One More Yuck Day and Cold and SNOW is on the Way!

First Trax

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This morning we’re going to basically do what the North Carolina resorts are doing and that is simply to burn some time, and hang on until the cold air hits this afternoon. It’s another 50° morning in the North Carolina mountains and there are ponds where there normally are none; there are waterfalls where there normally are not; and the Watauga River is rushing under our Sleepy Hollow Covered Bridge with intensity that I have not seen since the back-to-back hurricanes of a few Septembers ago.

Oh yea, and there’s not snow where there normally is…

Josey Ashton of Roanoke, Virginia wrote, "Could you imagine if we had some cold air in place with all of this rain? We’d have been digging out of snow for weeks!"

That is true enough. According to our weather station back behind our office, we picked up another 1.06" of rain on Tuesday. That’s 2.12" in the last 6 days and quite a lot over the last four-plus weeks around here. According to one of the stations in Banner Elk they’ve seen 4.20" of rain just since January 1st! The Banner Elk station reported 2.53" of rain Yesterday!

Beech Mountain reported 1.35" of rain and 2.82" in the last six days. Sugar received 1.08" since midnight last night; 1.20 yesterday and about 2.5" since the 1st and another 2" of rain the previous three weeks.

That would have made for a LOT OF SNOW had the temps been in place. All of this moisture bodes well if we can get good temps for the rest of the season.

Ted Arnette of Kingsport, Tennessee wrote, "Mike, you were reporting that over the last month that there had probably been fewer days that were in the 20s than those above freezing and your guess was right on. I did some research and Sugar Mountain only had 14 days in the 20s or colder for lows in the month of December and 11 of those days were prior to December 15th! Since then Sugar has only had 3 days of low temps in the 20s or colder."

January has started out much the same with only two of the seven days with temps below freezing and the average low temp is 25° in Banner Elk.

Homer H. wrote, "When did some egghead decide that NORMAL and AVERAGE meant the same thing? It is perfectly NORMAL for the high around here to be 50 degrees and perfectly NORMAL for the high to be 25 degrees. Are you saying that it would be NORMAL for every high and low to be the same all winter? Hardly NORMAL. So it’s not NORMAL to be above AVERAGE? Please use the word AVERAGE when that is what you really mean."

I don’t know Homer; take your argument up with Weather Underground as they are the source of the NORMAL low and high temp. While you’re probably using correct grammar in your complaint with me, I was only passing on their statement. According to Weather Underground today:

Forecast Compared to Normals:

Today Forecast: High 50° and Low: 27°
NORMAL: High 43° and Low: 25°

(Since when have I EVER used proper grammer around here? 😉 )

AFTER TODAY, MORE "NORMAL" WINTER WEATHER IS FORECASTED (Somehow the word "average" wouldn’t fit.)

The forecast for the NC Mountains is looking pretty good!

Tonight’s low: 25° and snow!

Thursday: High 31° and low of 13° with snow!

Friday: High 43° and low of 25° (snowmaking continues)

Saturday: High 49° and low of 29° (borderline snowmaking temps)

Sunday: High 41° and low of 20° (great snowmaking temps)

Monday: High 39° and low of 22° (great snowmaking continues!)

Tuesday: High 31° and low of 19° with snow and around the clock snowmaking chances!

So if you have a trip planned for this weekend things are looking pretty good for fast-improving conditions and things look even better into next week!

Here are some notes for today:

Appalachian dropped 12" of base but still looks quite nice with 8 of 10 trails open and ice skating.

Cataloochee dropped 5" of base and closed three trails and now offer 5 of 14 trails. Snowtubing is closed until Friday. Cataloochee actually looks decent for today. Snowmaking temps tonight will have them looking pretty on Thursday.

<This trail is not open but connects Lower Shawneehaw to the bottom slopes and there’s a lot of snowmaking needed to bring it back online

Ski Beech dropped 5" of base but they are still open and they have 2 trails open for day skiing. It is doubtful anyone will be on the slopes, but as we mentioned late on Tuesday, Ryan Costin has his bunch raring to make snow as soon as the temps allow this evening. There’s still snow on the mountain, but they have a lot of work to do to provide a good product for this weekend but thanks to a good forecast they may be able to make snow around the clock once those temps hit this afternoon and they will amaze you as to how good that place will look by Friday. Hang with them, they are hopeful of getting a third pump operational any day now that will help them with increased snowmaking capacity. They been pretty handcuffed thus far with only 2 of 3 pumps available. (See Tuesday’s story by clicking here.) 

Sugar Mountain only reported a 2" drop in base, but a lot of thin coverage and bare areas appeared during and after Tuesday’s hard rains. They still have quite a good bit of skiable terrain with 11 of 20 trails open for day skiing and they are open for night skiing as well, but they are looking pretty rough this morning. They will bounce back a lot quicker than Beech as soon as the snowmakers crank up this afternoon. Snowmaking capacity is not an issue at Sugar and they will look darn nice by mid day on Thursday. By Friday, you’ll never know they had thin coverage.

Sugar still has ice skating open and one lane of tubing as well.

Wolf Ridge Resort is reporting an average base of 24" and they still look pretty good with "creeping edges" but no bare spots visible via the cams. They will ski on 4 slopes today and can’t wait to make snow later today. Tubing is closed.

Hang in there, good conditions are on the horizon…

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