Charlie's Forecasts for Laurel Ridge

Charlie's photo
PACCSA member Charlie Becker does weather forecasting as a hobby and will share some of his predictions with us throughout the winter season. If severe weather is anticipated, please refer to your local weather and/or the National Weather Service for any advisories that may have been issued.

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Sat 8 Nov 2014

Weather Outlook for 2014-2015 for Laurel Ridge

Last season, The Ridge produced about 150”, which was right in line with the average for a neutral ENSO (La Nada).  The polar vortex, which significantly influenced our snowfall totals last year, is expected to return this year.  General conditions are trending toward a repeat of last winter.  As far as when the fun will begin, that is always a shot in the dark.   Alaska is looking at the most significant storm in recorded history, the vortex is about to show its face, and the coming of the winter season appears imminent.  Some experts believe we are in the throes of a decade of harsh winters like those that we experienced in the 1950’s and the past few winters have certainly supported that notion.
So, with the ENSO expected to shift from neutral (La Nada) to positive (El Nino), let us explore what that could mean for The Ridge (from the monikers I think we need salsa and chips at the warming hut, eh Bob!).  When ENSO conditions team up with the PDO (Pacific Decadal Oscillation) the AMO (Atlantic Mutidecadal Oscillation) and the IJO (I’m Just Guessing Oscillation), it’s a sure bet it will snow on The Ridge.  The ENSO/PDO/AMO combo dictates storm track (i.e. where the snow will fall) and conditions presently suggest above average snowfall for the mid-Atlantic/Northeast.  With our stellar winter forecast record at risk (somewhere between 45% and 95% accuracy), let us proceed out onto the limb.
•    When will the first skiable, rock, stick and bear scat covering snow befall our most beloved Ridge?
Well, let’s go with a chance around Thanksgiving and here is why – it is called The Bering Sea Rule.  Not enough time or space to explain but Typhoon Nuri tells us to watch out for a significant combo of arctic air and snow in the Nov. 24-30 period in what would be a repeat of the present storm but with a more southerly track.  Confidence is growing that it will happen.  The impact on The Ridge is another question. 
•    How much snow will befall The Ridge this year?
This one is easy.  We have kept records for the past 16 years so the answer is somewhere between 45” (2001-2002 Season) and 215” (2009-2010 Season).  Seriously, though, 150” to 200” should not be far off.
•    Should I stock up on warm or cold wax?
Huh, are you kidding with this one?  If they come out with a wax called Blue Granite, buy it!
So, there you have it folks.  Look for one of the better seasons of skiing on The Ridge.
See you on The Ridge,