Game Over For Winter? Update 2/22/14

The long anticipated and dreaded thaw has come to pass. Rainfall amounts are generally an inch-plus on Friday. The deep snow cover has absorbed much of it, although the low-lying swampy areas and lakes are quite slushy. Remnant snow pack is generally 1-2 feet in the woods. Open areas around town hold less snow, but there are no meaningful gaps in snow cover.

Some people are wonder is winter is over. To the contrary, I think this thaw was just a speed bump in the overall scheme.

Exhibit One:

That huge blob of warm water over the northeast Pacific Ocean is large, in charge and going nowhere:

Sea surface temperature

If you have followed my weather posts all winter, you’ll be well aware of the connection between the warm northeast Pacific Ocean and cold weather over the eastern United States. Since water takes a long time to warm up or cool down, this feature will probably keep us prone to strong Arctic blasts through the remainder of winter into early spring.

Interesting side note, there is no evidence of a developing El Niño.

Exhibit 2:

ECMWF ensemble control run from last night is showing a strong shortwave plowing through the lower Great Lakes that could spawn a decent snow event on Wednesday. By then, most of the swampy areas will have drained and whatever standing water/slush on the lakes should be well frozen again.

Wednesday Storm

Exhibit 3:

GEM mean ensembles are showing an impressive cross polar flow between the massive PNA+ ridge over western North America and the strong Polar Vortex over eastern Canada. Late February into the first days of March will be very cold for sure. We need Wednesday’s snow opportunity to click for us though, because a Polar Vortex that far east after Wednesday is not in a good position to allow potential storms from the subtropical branch of the jet stream to make a run at us. We’d be left to scrap for nickel-and-dime snows with Canadian clippers and associated lake effect snows.

North America

Bottom line:

There is ample reason for hope, both for next weekend and beyond. Believe it or not, I think the deepest snow cover this winter for the central Adirondacks is ahead of us, instead of behind us. We’ll see what the back 9 of winter gives us. 🙂

Darrin @


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