Friday, October 21, 2016

Preview of the Winter Cross Country Ski forecast!

So far it looks pretty freaking awesome!

The last couple of years we have not had enough snow to even bother putting weight in the back of the car for (some people who have driven rear-wheel drive cars in Duluth will know what I am talking about).

The skiing last year was mostly ice skating, with a few days of decent trails, usually the 24 hours immediately after a snow fall, or the 8 hours immediately after the trails got groomed.

This year look pretty damn awesome!  According to NOAA we will have a colder and wetter winter than normal.  Last year was warmer, but we got rain, yes freaking rain, well into what should have been the accumulating snow time, and it was a travesty.

The Accuweather long term forecast, which is rather inaccurate, as it is more of a well trained guessing algorithm, gives us this forecast, which I will be updating as we go along.

14.8 inches in November, half of which is after Thanksgiving, but they are showing a 4" accumulation half way through the month that will then freeze down to form that icy base under the good snow.

20.2 inches in December

6.5 in first half of January...

This is actually down from what they had predicted earlier this week, when if you added it all up it totaled about 40 inches in December, but like I said, it was a guess.

Compare this to last year...

 November .2 inches of snow, average high was 47 degrees.
 December 7.8 inches of snow, but almost an inch and a half of rain at the beginning of the month.December 17th was the first day it stayed below freezing.
January 8.6 inches of snow for the month, 8 days peaked up above freezing
February 5 inches of snow, hit 55 degrees before the end of the month.
March 6.5 inches of snow, March 5th was the last day I made it out on the trails, and they were getting pretty lousy by that point.
April 9.2 inches of snow, but never enough to recover from the March melt.

The guessed at November and December totals for this coming winter are equivalent to the total snow fall for last year!

And don't forget how winter abruptly ended on May 6th last year when it hit 94 degrees...

But anyway, I am hoping for the best!  We will see how it goes.  I have four pairs of cross country skis hanging in the rafters behind me and another pair in the garage waiting to get the crap beat out of them!  Lets hope for the best!

10/24 update:

The amounts of snow and timing predictions have not changed substantially on Accuweather, still looks like we will have to wait until the second week of November before the flakes start to fly, and about the first week of December before we dare bust out the "rock skis".  I did take a peek at how the hill changes the forecast, which is relevant for things like Piedmont and Hartley Fields.  It looks like there is a touch more predicted there, although it looks like it is the same algorithm making a random guess at the long term forecast.

Oddly when I put Canyon, MN in as a location to get a guess for the Boulder Lake Environmental Learning Center I got predictions for 21.6" in November, and 30.3" in December.  This included a 2 day event of  13" at the end of November and a 11" drop in mid-December.  Not sure why those are up there and not showing in Duluth at all, or at least not nearly as large.  In the Duluth forecast the same days show 6" and 4.5".

10/25 update:
It looks like November got downgraded to being 40 degrees all month and only giving us 2.9" of snow, which is disappointing.  However December now has 32 inches of snow listed but January is only showing like 7 inches for the first half of the month.  I have stated before that these forecasts are wild guesses, although I a pondering if they just vacillate from one extreme to the next until we get an accurate forecast that may just work.

10/31 update:

Well, November flip flopped again, it does not show much of anything until the 20th, but 15 inches of snow in those last ten days.  This could mean skiing before December!

Ironically Canyon, where last week they were predicting 21" of snow in November is now only showing 6" for the month.

I am guessing we will know what is going to happen when t is about to start happening, but the models should gradually diverge over time.

11/1 update:

I know it has only been a day since the last update, but things have changed completely again...
November now shows only 7 tenths of an inch of snow for the month, down from 15" yesterday.  But December is now showing a whopping 41" of snow!  January, which yesterday was a middling 15" for the month now has 26" of snow.  As I have stated before the long term forecasts by Accuweather are random guesses at best, but I didn't think there was this much day to day variation.  On the positive side if teh December and January forecast holds that is more snow than we got all of last year.

Just for giggles I looked up Canyon again, 16.4" in December, something like .5 in November, and a bit shy of 15" in January.  It should be noted that this is only about 30 miles away.  Thirty miles and three feet of snow...

Since we are going thirty miles out and getting completely different numbers lets look at Poplar, WI..  November 1.6"  December 48", January 29"....  Lets see how these numbers change over time I am going to guess they make a nice sinusoidal wave if you graph them out.

11/2 update, well now November is back up to a whole inch!  December is showing 43" of snow, and January is up to 27.6"  This would be awesome, especially if that snow started about a week sooner.  On the positive side the guess-cast is showing a solid foot of snow and change in the first four days of December.

11/4 update:

I am seriously going to graph the variation in the accuweather forecast once we get some more data points.

Now:
November 1.8"
December 25"
January 16.8"

This is only down 2.5 feet since Wednesday...

Ok, End of November now, sorry I got frustrated b reality for a couple of weeks there...

We still have jack shit for snow.

There is snow in the long term forecast though!  Next Wednesday is showing 7.3" according to Accuweather, this is only a week out so it is within the range where the forecast is slightly better than just a wild guess.

On a side note, I already have my ski pass.

December starts tomorrow...

So anyway, November total, although it may snow tonight, jack-squat, depending on where you are in Duluth it ranges from slush to a couple of inches, either way it all gone, but what to expect the average high temp for the month has been 50 degrees.  Accuweather says our month snow total is 1.3"

Meh, Accuweather forecasts...

December 26.3" Coldest forecast temp -4
January 31.4" Coldest forecast temp -8
February 19.1"  Coldest forecast temp -4

Guess what, it been two days!  Everything has completely changed again!

I checked the forecast for next wednesday and it went from 7.3 to 6.6" and now by this afternoon has dropped to 1.8"

On a side note, we picked the Broccoli in the Garden today, it is December after all.

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