We’re sticking with our guy Brad Panovich!

For the past two consecutive weekends the mountains of the Southeast and Mid Atlantic have been bombed with snow. Snow totals that were forecasted the prior Thursday night – for both weekends. On Thursday, December 2nd he forecasted 8" or so or more of snow in the North Carolina Mountains and 10-20" into the West Virginia and Maryland ski mountains.

22.5" of snow fell at Davis West Virginia from December 2nd through Tuesday, December 7th. A few readers who are evidently HUGE fans of the Dr. Seuss Grinch character actually wrote us to ask why we said that Brad had accurately forecasted the weather when in their minds he hadn’t. I won’t even address my thoughts on THAT this morning. Let’s move on.

Fast forward to Thursday, December 9th. Brad forecasted another bombing of snow that would begin on Sunday of this past week when all other forecasters were predicting only 3-5" or so. He actually posted via his video skier’s forecast that the North Carolina mountains would see 8-10" or so and perhaps the West Virginia ski areas would see another 10-20" of snow.

The official numbers via CoCoRaHs reporters around the region showed these tallies during the Sunday through Wednesday period.

Beech picked up: 16.4" of new snow from the 12th-15th this week.

Wisp Resort reported: 11"

Snowshoe reported: 10"

Okay maybe if we look at Brad’s forecast through something other than snow-colored glasses maybe the area of coverage was slightly off as the North Carolina mountains picked up more than the WV resorts, but the end result for his Southeast Skier’s Forecast of 10-20" looks intact. By the way, Snowshoe Mountain picked up 7" just on Thursday and they’re up to 45" on the season and it’s only December 17th!

Laura Parquette reported that Snowshoe is opening Cupp Run today at noon and that is one of the earliest openings EVER for the popular run off the flip side of Snowshoe Drive.

One of our readers wrote me personally on Thursday stating, "Do you guys know that Beech has already more than half of the annual snowfall already?"

Uhmmm…yea. Where’ve YOU been? That’s all we do is talk about snow on this website! Actually Beech Mountain has now seen 49.5" of snow on the season and that is actually 61.8% of their average annual snowfall tally of 80" each winter. Canaan and Timberline Resorts lead the way on natural snows so far this season with 50.1" to edge out Beech for the lead in that category. Snowshoe’s seen 45".

So a LOT of snow has fallen so far in December!

One of my daughters reminded me yesterday that they’ve only been to school FOUR DAYS in December thus far. They’ve had THAT MANY snow days. (They’re out again today.)

BACK TO BRAD AND HIS MOST RECENT FORECAST…

As if from a scene in Groundhog Day, Brad submitted his weekend skier’s forecast video last night (Thursday – again) and he is AGAIN forecasting snow and more of it than we’re seeing any other forecaster calling for.

This time he isn’t forecasting 10-20" or I’d be looking around to find Bill Murray, however he IS seeing more snow than other regional forecasters.

Case in point:

The NWS out of Greenville-Spartanburg is forecasting the following for the Friday through Tuesday period for the North Carolina Mountains:

Today: Sunny

Saturday: 30% chance of snow (20% Saturday night and little or no accumulation)

Sunday: Partly Sunny but cold. Partly cloudy Sunday night (no snow mentioned)

Monday: Partly sunny. Mostly Cloudy Monday night, no snow.

Tuesday: 30% chance of freezing rain.

You can see the full forecast at: Southeast Skier’s Forecast

(Bear in mind that depending on when you are reading this later in the weekend they’ll probably be coming around to Brad’s forecast. We’ll see.)

WEATHER.com isn’t much different. They’re forecasting the very same forecast with the exception of snow showers on Tuesday.

Let’s look at Snowshoe’s Forecast coming from the NWS out of Charleston, WV.

Today: 60% chance of snow – little or no accumulation

Saturday: Cloudy with slight chance of snow Saturday night – no accumulation.

Sunday: 20% chance of snow showers in the afternoon with little or no accumulation Sunday or Sunday night.

Monday: Partly sunny. Mostly Cloudy 30% chance of snow Monday night.

Tuesday: 30% chance of snow.

However no real accumulation expected or being forecasted.

Before I go to our guy Brad…I flipped over to Ray’s Weather to see what he is forecasting:

Friday: Sunny

Saturday: Sunny then slight flurry Saturday night

Sunday: DRY and Sunny

Monday: Sunday with chance of flurries Monday night.

Tuesday: Light rain changing to snow at night.

NOW FOR BRAD’S FORECAST: Check it out for yourself at www.SkiSoutheast.com/weather.htm

He BEGINS his forecast video with the title "COLD and SNOW Returns". (Already it’s different from the others.)

He’s forecasting some Northwest Flow snows (sound familiar?) for the WV ski resorts for today (Friday). He’s forecasting snow showers for the WV and Wisp Resort areas for Friday into Saturday. Nothing for the North Carolina mountains for Friday.

He shows his forecast model for Saturday night into Sunday and the weather maker starts to move up the east coast and depending on the track it should throw moisture inland. He said he’s not all that confident about any "system snow" for the ski areas out of this unless things push inland more, however he DOES expect that system to track out into the coastal waters and that would actually allow for Northwest Flow snows to pull moisture off the Great Lakes again creating what he calls a pretty good Northwest Flow snow event on the back side. He’s expecting most of the snow to be Sunday night into Monday morning, especially for the WV resorts into Wisp. He IS expecting snow to fall into the NC ski areas as well. He’s already forecasting that we’re likely to see the weather stay that way into the week with some snow in the forecast Monday, Tuesday and into Wednesday.

Though this system doesn’t look like the significant 8-20" of snows that we’ve seen the last two weeks, it will nevertheless be COLD and SNOWY.

Another GREAT thing about the forecasted period ahead is COLD, SNOWMAKING weather for the talented snow making crews of the region. The average lows from the NC Mountain up through Wisp Resort are for lows in the TEENS to low 20s for the next SEVEN nights and highs that might allow some around the clock snowmaking temperatures at many of our ski resorts and that means MORE slopes and trails open and pristine conditions as we move closer to the all-important Holiday getaway period!

(I just heard a sigh of relief across the region…)

WANT MORE GOOD NEWS???

The early, early look ahead shows indications that Christmas will probably be a White one with snow on the ground AND snow potentially falling on Christmas Day. Another clipper-style system is expected Christmas Day with either light snow or light mix changing to light snow. Much colder air arrives Christmas night leading to a very cold next Sunday with snow showers. A White Christmas is a very real possibility.

WE’LL TAKE OUR "SNOW-COLORED GLASSES" FORECASTER…

To those few of you who emailed that we (really me I guess) are giving Brad too much credit and that his forecasts haven’t been accurate because even he forecasted a little on the low side on the last snowfall. Come on…

The other guys forecasted very little. He forecasted a lot. So he forecasted a little low last week. That’s a GOOD THING, right? I’m only hoping that he’ll get to CONTINUE to forecast good snowfalls into January, February and March.

FORECASTERS BEGINNING TO HEDGE A BIT ON EARLY 2011 FORECAST!?!?

For those who have been following our winter weather forecasts since October, you no doubt already know that most forecasters called for a fast start December. Obviously they didn’t forecast the kind of fast start we’ve experienced, but they all said December would be quite great for snow and cold and that all of our ski areas would probably see great conditions for the Christmas ski period.

However they all ALSO forecasted things to become "challenging" once we got into January and into early February. Brad’s initial forecast (remember you can see it at http://www.skisoutheast.com/videos/ ) stated that he thought that although we’re in a La Nina winter, he felt that the air streams would probably support clipper systems and Northwest Flow snows that would dictate what he felt might be a volatile January, but one that would support near normal snows.

NOW – Joe Bastardi of Accuweather and other meteorologists are beginning to hedge on their earlier winter forecasts to say that January might not be as "challenging" as first thought. Most meteorologists were thinking that the most challenging part of the forecast region might be the Southern Appalachians…but again – now they’re hedging a bit…which is cool.

So, we’ll stick with our guy Brad Panovich. We know of no other regional ski reporting service that even HAS their own Meteorologist – and we’ve got one that LOVES SNOW and snow skiing!

Before I sign off for the weekend – hey Brad, I’m headed up to Mont Tremblant on the 26th. Any chance that you can forecast a dumping for the Christmas to New Year’s break for eastern Canada?

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