October Nor’Easter: FKNA! (UPDATE!!!)

By:  Lionel Hutz
October 14, 2010 5:27 pm | Category: Weather

I had to start a new post because this is too good to be buried. Seriously. I told you I like the october pattern two weeks ago. Some of you may have listened. Some may have not. I told you we had a storm coming a few days ago. Again some listened and some did not. Well listen now: We have a storm coming and it’s bringing snow, potentially deep, to the Northeast.

Well somebody is going to make turns….and if you have not left yet I’d head to the central green mountains. This storm managed to tuck a real pool of cold air into it’s SW flank (see below) and this resulted in heavy snow through out the day with more moderate snow on the way. Killington peak is the he big winner so far with at least a foot towards the top. WOOT WOOT. At this time the northern greens are getting a warmer maritime layer mixing in about 6-7k. This altering the precip pattern a little bit. However as the sun’s power wanes the and the storm piviots out towards the NE the northern greens should tap into an moist N-NW flow. With the winds underperforming the are falling right in the prime target zone for upslope snowfall. Couple this with high omega values between 9 and 13k and I think overnight – around midnight – a period of rather heavy orographicly enhanced snowfall will result. Total amnts overnight are hard to judge but 3-6 inches more over night is well within reason.

In ADK snow levels have fallen to at least 1900 feet (Lake Placid). Reports have many inches on the ground at lower elevations with clearly more up top. (One spotter indicated feets at the summit of whiteface). Winds may have hammered the toll road but me thinks it will be well worth the trip tomorrow. At the same time as the greens the N-NW moist flow should create some orographic snow. The omega values are lower but the lapse rate is higher. At the same time the atm is overall colder in the ADK so I think what they lack in pure qpf will be made up for in snow ratio. Another 3-5 is easily possible across the higer terrain of the ADK.


Storm 1 (P.S. We are having a naming system contest. Last year we named storms on a whim. This year I want a system. Email your proposed system and possible names….including the name of this storm. Winner gets some stickers, a calender ( or two) and a law school text book of your choosing. SRSLY). Anyway….Storm 1 is WELL underway and it looks like it has ducked a big pocket of cold air under it’s s/w flank. Given the TREMENDOUS amount of moisture streaming in with this system it appears that areas like Killington north to Sugarbush could recieve a very large does of snow. Snow levels are reported to be around 2800 to 3000 feet with expectations that they will lower over time. This means that snow should pile up there rather rapidly through out the day and into the night.

This doesn’t mean that the more northern Greens get shut out. I still expect the totals to hold up as the air is cooling. Recent observations place the top of manny at roughly 32 degrees F. So it’s close there. Cooling through out the day will greatly help that region and moisture streaming in after 2-3 pm today should fall all as snow above 2500 to 3000ft.

I’m also going to up totals at K-Mart….I’d say we easily looking at 8-12 at Kmart’s top 1/3 with the potential for as much as 12-16 above 3000ft along eastern facing slopes.

Might have to bump other northern greens areas up too…lets see when it starts to change over.

So….lets start simple: A system is moving up the coast now. By tomorrow morning it will begin to deepen rapidly. In about 24 hours a strong baroclinic zone will exist just along the eastern seaboard. Using this as a guide I believe the storm will deepen to a sub 1000mb central pressure very quickly and reach into the mid 990s. This is rather robust for an early fall system and shows the power of this storm. As the storm deepens it will become negatively tilted with height. This plays into and works with a number of dynamics all of which equal a kick ass weather event.

As the core of the system moves into the Conn. Rhode Island region it will tap even more moisture and advect it along an east flow into VT and NH. Coupled with the dynamic forcing this means a large amount of moisture will be present in the Green Mountains. Less will be present in the ADK than the Greens because the moisture advection will be hampered by the cross-flow green mountains. Regardless, a large amount of moisture will be moving in over the north country.

Now kids, this is where this gets fun. When I said I liked the October pattern what I meant was that I felt a number of these unseasonable cool troughs would hook up with one of these still summer air laden storms and give us some snow. And it has. As the system wraps up it will pull into it’s western side some cool air. Now mind you this isn’t “Cold arctic” air. It’s merely cool enough to result in snow. And that’s A.O.K. with me on October 15th. So as the cold air works into the system temperatures should fall below freezing to about 3000ft to start out. While that’s pretty high it certainly isn’t too high to find some turns when this is all said and done. As the system powers along the snow falling and evaporating will cool the atm and moisten it. This will result in lower snow levels and cooler temps where it already snowed. That’s good.
Combined with the cooling effects of parcels of air being lifted up over the greens the snow levels should remain steady through the event and hover betweent 2500 and 3000ft. I think all of this will really begin to take hold in the Greens at around 2-5 tomorrow (Friday) afternoon. We’ll lose the sun’s power and the atm will really begin to cool. From then on it’s going to be game time.

Overnight it really just keeps going. Total qpf progged to fall in the period supportive of snow is roughly .75 to 1.5 inches (with more in micro climates where deep moisture and orographic uplifting could double the total qpf). I’d be even more robust if there were steeper lapse rates. Regardless there is a bunch of lower level upward vertical motion, deep relative humidity, and solid enough temperatures.

Also notable is that as the system pulls out on Saturday winds will remain from the north and the moist atm will rely on orographic lifting to keep sn. showers lingering into the morning hours.

So what does this all add up to…wait…you think I could do all this without an MS paint map? This much text and not one LionelHutz map? PLEASE.

First Call sn. map

So of course I have to tell you what could go wrong…and respect me for that. Aside from the track (always an issue) the easterly flow could be way too much and keep temps above freezing. Don’t see it happening but its possible. Secondly- the rain and above freezing temps before the event could and will eat a lot of snow that falls early on. Amts will be skewed by this loss in snow. A frozen platform could record at least twwice as much as the wet muddy ground will. And that’s really the biggest “bust” factor in play. And I’m going to have to watch it.

Wrapping up, if you want to follow the storm in real time from a computer, use our weather page to find all the weather links a skier/rider needs. But if you’re outside during this event, I’m going to rely on you guys- my readers- to tweet, text, and email our FISWX account. I need your feedback and so do the other readers. Tell me where you are, what’s your elevation and what’s going down. All the wx comptures in the world and we still collect visual observations thousands a times a day from all over the world. Nothing beats your eyes! Email your report to FISWeather@gmail.com or TWEET it @FISWX. We’ll collect them and retweet them to everyone!


, , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. Harvey44
    wrote on October 14th, 2010 at 5:36 pm  

    FKNA is right. You go boy. Tanks for da beta.

  2. Adrian
    wrote on October 14th, 2010 at 5:49 pm  

    Oh baby.

    Dawn patrol on Manny anyone?

    • Greg
      wrote on October 14th, 2010 at 7:22 pm  

      Saturday. Done.

  3. chris
    wrote on October 14th, 2010 at 5:55 pm  

    NICE! Thanks for the update…

    • Greg
      wrote on October 14th, 2010 at 7:26 pm  

      ’bout to email you… but saturday AM is on

  4. madskier
    wrote on October 14th, 2010 at 6:16 pm  
  5. Porter Haney
    wrote on October 14th, 2010 at 6:52 pm  

    Alright, I expect everyone to light up the FISWX twitter account with real time snowfall reports come tomorrow.


  6. Ben
    wrote on October 14th, 2010 at 7:39 pm  


    NWS just got on board with the winter storm watch!

  7. powhounddd
    wrote on October 14th, 2010 at 7:56 pm  

    LH catch me out in the world and I will buy you not one, but two, beers.

  8. Rahul
    wrote on October 14th, 2010 at 8:31 pm  

    What’s your take on the whites? Much less than the greens?

  9. Jonathan S.
    wrote on October 14th, 2010 at 9:30 pm  

    Your map has an even total from K up to $tuex, but NOAA is showing K as only marginally skiable — agree, or does K have hope to match its northern colleagues?

  10. bushman
    wrote on October 14th, 2010 at 10:05 pm  

    hmmmmm. better get the rock skis,poles,boots, helmet,gloves, butt pads, knee pads, bubble wrap,and a few Long Trails. Greg grab duct tape to fix the shed above Smugs. Thx LH

  11. Brian
    wrote on October 14th, 2010 at 10:47 pm  
  12. Bushwacka
    wrote on October 15th, 2010 at 7:53 am  

    awesome. I wont be there but get some guys!

  13. bushman
    wrote on October 15th, 2010 at 8:38 am  

    Not that you need more stoking but fyi Jay Peak’s morning newsletter says possibly 10-15 on higher points. All those Frenchies will be yelling sacra bleu mon dieu! and other stuff that even they don’t understand. With no base it’ll be scratchy–use old gear.

    • MadPatSki
      wrote on October 15th, 2010 at 9:37 am  

      Sacré bleu = Blackjack Shalock in Bugs Bunny

      Tabarnak is more like it. ;)

  14. MadPatSki
    wrote on October 15th, 2010 at 9:34 am  

    Any thoughts on a area on your map that is covered by the blue text ‘above’ (i.e. Charlevoix?).

    Two days Bday party event for SteepMomo + Roger Waters on Sunday…hoping for leftovers on Monday (yeah, I know it sucks, but I’m a good dad first).

    • powhounddd
      wrote on October 15th, 2010 at 10:59 am  

      +1 on the good dad first stuff!!!

  15. Efoxx
    wrote on October 15th, 2010 at 12:42 pm  

    Friggin’ PUMPED! I living in Brooklyn but I’m breaking out the boards and heading DUE NORTH! What’s my best bet for good skiing? Think Killington will have skiable terrain? Anything south of Killington? I don’t mind driving to Stowe but thats 6 hours! Hope to see some of you gnarnians out there.

  16. Sam
    wrote on October 15th, 2010 at 1:58 pm  

    Efoxx – by the sounds of it, K-mart is getting hit pretty hard, so they might be a good bet. In the past they’ve been pretty anal about running hikers off the mt though, so be stealthy.

  17. Efoxx
    wrote on October 15th, 2010 at 2:12 pm  

    Sam – Thanks for the heads up. I spend 10 days a season out at the Bird/Alta with some buddies of mine who are living the dream. All EC skiers who moved out there after college. I mentioned your website and a “buddy?” of yours mentioned he knew you from UVM. Kyle Adelman (snowboards-pretty solid rider too). Anyway I’ll be headed up to Vermont tonight, staying in Dover at a friends place, but waking early tomorrow and headed to either K-mart or Stowe/MRG/The Bush. Hope to see you guys out there.

  18. Jmars
    wrote on October 15th, 2010 at 2:59 pm  

    I can’t be bothered doing work today, this snow is way exciting.

  19. colin_extreme
    wrote on October 15th, 2010 at 3:12 pm  

    looking like some pretty solid coverage at WF !!


    How is Mansfield looking so far?

  20. Could Be Buggy
    wrote on October 16th, 2010 at 12:03 am  

    Hollaaaaaaaaaa! Hutz and I won’t be skiing but you are all in our thoughts. Big ups to WHITEFACE!!!!!!!!

Please consider visiting our sponsors.

Leave a Reply to Sam

(no login required)

Check for email notifications of new comments (valid email required)        

Next (newer) Post:
Random Post Previous (older) Post:
Stay in touch: Click here to follow us on Twitter. Click here to subscribe for updates to be delivered via RSS. Click here to become a fan on Facebook. Click here to read and share real time weather observations. Learn more over at the account. It's awesome. We promise!