One-Two Punch Friday and Saturday: Update 12/19/12

The upcoming storm will be a ONE-TWO combination. You can see the two players here Friday morning. Storm 1 is for Friday. Storm 2 is for Saturday:

Friday:

ECMWF Friday AM

There are 2 notable things about Storm 1:

1. Marginally cold air in place.

2. STRONG southeast flow as shown by the tightly packed black lines.

These are keys to the forecast. A strong southeast wind will enhance precipitation and result in slight cooling east of the Adirondack spine. Conversely, it will hinder precipitation and result in slight warming west of the Adirondack spine. When the temperatures are marginal (borderline between rain and snow), this setup could result in a “private” snowstorm for Indian Lake, Speculator, North Creek and Newcomb while Old Forge, Inlet, Raquette Lake, Tupper Lake and Long Lake get mostly rain. In fact, the 18Z Meso-NAM is showing exactly that by mid-Friday morning:

Meso-NAM Private Snowstorm

In the end, I think the mild southeasterly flow will overwhelm the private snowstorm with a changeover to rain by noon. But there could be several hours of moderate to heavy snow before that happens. Colder air will return from the west late Friday, but the meat of Storm 1 will be leaving by then. Forecasting snow amounts will be tricky because because a degree or two can mean the difference between an inch of slop and 6+ inches of snow, NO LIE!

Saturday:

Storm 2 will wobble its way through the North Country on Saturday:

The air won’t be tremendously cold, so we’re talking more about “lake enhanced” orographic snows as opposed to true “lake effect” snow. This is when Tug Hill and the western Adirondacks will score most of their snow. Winds will increase on Saturday and it will actually feel somewhat like winter. 🙂

Bottom Line:

Remember what I said on Sunday: This is going to be a crap shot! In the end, I think we’ll get a few places to ride by Saturday or Sunday. But expect MARGINAL CONDITIONS if you come up to ride and make sure you verify there is ride-able snow BEFORE you make the trip!

Beyond the Weekend:

There is already hype about a post-Christmas storm and the weather pattern thereafter. More on that later……

Snow Conditions for 12/18/12

The ilsnow storm center picked up a half-inch of “slops” overnight, with a mixture of rain and wet snow continuing into the morning. Judging by the web cams, Indian Lake is the snow capital of the central Adirondacks at the moment. Long Lake, Inlet and Old Forge are showing NO snow cover at 9AM.

Weekend Outlook:

It all comes down to what happens on Friday into Saturday with the upcoming storm. You can’t snowmobile on a forecast, but I think the probability is at least 50/50 or better that you’ll be able to ride somewhere in Tug Hill, western Adirondacks or Moose River Plains at some point over the weekend.

Keep checking the forecast!

Wild Weather Week Straight Ahead! Update 12/16/12

If you learn ONE lesson from this past week, don’t bother with those sexy looking weather apps that tell you Indian Lake is going to get 19.4 inches of snow a week from now. They’re USELESS, U-S-E-L-E-S-S. Then I get blamed for a bad forecast that I had nothing to do with.

The computer models are simply not able to accurately determine snowfall totals much more than 24-48 hours away from a potential snow event. If you look at 5 different computer models, you’ll usually get 5 different ideas for events several days away. If they were completely accurate, you would expect to see all 5 models show the same thing and be correct every time. This is why I almost NEVER issue snowfall accumulation forecasts for events more than 2 days away, no matter how many people ask me. If the forecast is especially difficult, I might wait until 24 hours or less before posting specific snowfall forecasts.

My approach is to determine whether there are legitimate opportunities for snowfall, then fill in the details as the potential events gets closer. Sometimes we cash in on the snow, sometimes we don’t. That’s how it works.

First up: Tuesday!

A decent storm will be moving through on Tuesday. Unfortunately, it will be starting as rain Monday night. As the storm center slides by, colder air will initiate a changeover to snow. This afternoon’s meso-NAM is showing the changeover to snow in the central Adirondacks starting around 10am over the high mountains:

Meso NAM

Tuesday Morning 10AM

Rain changing to snow events make it difficult to pin down snow amounts more than a day away from the event. But there is a POTENTIAL for several inches of snow IF the changeover occurs during heavy precipitation. At this moment, I’m not sure what’s going to happen with this. Check back with me by Monday evening.

Friday and the Weekend!

As the next storm tracks probably tracks into the eastern Great Lakes, the Adirondacks will be on the warm side of the storm Friday morning. But the colder air is right on the doorstep. The approximate rain/snow line is shown by a red dashed line just west of Interstate 81:

ECMWF

Friday Morning

By Saturday morning, ECMWF depicts a large swirling storm centered over New England. This would be a MAJOR lake effect and orographical snow bonanza for the northern and western Adirondacks:

ECMWF

Saturday Morning

As the storm gets trapped under the east Canadian block, the party would continue into Sunday:

ECMWF

Sunday Morning

If you’re scoping possible riding spots next weekend, definitely target Tug Hill and the western Adirondacks. For the Indian Lake area, this storm could put Moose River Plains in play. It’s a crap shoot for sure. Let’s hope it doesn’t come up “snake eyes!”