Mother Nature's very own Siberian Express appears to have received a one-way ticket to infiltrate its presence upon the Mount Washington Valley. You may recall an unmistakable blast of arctic chill that arrived into the region shortly after the beginning of 2003. The temperature has since forced the residents of North Conway to endure harmful and life threatening conditions. This situation has coincided with temperatures that have plummeted to 20 degrees below zero during the morning, while barely obtaining a positive position by evening. As of now, the departure of the Siberian Express from North Conway is in the hands of Mother Nature.
Stationed near Russia and the North Pole, the Siberian Express rarely travels extensive distances into the middle latitude regions of Earth. Usually due to the lack of atmospheric fuel, the air mass often maintains a stationary position by affecting the region surrounding the Arctic Circle. The Siberian Express is an arctic air mass that occurs following a fast moving cold front. After the mass of cold air roles into the eastern United States, the polar jet stream carves a trough into the region that allows wintertime record cold to occur. The Polar Vortex then shifts eastward in Canada where it produces a continuous onslaught of arctic chill and weak low-pressure systems for the region surrounding North Conway.
As witnessed many times during this month, numerous changes occur when a cold front arrives in response to the Siberian Express. Snow squalls often erupt along the frontal boundary and produce a quick onslaught of blizzard-like conditions with a light accumulation of snow. Winds gust upwards of 40 to 60 M.P.H. during the wake of the front's passage, which generates a significant amount of wind chill. An instantaneous 10 to 20 degree temperature drop also occurs when the Siberian Express begins to seep into the region. This temperature drop helps the air mass to live up to its characteristic of record cold, high wind, and the occasional snow squall.
Believe it or not, the Rocky Mountain Range has had significant impact on our weather. These large mountains act as a strong barrier against the Siberian Express. Since the air mass is very dense, it has a difficult time lifting over the mountain range. Therefore, the brunt of the cold air is driven towards the eastern two-thirds of the United States. Upon doing so, the Siberian Express becomes thinner in the atmosphere as it spreads southward.
Many of you are probably wondering how much longer the arctic air will linger around town. Expect at least one more blast of cold air to reign down upon the Mount Washington Valley. The Siberian Express will become refilled with one more injection of atmospheric fuel to keep its affect going. Before we know it, the Siberian Express will return to its homeland as the air will ultimately moderate to a more comfortable level.