Monday, January 29, 2007

Weak System to Bring Snow on Tuesday, Bigger Storm Thursday and Friday?

After receiving nearly 30 inches in 3 weeks, more snow looks to be on the horizon. Tuesday and Tuesday Night a weak clipper-like disturbance will pass through the area bringing with it upslope snows and the possibility of 3-6 inches. However, it is looking increasingly likely that a system developing over the Gulf of Mexico on Wednesday will make its way north enough to clip Garrett County with significant snows. It is still too far out to say conclusively, but it is looking increasingly likely that this system may bring with it warning criteria (6+ inches) snow. Stay tuned. Pictured below is the American GFS model's interpretation of the late week event, valid 1am Friday morning.

5 More Inches in Garrett County

Very cold morning in Deep Creek, Temperature is 4 degrees, with a wind chill of -16. We've received 5 inches since yesterday afternoon for a total of 8 inches in the past 36 hours. The coming week looks to remain seasonably cold with upslope snows from time to time. Above are a few pictures taken from Wisp's Chair 1 earlier this morning.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Deep Creek Featured in Southern Living

Deep Creek was recently featured in the January 07' edition of Southern Living Magazine, click here to read the entire article.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Wintery Day in Garrett County

After more than 15 inches in less than a week, the Garrett County landscape resembles the classic winter scene that has made the area so popular over the years. Above, a pic taken from McHenry Cove looking toward Wisp earlier today.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

5pm update: 6 inches and falling

Already about 6 inches of snow has fallen since this morning. Earlier this afternoon the area experienced near whiteout conditions during several bursts. As temperatures fall into the single digits this evening, combined with 15mph+ winds and continued heavy snow, the area will witness near blizzard conditions tonight.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Winter Storm Watch Issued

NWS Pittsburgh has issued a winter storm watch for Garrett County, effective Thursday afternoon through late Thursday Night:


Wisp Nearing 100% Open

With Main Street and Down Under opening today, only a few more trials are left for Wisp to be open 100%. Below are 2 pictures taken yesterday from chair 5, servicing Main Street, and overlooking a frozen McHenry Cove.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Building a Snowpack in Garrett County

Another fluffy 2 inches has fallen in the past 24hrs, bringing the season total up to 31 inches, a substantial improvement over the 17 inches we were at just a few weeks ago.

Wisp has announced that the Main Street and Down Under trails will finally open today. For those of you new to Wisp, Main Street is one of the most unique trials, a steep black diamond slope that offers a fantastic view of the lake during your ascent.

Cold and occasionally snowy conditions look to prevail over the long range, and later this week, an arctic air mass will bring the coldest temperatures of the winter so far to Garrett County.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Winter is in Full Force in Garrett County

On Sunday, as per the forecast, the skies opened up around 11am and snow continued throughout the day, snowing heaviest between 1 and 4 pm. We ended up with another compacted 5 inches of snow on top of the 7 inches we received Friday. As the evening went on the light snow mixed with and changed to freezing drizzle, making local roads and even Garrett Highway difficult to traverse without four wheel drive.

Also with the recent cold temperatures the lake is starting to freeze over, starting with McHenry Cove. The cold and snowy weather looks like it will stick around for the foreseeable future.

At Wisp, after a busy mid winter weekend, conditions are nearly perfect with packed powder conditions. It is likely the eastern ridge slopes, Main Street, Eye Opener etc. will open this week for the first time this season.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

More Snow on our Doorstep!

Having received 7 inches only 2 days ago, another system is about bring more snow to the area. Garrett County is currently under a winter weather advisory for 3-5 inches of snow through tonight with possible ice as well. The image below shows the area of snow that is moving into our area from the southeast.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Snow Piling Up In Garrett County!

The area has received 7 inches of snow over the past 24 hours, and the snow continues this morning. It is also looking like the area will see another chance for some accumulating snow Sunday and Sunday Night.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Snow Underway...

The upslope event has begun. At 8:06am, it is snowing moderately in McHenry, temperature is down to 25. We've accumulated 1 1/2 inches so far. NWS forecasts the area receiving 1-2 inches today, and an additional 3-5 inches tonight and Saturday. Depicted below is a current web cam shot at Wisp, as well as a still of the NWS radar illustrating the snow affecting Garrett County.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Several Chances at Snow Upcoming

Beginning Friday, with the passage of an arctic front, the flow over the still-unfrozen great lakes will create the possibility for an upslope snow event Friday night through Saturday. In fact, the dynamics may be favorable enough to support an advisory level snow (6 or more inches). Stay tuned to the National Weather Service (link on the right), to monitor the impact the snow will have on any travel plans.

Additionally, computer guidance is indicating a wave developing over the Gulf on Sunday and moving eastward early next week. Depending on the track and intensity of the low, there is the potential for accumulating snow from this event as well. Wisp currently has packed powder conditions after several days of snowmaking, and hopefully we'll see some natural powder this weekend and early next week!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Bitter Morning in Garrett County

The area woke up this morning to a bitter 6 degrees, due in part to the recent 2 inches of snow we received as well as clear skies overnight. Temperatures will only rebound into the 20's today, and the extended forecast looks cold and at times snowy for at least the next week to 10 days.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Back to Winter, Again

After a very dreary holiday weekend, temperatures late this evening will fall behind the passage of a cold front. This week highs will remain in the upper 20's, with lows in the lower teens, providing excellent snowmaking conditions at Wisp. Additionally, on Tuesday with the passage of an arctic front, the flow off the still unfrozen Lake Erie should provide enough moisture to give us 1 to 3 inches of snow.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Why Does Garrett County Get So Much Snow?

NOTE: This blog has moved to

Garrett County receives over 100 inches of snow annually. This is due to several factors that allow Garrett to participate in a variety of snowfall events. For starters, the county sits atop the Appalachian Plateau, and as such elevations are generally over 2000 feet about sea level. Deep Creek Lake is roughly 2400 feet, and Backbone Mountain, the highest point in Maryland, reaches 3360 feet. Thus because of the elevation, temperatures in the county are usually 7-10 degrees colder than the nearby valley areas of western PA, WV, and eastern MD.

Aside from elevation, Garrett generally receives snow from 3 separate meteorological phenomena:

(1) Lake effect and "upslope snows"
Garrett County is part of Appalachian mountain chain that is situated perpendicular to the usual jet stream flow, west to east. As air runs up against the Appalachian Mountains, it is forced upward. Any moisture at the surface lifts upward, condenses, and forms low clouds above the ridges. Eventually those clouds will precipitate. The upslope phenomenon dovetails with lake effect snow. While many times upslope snows are due to an arctic frontal passage, bands of lake effect snow from Lake Erie also tend to reach Garrett County, where the same upslope effect occurs.

(2) Alberta clippers and other west-to-east oriented systems
While lake effect and upslope snows are referred to as mesoscale events (i.e. not generally associated with a large low pressure system), there are several synoptic scale events that give Garrett County snow as well. Note however that even in synoptic scale events, Garrett's elevation and upslope effect will often produce larger amounts of snow than in neighboring lower elevation areas. The first of these systems is the Alberta clipper, nicknamed such because it originates near the Canadian providence of Alberta. These systems are generally associated with a large trough over the eastern United States that allows the clipper to dive southward out of Canada, with an associated polar or artic air mass. While Alberta clippers and other west to east oriented systems usually do not tap into any Gulf of Mexico moisture, they do often maintain enough moisture of their own to produce anywhere from 4 to 8 inches to Garrett County. The recent event that blanketed the area with 7 inches on January 9th was a classic example of an Alberta clipper with associated upslope effect.

(3) Coastals or "nor’easters"
The second type of synoptic event is the coastal or nor’easter. These systems, unlike clippers, usually originate further south, often along the gulf coast, and track northeastward up the eastern coastal areas. Also unlike clippers, these systems do often tap into Gulf moisture as well as moisture from the Atlantic Ocean. While Garrett County is usually on the western end of coastal systems, the county often sits just east enough to receive substantial snows from these systems. Coastal systems can become very intense, produce very high winds, and provide memorable snow events in Garrett County. Most of Garrett County's largest snowfall events were associated with coastal-type systems.

To summarize, while some areas in the east are known for their lake effect snows like Erie or Buffalo, and others for their propensity for coastal storms such as Boston or Albany, Garrett County is perfectly situated to benefit from several types of weather systems and thus explains why the County typically averages over 100 inches annually.

Days on the Market

Days on the Market (DOM) refers literally to the number of days the average home in a given area sits on the market until sale. The number is a key indicator as to the particular state of the area's real estate market. In a hot sellers market, the DOM might be less than 1 month...whereas in a cold market, the DOM might be a year or more.

REALTORs have access to statistics such as DOM, and both sellers and buyers can utilize DOM in formulating a listing or offer price. The DOM figure can also be used to gauge the effectiveness of a seller's listing agent. For example, if the DOM in an area is 1 month, but the property has been on the market for over a year, the listing agent may not be marketing the property effectively enough.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Breaking it Down: REALTOR vs. FSBO

Often, sellers contemplating selling their home consider attempting to sell on their own in a "for sale by owner" transaction. Their thinking is simple, they can sell the home on their own without sacrificing any commissions. However, FSBO sellers frequently find out that their plan to save money actually costs them money in the end. This occurs for several reasons.

For one, FSBO properties often attract "bargain hunter" buyers. That is, often the bargain hunter buyer makes an offer on the FSBO property thinking that the property can be obtained at a bargain price since the seller is not paying any commissions. Secondly, and probably most importantly, FSBO sellers lack the marketing capability of a REALTOR. The usual methodology of FSBO sellers is the cliche red sign in the yard and ad in the paper. However, the seller is missing out on the marketing tools of the REALTOR or broker, most importantly having the property listed in the local multi-list service (MLS). In the long run, the increased buyer activity that a REALTOR creates through effective marketing will often bring about a sale price over and above (commissions included) what the seller would have commanded in a FSBO sale.

Below are some statistics complied by NAR regarding FSBO sellers:

The typical FSBO home sold for $187,200 compared to $247,000 for agent-assisted home sales.
FSBO Methods Used to Market Home:
Yard Sign . . . 51%
Friends/neighbors . . . 53%
Newspaper ad . . . 31%
Open House . . . 29%
Listing on the Internet . . . 22%

Most Difficult Tasks for FSBO Sellers:
Getting the right price . . . 11%
Understanding paperwork . . . 16%
Preparing/fixing up home for sale . . . 18%
Attracting potential buyers . . . 9%
Having enough time to devote to all aspects of the sale . . . 9%

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

First Big Snow of the Season!

As it turns out the forecasts for Garrett County were on the low side. While there is considerable blowing and drifting, it appears as though we have received around 7 or 8 inches of fluffy powder since yesterday. Between 4pm and 6pm Tuesday evening, the area experienced near whiteout conditions. NWS had originally predicted only 2 to 4 inches originally for the area.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Snow Continues Tuesday Evening

Snow has Arrived

This morning Garrett County woke up to an inch of snow, with 3-5 inches total expected by Wednesday morning, according to the National Weather Service. In addition, snow of the man-made variety will continue to be made throughout the day and night at Wisp resort.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Snow Guns on Again at Wisp, Finally

After a very mild stretch of weather through most of December and early January, temperatures have finally dipped below 28 to allow Wisp to turn its snow guns on again. As the resort is expected to make snow throughout the next several days, and as 2-4 inches of natural snow is in the forecast for Tuesday and Tuesday Night, conditions at Wisp should improve substantially just in time for the coming holiday weekend!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Weekend Weather: Transition Back to Winter

After a rainy start to the weekend Friday and Saturday a cold front will push in during the night on Sunday and return the area to more seasonal temperatures as we go through next week. There also will be a chance of some snow following the passage of the front on Sunday, and again on Tuesday as an "Alberta clipper" moves through the region. Pictured below is the American model's forecast of the passing cold front, valid Monday at 1pm.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

When will Winter Return?

Its been an unusually warm (and snowless) winter so far in Garrett County and it looks as if we are in for a few more days of above normal temperatures. However, longer range computer models are signaling a possible end of the warmth in the eastern part of the country as a pool of arctic air looks likely to head our way early next week. Meanwhile, Wisp's state of the art snowmaking system has managed to keep several trails at the resort open despite the balmy temperatures...while many other mid-atlantic resorts have struggled. Hopefully the chance at a prolonged streak of colder weather next week will allow Wisp to fully open by mid January. The map below represents the output from today's European Model, 850mb temp, valid Monday January 8th, and illustrating the push of arctic air that may visit the area.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Why Risk of Loss is a Crucial Contract Term

Risk of Loss refers to whether it is the seller or buyer who bares the risk of damage or destruction to the property during the executory period (the time in between contract signing and closing). Pursuant to Maryland common law, the buyer is said to take equitable title to the property upon signing the contract and thus it is the buyer who then bares the risk of loss for accidental damage or destruction to the property before the closing date (if the seller causes the damage, the seller will rightly be responsible for the loss).

To illustrate, if seller and buyer sign a contract on January 1st for the purchase of a home, and closing is to take place on February 1st, but the house burns down after being struck by a bolt of lightning on January 15th, under Maryland Law, and unless the contract stated otherwise, given the buyer took equitable title on Jan 1st it is the buyer who is responsible for the loss.

As you can see, who bares the risk of loss is one of the most critical terms in the contract of sale and thus it is wise that both parties seek the assistance of a REALTOR who is well-versed in contract law during the negotiation process.