So far we've had it pretty good this winter. After a little scare around Halloween we've enjoyed well above normal temperatures in December and so far January too. But. all good things must end and signs are now pointing towards colder weather that could last into much of February. So far January temperatures look like this half way through the month.
Look what the GFS (and to some degree the EURO) are doing with the upper air pattern. A strong ridge is forecast to build in Alaska opening the door once again to much colder air masses. This is January 29th
The resulting temperature departure for the same day.
The transition is already underway as you can see in the 5 day temperature departures of the GFS ensembles.
We're gonna get a taste of what's to come Sunday. These are the projected lows on the GFS
Just as bad these are the highs Sunday afternoon. Yea, sub-zero! Maybe a few degrees too cold but still a slap in the face!
Now that we've established cold is coming, we can focus on the upcoming storm due in Friday and Friday night. The first thing to get out is that confidence is high there is going to be a storm. Unfortunately there will be issues with precipitation types, especially in the south where snow will be followed by a period of freezing rain, sleet, and even plain old rain as a narrow layer of warm air aloft is drawn in the storm
One thing we can count on is that temperatures at the onset will start cold. A fresh arctic air mass will be in place preceding the arrival of precipitation. The dense nature of the arctic air will make it hard to dislodge. For this reason precipitation will begin as snow in all areas either late morning or early afternoon.Friday. For that reason now should last through the day and then the mix develops down south during the evening spreading north with time. Depending on which model you choose, the freezing rain (or rain) could briefly reach as far north as HWY 20. Right now that seems unlikely and a more likely push is somewhere close to HWY 30. Still plenty of time to get that issue resolved.
As far as snow accumulations are concerned, because of the issues regarding transition and track, raw model data could change significantly so i would caution putting great stock in any one solution, especially across the south. Amounts are more likely to verify in the north where snow will be the dominate form of precipitation. If I had to make a call right now I would say snow totals currently would range from 2" south to 5-6" north.With that, I bring you to the raw forecasts off the models. These will change in some way shape or form.