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The strong winter storm for the weekend appears on track and the NWS has begun to issue advisories. Much of my area is now under a WINTER STORM WATCH starting Friday and ending Sunday. Snow or mixed precipitation will change to snow with heavy accumulations likely in much of the area. Significant icing is also possible in the southeast before the transition to snow. Travel is expected to become difficult.

Some parts of the area, mainly southeast of the Quad Cities could also see locally heavy rain before ice and finally snow. This is going to be a very complex and multi-faceted storm. It has lots of moisture to work with and total precipitation on the EURO looks like this.

Two waves of precipitation are expected. one Friday night and following what should be a short break Saturday morning, the main event arrives Saturday afternoon and evening. Best chances for mixed precipitation which could include freezing rain and sleet will be in the southeast half roughly SE of a line from Ottumwa to near Iowa City and on to Freeport, Illinois.

As for snowfall, that will be tricky due to the timing of precipitation transitions but it appears the best chances for the heaviest snow would be from about the Mississippi River on to the NW. This is still a bit in doubt and could fluctuate east or west depending on the final track of the storm. That is why a watch is in effect as opposed to a warning at this time. Here is what the EURO shows for total snowfall, which in spots could include accumulations from Friday night.

It's important to note this is just a model and often they over estimate the amount of snow. I would guess these are several inches too high. Even so. this could still be a big snow producer with the potential for a band of 5-10" totals. Perhaps a few spots with locally more in banding. In general, a lot of my area should see amounts of 4-7". I'm just showing the model as a guide to potential amounts and the placement of the primary snow axis. Other models have different interpretations. My feeling is eastern Iowa has the best chance of seeing the highest snowfall accumulations.

Here is what the GFS shows. Yesterday it had little if any snow so it has finally seen the light.

The 12k NAM This is something to keep an eye on as its track as it has trended further NW. That greatly impacts amounts near and east of the Mississippi.

As the storm evolves Saturday if will pull in colder air as northeast winds ramp up. Gusts over 30 mph can be expected Saturday and much of Saturday night, at least through Midnight. That will lead to some blowing and drifting and reduced visibility, especially in open areas.

Once again confidence is high on a strong winter storm with duel the components of ice and snow this weekend. Stay tuned as there are likely to be some revisions in the next 24 hours. Roll weather...TS

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