So when you write about the weather you get a lot of questions from everybody who knows you. Pretty much on a daily basis I get somebody asking me “what’s it going to be like in ___insert random town___ when I go there in ___insert date three months away___.” While it’s cool that people think I know what I’m talking about, and I tend to think to myself “dude..I don’t even have a handle on what it’s doing two days from now.” So I just say it is going to rain. Aside from watching them get all butt-hurt, I figure if I set them up for the worst (I don’t care where you are going, unless you are Ben, rain pretty much sucks) and it is better then they at least come away happy. Why am I telling you this? No it’s not because I want you to stop asking me what it’s going to be like it Hucklebush, Montana during your Elk drive/Ski tour/green-off the grid adventure (it will rain). Rather its because if there was ever a time when the near term was more garbled, I can’t remember it.

So lets start with what we know.

1. A large trough will be diving southeast out of the plains on Thursday. The surface front will be pushing out east of a large 500mb trough that digs deep into the Ohio River Valley by Friday AM.

2. At the same time, a piece of southern stream energy will be moving out of the Texas gulf coast and towards GA/FL at the same time.

3. Temps behind the surface front will be the coldest we’ve felt all year. 850mb temps will reach -10 c in places once the front clears and cold air advection has some time to work Friday and Saturday.

4. For this to wrap up right we’d like the northern stream and the southern stream to hook up somewhere off the carolina’s and not further out to sea of the VA coast and we’d like to see the upper level trough take on a negative tilt westward at about the same time.

So with what we know…lets take a look at what’s floating around as solutions:

The GFS:

I was all set to have a coherent discussion of the GFS solution through the 00z model today.   But I said…ehh lets wait for the 12z solution and so I went and wrote a brief.  Now I come back and pretty much have to throw my previous discussion in the trash.  Thanks GFS- when does the new version go live again? 

Anyway, the GFS most current solution is a typical storm track in these nina shoulder seasons.  The GFS drives the trough into the southern stream energy with weak cyclogenesis taking place between the two system late thursday.  The GFS drives the trough negative shortly thereafter, wrapping the surface low back towards the NW in pursuit of upper level divergence downstream of the surface trough.  By friday the mean surface low position according to this solution would be around Albany NY.   Off to the east, the southern stream and it’s warm moist air conveyor belt would be divorced from the best dynamics of the low center.  However, it would still deliver a crushing blow of rain to much of S/E Mass, Rhode Island and Southern NH.

Further North temps in VT and NH would support rain but with tracks as predicted you tend not to get intense rainfalls and it does appar the development of a sharp dryslot could affect the total rainfall. 

The only area that gets a seemingly decent snowfall from this track would be Western NY state  as temps there look to remain marginally supportive of snow.   So really all in all the entire GFS solution amounts to a bunch of smoke and prob. not very much fire for the mountains. 

Even in death the system doesn’t stay vertically stacked and stable enough, nor does it really spin much moist air back into the Greens on Saturday into Sunday.  At least as far as it looks now, RH values of the air mass aren’t great and I wouldn’t hang my hat on an up-slope event.


The NAM model has consistently wanted to not wrap this system up.  It wanted to dig the trough into the Eastern US well after the passage of the southern energy.  Even now it never links the systems up very well nor does it allow for a negative tilt to the 500mb trough.  This severely limits the development of the surface low until it is well into New England.  It does however allow for a rather robust tongue of warm moist air to invade northward into the  southern tier of NY State, Mass,  So. VT and So. NH.  As per this solution these areas would see more rain than the GFS solution. 

On the flip side I see a little more up-slope snow potential with the NAM solution.  If we get the system to stay to the east, as predicted I could see the Northern Greens doing some business in the up-slope department from Saturday into Sunday but its too early to get a clear sense of the set up.

The Euro:

The euro has presented a middle of the road solution rather steadily since about two days ago.  The Euro drives the surface low up ahead of the digging trough on Friday.  It drives rain into the same general regions as the NAM but keeps a sharp contrast to the west with the cold air.  This would be great if these situations with sharp cutoffs didn’t often feature a bunch of sinking air on the west side of the storm that destroys the precip.  So really when you look at the Euro you get a rain storm with only a bubble of snow out past the sinking air in western New York State and a dryslot through ski-ville.


There isn’t a clear picture right now.  Gun to head I say much ado about nothing. I don’t think this is a huge rain maker and I don’t think this is a huge snowmaker either. It’s messy and the solutions really just are spread all over the board. It’s not a cutter, it’s not  a clipper, it’s not a pure coastal its really just “weather” right now.  I’ll keep watching but just know that right now, anybody who says they know what is going to happen is bs’ing you.  Forecast confidence cannot be high.


It’s 3:30 and all day it’s been a close call between snow and rain all along the green spine and High Peaks.  Right now it looks like some dynamic cooling of the atmosphere is taking place.  I’m not going to get excited right now but maybe all the models misread this system.  Looking the high res meso analysis sure confirms that it’s possible given dynamic cooling that areas above 3000ft could see snow through the afternoon.  Right now by my numbers the Northern Greens might be getting the action with the High Peaks holding well at aroud 1100 meters. 

So stay tuned. It’s tricky. It’s close. Nobody had a clue. Whatever…I’m on top of it.


  1. colin_extreme
    wrote on November 3rd, 2010 at 5:22 pm  

    thanks for the update LH.. i know i’m not the only eager beaver confused by the models changing every 12 hours

  2. Santler
    wrote on November 3rd, 2010 at 6:55 pm  

    An honest, educated forecast, thanks as always. My personal call….chase the surf on the coast in New Hampshire or Maine on Saturday and stay optimistic for something white on the Hill on Sunday. Enjoy.

  3. powhounddd
    wrote on November 3rd, 2010 at 7:03 pm  

    doubleplusgood. Get the gear pile ready and wait, doing fall-stuff around the house in the meantime/as a backup plan. Thanks for the candor LH!

  4. colin_extreme
    wrote on November 4th, 2010 at 1:14 pm  

    man, this look good… but has the GFS gone bonkers on this storm?

  5. billski
    wrote on November 4th, 2010 at 1:43 pm  

    So take your generic question, and respond with an equally generic forecast:

    “According to all possible weather indicators there will be a period of darkness followed by a long period of light before we return to darkness. During the period of light there is a chance of clouds, rain or sunshine. The chances of monsoon, tornado or tsunami are negligible.”

  6. Anonymous
    wrote on November 4th, 2010 at 4:55 pm  

    snowing at sugarloaf and sunday river right now :-)

  7. icelanticskier
    wrote on November 4th, 2010 at 5:34 pm  

    snowing on george since 10am and coming down haaaahhhhd!

  8. bushman
    wrote on November 4th, 2010 at 7:27 pm  

    CAM at Bear Mtn Killington showed mixed snow/rain at 5;20, changing slowly over to snow; maybe 1″ at the base, but had to be mostly snow higher up, probably wet cement stuff though; jay pk says could snow sat and sun. it was on 11/5 yrs ago we hiked stateside and skied pow on mmade base with all those frenchies hootin an hollerin, jumping and flyin, then hiking back up. made u forget how high it was to hike.

  9. icelanticskier
    wrote on November 5th, 2010 at 7:59 am  

    and it’s gone. oh well it’s early.

  10. Chickenmeatball
    wrote on November 5th, 2010 at 9:39 am  

    Hey, is it snowing up high? or raining? anyone have an inkling? Jonesing to hike and shred

    • Greg
      wrote on November 5th, 2010 at 11:13 am  

      the only unknown is high in the ADK. Rain to the summits today in VT and NH

  11. powhounddd
    wrote on November 5th, 2010 at 8:13 pm  

    …somebody go hike whiteface and bring back some beta. ;)

    • Harvey44
      wrote on November 6th, 2010 at 8:18 pm  

      According to Bridget Widget’s tweets from last night Whiteface got 8″ at the summit. Certainly looks like Excelsior might be worth poaching. Pic is from this morning.

  12. jj
    wrote on November 6th, 2010 at 4:43 pm  

    skied perry merril an hour ago. kinda refrozen edgable stuff. Skied most of the way tot he bottom. Killington yesterday was better

  13. Anonymous
    wrote on November 6th, 2010 at 8:53 pm  

    Has anybody skied the greens today? Any Idea of conditions?

    • Anonymous
      wrote on November 7th, 2010 at 7:25 am  

      Sugarbush was kinda punchy but very fun. Not a death crust. Last storm was a net gain of between +3 and +6″ high

      don’t go if you don’t want interesting conditions though. no blower to be found right now…

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