DISCUSSION: As the Northeast continued to clean up from from the latest nor'easter, there was no debate that a decent percentage of people living across much of New England (and interior sections of the Northeastern United States (U.S.)) are probably getting a little worn out from all of the recent snowfall. This is a result of the fact that there have now been 3 nor'easters impacting the Northeastern U.S. over the span of just 11 days. What makes things even more impressive is that even as we head deeper into mid-March, there still remains a slight possibility for the development of 4th nor'easter during the early part of next week due to a fairly locked up storm track. This locked up storm track is predominantly due to the presence of what is most commonly referred to as a persistent Greenland blocking high. Blocking high-pressure systems most often have a larger-scale impact observed as a slowing down the forward progression of weather systems (including but certainly not limited to) extra-tropical low-pressure systems.
Hence, in the case of 2 of these most recent 3 nor'easters, the rate of their forward progression was slowed somewhat by the blocking high-pressure system positioned over much of Greenland during this period of time. It is worth noting that these blocking high-pressure systems which often are given the nickname "Greenland blocks," often are seen in concert with prolific snowstorms since blocking highs will prevent a given storm from advancing at a routine pace. Thus, allowing a given snowstorms to dump more snowfall over a given period of time.
However, the main focus of this story happens to be that even as this nor'easter now makes its way across the Canadian Maritimes and further along towards its final stage of gradual decay, it is still creating problems across the Northeastern U.S. More specifically, in the wake of the return flow on the back-side of this nor'easter, there has been an ideal northwest wind flow. This northwesterly flow coming across the Finger Lakes and Lake Ontario across central and northwestern New York State have helped to facilitate a combination of lake-induced and lake-enhanced snowfall. In fact, during the day on Wednesday this lake-enhanced snowfall got so intense that moisture downwind of these regions helped to produce very light additional accumulations across western New England and a little less across portions of Central New York and the Southern Tier region of New York. Therefore, this goes to show that even many hours after the worst impacts from a nor'easter have passed, its impacts can still be felt long after the heaviest snowfall and strongest winds subside.
To learn more about other high-impact weather events occurring across North America, be sure to click on the following link: https://www.globalweatherclimatecenter.com/north-america!
© 2018 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz
DISCUSSION: A recent GWCC article described the impacts of a snow drought in the mountains of the western U.S. and also mentioned that snowfall in the southern Rockies is often contributed by a few large storms as opposed to more frequent smaller snowfalls. One such storm recently occurred dumping several feet of snow in some places in the Sierra Nevada. This was great news for ski resorts, but it comes at a cost - a higher risk of avalanches. In particular, the snowfall associated with this storm fell in layers of drier, colder and warmer, wetter snow. These layers don't always freeze to one another so well and provide surfaces along which snow can easily slide. In fact, avalanches occurred at two California ski resorts (Squaw Valley and Mammoth Mountain Ski Resorts [a sign from the latter pictured above]). Fortunately, there were no reports of missing people or fatalities from these avalanches.
For those who enjoy skiing and other similar types of recreational activities, there is always a potential avalanche risk. So, to avoid being killed by one, it is important to take certain precautions (e.g., not skiing in particularly dangerous weather conditions, always skiing with a friend, having a GPS beacon so that you can be located in case you are buried, etc.).
To learn more about other high-impact weather stories from across North America, be sure to click here!
© 2018 Meteorologist Dr. Ken Leppert II
DISCUSSION: When it comes to the world of skiing, there is no debate that a snow drought is the absolute worst possible nightmare which can come to life. However, as we began and got deeper into the 2017-2018 Winter season, this issue became an increasingly more widespread issue across parts of Western and Northwestern United States. As many areas across the Western and Central United States experienced notably above-normal temperatures and below-normal precipitation, this led to an unfavorable combination for ski- and snow-lovers alike. Moreover, when there is a snow drought of any magnitude across the Western and Central United States, this also creates concerns regarding both the near-term and long-term status of water resources across these regions. This is due to the fact that a solid portion (i.e., at least 20 to 30%) of fresh water comes from such resources and if a shortage of snowfall coverage persists for the duration of the 2017-2018 Winter season, this could create much larger issues as North America shifts into the Spring-time months. That being a result of the fact Spring-time is when snow-pack melts and gets deposited into regional reservoirs.
Hence, a lack of snowfall across the Western and Central United States represents a much larger problem that simply the happiness or disappointment of skiers, snow-boarders, and kids looking to get off from school after heavy snowfall events. Attached below is an exact excerpt from the article produced by the team at the NASA Earth Observatory which explains how this situation may be able to turn around before Winter comes to an end:
"Experts say there is still time for improvement. Snowpack in the Southern Rockies tends to come from a few big storms, in contrast to more frequent snowfalls to the north. Experts will know more in springtime, when NASA’s Airborne Snow Observatory (ASO) resumes annual flights that use lidar to measure the snow. Data from ASO—characterizing everything from snow depth, snow water equivalent, and albedo are an important guidance tool for water managers. The ASO team plans to survey California in March, and then head east for a survey over Colorado."
To learn more about this particular story from the NASA Earth Observatory and re-shared by the Climate Central team, click on the following link: https://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=91757&src=eoa-iotd&utm_content=buffer85c4d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer!
To learn more about other high-impact weather stories from across North America, be sure to click on the following link: https://www.globalweatherclimatecenter.com/north-america!
© 2018 Meteorologist Jordan Rabinowitz