We have now heard from our official meteorologist here on SkiSoutheast.com. Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich sent us his take on the 2009-2010 Winter Forecast for Maryland, West Virginia, Virginia, Tennessee and North Carolina ski resorts and it isn’t e-x-a-c-t-l-y on par with what those of us who are diehard we-want-a-foot-of-snow everytime people want to hear.
We’ve posted the Southeast & Mid Atlantic Winter Forecast video on the front page as well as our video room page. You can click the video link right on the front page for that content. It’s worth looking at to cull out your own perception of what our "snow guy" is saying, but the summary of his forecast is that we will see colder and snowier conditions for the Southeast and Mid Atlantic than we’re used to…but there’s a "but" to the forecast.
Basically Brad says that we’re probably going to see some BIG SNOWS this season with perhaps two to four 7"+ snow storms and perhaps six to ten 2-4" snows. That doesn’t sound bad. Some quick math gets me to around 70" of snowfall. That isn’t bad for a lot of ski areas, but that would be hugely disappointing to some of the upper tier of ski areas within our coverage area like Snowshoe, Canaan, Timberline, Wisp and even Winterplace. Heck, it would be disappointing to Beech, which typically gets 80" a season. Remember that SkiSoutheast.com is predicting 95" of snowfall for Beech this winter!
At this point I want to clear the room, leave and come back in and ask, "Who the heck has taken over the body of the guy I know and love – Brad Panovich?"
After listening to the video for the first time (and after finishing the box of tissues on my desk) I emailed him back the following question:
"Brad, so you’re not necessarily in agreement with Bastardi, Ray Russell, et al who are forecasting 110% of the long term average snows or 150% of the last ten years averages? I know it isn’t as simple as that, but I wanted to get your take. From your video it appears that you’re thinking it to be more of a rainy/ice kind of winter with only a couple of big storms, rather than a consistently decent season. Is that a fairly accurate assessment?"
When I wrote that email, I figured THAT would jolt my snow-loving, weather guru into the snow-forecasting dude that I know him to be. After all, THAT’S why we recruited him to be our official weather guy! Here’s his response:
"Yeah you’re right on with the assessment. Most of the cooler temps will be due to clouds and precipitation and not necessarily arctic air moving down on a consistent basis. Which means there will be several ice/rain events, but the one nice thing about this pattern is when you get the moisture source that this active storm track brings, all you need is for it to time up with a surge of arctic air and you get a BIG storm. So I expect there will be 2-4 big snow storms 7"+ with 6-10 2-4" snows. Yet there will be 4-6" ice and rain storms as well."
By now I’m all welled up again and it ISN’T from being overly happy!
After being too busy to deal with this bad start to my day, I revisited his video AND his response and I ALMOST decided to have some fun and SUPERIMPOSE Joe Bastardi’s voicetrack over Brad’s video to get JUST the forecast I wanted. I came to the decision that I didn’t want the joint staff of attorneys from both AccuWeather and WCNC all over me. Then I had another idea. If the board of woolly worms can stand over an almost all brown woolly worm and find some snow in the silly worm’s forecast (like they did last year); then I can find the "glass half full" forecast that I personally need to hear from Brad’s video.
With that in mind, here’s what I’ve personally culled out of his 2009-2010 Winter Forecast video. Let’s disect it bit by bit.
He states, "Most of the cooler temps will be due to clouds and precipitation and not necessarily arctic air moving down on a consistent basis."
Our take: Most forecasters are predicting temps 3° colder than normal. That cold temp, combined with all this consistent moisture means SNOW and lots of it. So what if some areas get a little ice. I’ve been living here for 20 years and I’ve only seen ONE season that I’d call an "icy" season and THIS won’t be one of them. Brad just didn’t want to be overly snowy this early on.
He states, "Which means there will be several ice/rain events, but the one nice thing about this pattern is when you get the moisture source that this active storm track brings, all you need is for it to time up with a surge of arctic air and you get a BIG storm."
Our take: Perhaps Raleigh, Durham and the Piedmont will get a bit more ice than we’d like for our brothers to see and maybe some of the Virginia Piedmont will experience that as well. However those BIG STORMS are headed for the higher elevations and there will be a bigger influence from the upper storm track and lesser from the southern one and that means more snow!
He states: "So I expect there will be 2-4 big snow storms 7"+ with 6-10 2-4" snows. Yet there will be 4-6" ice and rain storms as well."
Our take: No professional weather guru would go out on the limb and predict 4-8 BIG SNOW of 7"+ and 12-20 4" snowfalls. So the guy HAD to low ball things.
I’m TRYING here people! It’s only October and we’re still a month away from the traditional start of ski and snowboarding season. Let’s hope that all of this wet weather that we’ve been seeing and cooler temps continue and that late November and the rest of the season is COLD and SNOWY. Keep thinking it. THINK SNOW and it will come.
We love you Brad, but we’re sticking with Joe, Ray and the others who are forecasting a snowier winter than yours at this stage. I know you understand. We know you. Once the cold air starts pouring down, you’ll be forecasting a dumping. We’re looking forward to those morning updates beginning in late November. But for now, we like our forecast and we’re sticking by. Crazy thing is – we KNOW Brad’s hoping we’re right as well!
Be sure to email photos, snow reports and comments to: [email protected]