in the pattern aloft. We could see Arctic air reaching BC, but not the PacNW, or we could see it reach the Rockies, but not the PacNW. Or we could see it reach the PacNW and even California. I will not
go off on this right now, but certainly hint that we need to watch the Dateline over the next 60 days, until then, we look mild and wet at times!