THE HAMMER COMES DOWN...

Well, it's D-Day in my area as we await the onslaught of a winter storm that will bring plenty of disruptions Friday night through Saturday night. Before I get to the nuts and bolts of the storm I just wanted to mention that it was at this time last year when things went into the toilet and winter exploded with snow and bitter cold. Not saying this year will rival last years power but there are some very interesting and noteworthy changes on the table.

Take a look at this, it's the temperature departures for next Thursday January 16th (6 days down the road). By then we'll have had a couple more snow systems and temperatures on the GFS are shown going into the tank. From my area northwest readings are 20-45 degrees below normal on the GFS.

Over the 10 day period (January 16-26th) the average temperature departures.

These are the projected lows. 10-20 below zero...ouch!

Toss in a nice breeze and you get wind chills like this. 30 to 35 below...minus 54 in Minnesota!

At least for the GFS it's game on for winter.

Let's get to the storm! Winter storm warnings or advisories are now flying around my area. After Thursday's March-like highs (50-60 degrees), readings won't budge much today as northerly winds bring back the cold that creates the snow and ice of tonight. Here's the warnings in place.

As of early today models have backed off some on the intensity of the storm and shifted the track east a bit. That has brought snowfall potential down by several inches since yesterday. Certainly more realistic. However, a significant Winter Storm is still expected to impact the area today through Saturday evening with multiple hazards.

Precipitation will start out as areas of rain and snow towards evening. Tonight snow accumulation of 1-3 inches are possible, especially in the NW half of my area from near Ottumwa to about Iowa City and in to near Freeport, Illinois. Further southeast rain will change over to freezing rain and sleet overnight into Saturday morning. Significant ice and sleet accumulations are possible. The ice and sleet will change over to all snow from northwest to southeast late tonight or ealy Saturday. Additional snow will fall Saturday afternoon and evening, with several inches possible in most areas...if the current track holds. This wintry mess will combine with strong north winds and is likely to bring blowing snow to some areas, as well as tree and power line damage where ice accumulations are greater closer to the Quad Cities and points southeast. This part of the forecast needs to be monitored closely.

As for snow, the NWS is showing this for accumulations. This is a good starting point but changes in track and intensity could still alter these number. We will monitor it for updates through the day.

This is the NWS high end potential (worst case scenario).

The NWS low end potential, the best case scenario.

The odds of 4 or more inches of snow currently look like this.

In general, snow along with some mixed precipitation is expected tonight into Saturday evening. Snow should be heaviest tonight in the NW half and in most areas again Saturday afternoon and evening. Icing could be significant, especially in the southeast half tonight before the transition to snow on Saturday. Snow accumulations of 3 to as much as 8" are possible across the area. N/NE winds could gust to 35 mph.

Most of the troubles should off until evening when mixed precipitation rapidly expands southeast across the region. Hazardous travel is expected in all areas by morning, developing first in the NW half this evening. Stay tuned for updates on the evolution of the storm right here on TSwails.com throughout the event. Roll weather...TS

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