© 2019 Terry Swails

AN ICY GLAZE TO CREATE PROBLEMS TUESDAY...

February 5, 2019

The last day of January my area was covered in 10-20" of snow, much of it powder. The snow was so deep in my neighborhood it was up to the bottom of the mailboxes. I haven't seen it that deep in a long, long time!

Then came February and the big thaw. In little more than 48 hours the snow depth went from 15" at my place in Cedar Rapids to roughly an inch. Lots of grass showing. What a painful experience it was to watch it vanish before my eyes. So hard to get, so easy to lose. 

The next order of business revolves around a couple of fast moving disturbances that bring the threat of freezing rain and sleet to much of the area during the period Tuesday afternoon through Wednesday night. This is going to be a very tricky forecast with the potential for significant icing in parts of my central and southern counties with some snow up north.

 

The set up involves cold Arctic air that will be in place at the surface as Tuesday begins. The dense frigid will be hard to displace as warm moist air rides over the top of the cold layer Tuesday afternoon. While it remains below freezing at the surface warming takes place aloft that creates a layer of temperatures above freezing at 5,000 ft. That's the type of temperature inversion necessary for freezing rain and sleet as opposed to snow.

 

The NWS in the Quad Cities has winter weather advisories in effect Tuesday afternoon and evening. 

The NWS shows the potential for icing up to 1/4 inch. 

Monday night's high resolution models have come in higher on precipitation totals showing even greater ice accumulations. All I can say is it's a fluid situation that can't fully be predicted until the thermal profiles are set and precipitation develops Tuesday. It is possible that an ice storm warning or advisory could be issued for some spots by morning. Here's some of the ice projections as of Monday night. Keep in mind these totals include two systems.

 

Another factor to consider is the second system Wednesday night/Thursday looks slightly warmer and the mixed precipitation could change to or be mainly rain, especially in the southern half of my area further complicating the overall forecast

 

The 3k NAM

The NAM

The GFS

Snow will fall on the northern fringes of the system which includes my northern counties, especially north of HWY 20. These are the snowfall forecasts as of Monday night. 

The GFS

The NAM

The EURO.

The bottom line in this post is the fact this is a very difficult forecast. Travel could become difficult for a swath of the central Midwest if the ice materializes as it looks. Further north snow will make for its own troubles in the road. There's just too many question marks to be any more specific than what I'm showing you now. Keep an eye on the forecast and hopefully we'll end up with a more positive resolution than what I'm seeing now regarding the ice.  Roll weather...TS

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