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The Skiing Weatherman Conditions Report: Jan. 9-Jan. 12

Thursday, January 09, 2014


Herb Stevens: GoLocalProv's Skiing Weatherman

After a weekend of soft-packed powder conditions, skiers and riders all across the Northeast woke up Monday to southerly winds, mild temperatures, and rain. Not that there is ever a time when that stuff is good for winter sports folks, but it is a Monday and not a Friday, so the impact on sliding plans will be minimized.

Thankfully, the quick warm-up will be just that…quick. Colder air is already on the doorstep, and by tonight, the cold front leading to a dramatic drop in temperatures will have moved offshore. Some light snow will fall in the mountains as the cold air catches up to the back end of the departing slug of moisture, but it won’t be enough to cover the sins of today’s wet, mild weather.

By Tuesday morning, another shot from the Arctic will be in place all across the eastern half of the country. That is going to lead to another challenge for groomers and snowmakers in the mountains, because those soft surface conditions that we enjoyed the past few days are going to firm up considerably.

Once again, the Pisten Bullies will be crawling all over the slopes, grinding the hard top layer into a much more “playable” granular consistency. The arsenal of tower-mounted snow guns will be firing starting tonight, adding a layer of “top dressing” snow to help the transformation back to softer surfaces. As recently as 15 or 20 years ago, a thaw/freeze event like the one we are witnessing this week would have taken many, many days to recover from, but the advances in grooming and snowmaking now make it possible to transform “linoleum” into sugar and powder much more quickly.

Watch out for the Skiing Weatherman's Video Report on Thursday afternoon!

Map courtesy of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

I guess if we have one thing to be grateful for, it is that the core of the cold air will not drive directly into the Northeast…the Midwest will be the recipients of the coldest of the cold, thanks to a piece of the polar vortex breaking off and descending into the country through the western Great Lakes. The temperatures at roughly 5,000 feet give forecasters their best indication of what surface temperatures will be like and if we look at what those temperatures will look like this evening, you can see that the Northeast will not be getting the worst of the cold...

You may notice that the winds barbs on this map suggest that the coldest air will be heading into the region, and it will, but it will modify as it spreads east, sparing us a day when the temperature on the slopes will not get above zero during the daylight hours…that will be the case today in spots like Chicago, Indianapolis, and Dayton.

The cold will dominate through much of this week, and the snowmakers in the mountains will be able to churn out tons and tons of new snow—if you are skiing and riding, don’t forget your goggles! At the lower elevation areas of southern New England, it will turn mild enough to limit their efforts to the overnight hours by the end of the week. But make no mistake about it, conditions will be improving steadily once the cold air is back in place by early Tuesday. The irony is that after a spell of extensive snowmaking, a shot of rain actually helps many resorts as it helps to recharge the water source for subsequent snowmaking. By Friday, a weak disturbance will spin across the Northeast and produce a little light snow, with a mix of precipitation types close to the coast. It does not look like a big event, however.

As I suggested in my video report last week, a warm-up is lurking mid-month. That is not the climatologically favored time for the January thaw, so perhaps we shouldn’t call it that. But names aside, it looks like the jet stream will turn more westerly from later this weekend through much of next week. That will change the prime source region for our air masses from northwestern Canada and Siberia to the northeast Pacific Ocean, and that maritime air will flood across the country and lead to a widespread warm-up during the week of the 13th. It does not look like it will last very long, though, and the jet stream should once again turn more northwesterly over New York and New England by the weekend of the 18th/19th or so, and that will restore a colder than normal regime to the region and allow snowmakers to get back to work. It will also enhance the chances for natural snow.

Speaking of natural snow…next week’s warm-up does not look like an overly dramatic one to me at this point, and it is not out of the question that small scale disturbances could traverse the U.S./Canadian border at times next week, which could produce some light to moderate snow in the far northern resorts of Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, as well as in Quebec, and that would certainly limit the impact of any attempted thaw.

So, we have been riding a wild ride with respect to temperatures in the mountains much of this season, and that will continue for the next ten days or so. Keep the faith, though, because the mountain crews at the resorts will be working their magic 24/7 to provide you with surfaces you will be happy with...and I think you will be very happy with the conditions you will find by mid and late week, despite temperature drops over a 24-hour period of 50 degrees or more! Ahhh…winter in New England...


Related Slideshow: 13 Biggest Sports Stories in RI in 2013

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The agreement between the Big East and the Catholic 7 -- Providence, DePaul, Georgetown, Marquette, Seton Hall, St. John's and Villanova -- allowed those schools to keep the Big East name and the right to play their basketball post-season tournament at Madison Square Garden in New York. They also added three new teams -- Butler, Xavier, and Creighton -- making for a 10-team league.

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Tebow's tenure in New England didn't last very long, as the former Florida Gator failed to make the Patriots' final cut.

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#11 PC Friar Arrested

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#10 The Brothers Murphy

Erik, Alex, and Tomas Murphy; three Rhode Island brothers, made big basketball news in 2013.

First, Erik, the eldest brother, was drafted by the Chicago Bulls with the 49th pick of the 2013 NBA Draft out of Florida.

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#8 Bryant Hires Skinner

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#7 Jay Elliot Arrest

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#6 Ricky Ledo

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Ledo was selected by the Milwaukee Bucks, traded to Philadelphia, then to the Dallas Mavericks. 

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#5 Bryant Bulldogs

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Read GoLocal's list of the Ten Greatest Days in New England Sports history here .

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This year, Cooley brought in three Top-100 recruits; Jalen Lindsey, a 6’7 small forward from Franklin, TN; Ben Bentil, a 6'8" forward from Delaware; and the 7'1" center Pashcal Chukwu, widely considered to be among best defensive big men in the nation.  

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#2 Aaron Hernandez

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In 2013, those issues came to the forefront in a large way when their star tight end was arrested and charged with the murder of Odin Lloyd in June. Hernandez is currently awaiting trial from the Bristol County House of Corrections.

If it wasn't bad enough for Hernandez, things got worse.  Later in June, authorities began to investigate Hernandez' involvement in a 2012 double homicide in South Boston.

The GoLocal Sports Team will surely provide further news on these cases in 2014. 

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#1 Marathon Bombing

The biggest sports story in New England of 2013 transcended athletics, touching the lives of our local communities and much of the world.

On Monday, April 15 -- Patriots Day in the Bay State -- an otherwise normal celebratory day in Boston turned tragic just before 3:00 PM.  Just feet away from the finish line for the Boston Marathon, two explosions from homemade bombs went off, killing three spectators, and injuring more than two hundred.

The tragedy gripped the entire nation; sparking emotions ranging from fear to outrage. But from the wreckage emerged evidence of New England's resilience. From the impassioned speech at Fenway by David Ortiz, and Rene Rancourt's touching rendition of the National Anthem at the TD Garden, to the outpouring of support through the One Fund Boston, and the individual heroes like Carlos Arredondo and Joe Andruzzi (along with many, many others); New Englanders and Americans responded in an enormous way. 

Read more of GoLocal's Coverage of the bombings here.


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