A BIT OF LIGHT SHOVELING...
It won't cause big problems but a storm system emanating out of the southwest will bring a round of snow to all of the area later Thursday and Thursday night. The snow will be of the light fluffy kind so it will be relatively easy to shovel but there will be enough of it to create slick travel conditions. More on that in just a minute.
NOT A GOOD YEAR FOR SNOW (AT LEAST FOR ME)
First though, I thought it would be interesting to see how the snow season is progressing around the Midwest. For me it's been a lean and disappointing year. Here's what the Iowa Mesonet indicates for snow totals through February 22nd. Most of my area is in the range of 9 to 20 inches (a few spots in the far southeast are closer to 25.
Looking at the seasonal departures, you can see a swath from Nebraska through my area and southeast Wisconsin is running 15-30 inches below normal. Overall, it's been a very dry winter, especially since Christmas. The big winner for snow is the upper Midwest where some spots in NC Minnesota are 30 inches above normal. The lower Midwest has fared pretty good too, especially through central Missouri and Illinois where some 10-15 inch departures are found.
Here's a closer look at snowfall departures in both Iowa and Illinois. Every location in my part of the Midwest is below normal with the largest deficits in the north.
Iowa, Dubuque in my area is nearly 25 inches below the norm.
Illinois, Moline over 20 inches below normal.
Here's another perspective of seasonal totals for the nation east of the Rockies.
The latest storm which brought some freezing rain to parts of my area really clocked the upper Midwest where 1-2 foot accumulations were noted. Washburn, Wisconsin picked up 33 inches with 30 reported in Ishpeming, Michigan.
THE NEXT SNOW PRODUCER...
As you can see in the GOES satellite imagery, Thursday's snow producer is getting organized to the southwest. The first wave of energy misses to the south but the second batch showing up in the Rockies is slated to arrive here Thursday. You can clearly see the active sub-tropical jet curling in out of the Southwest. Unfortunately, if you like snow the lack of phasing ( a major issue this winter) keeps the energy split and restricts moisture. That should keep totals light and manageable here. More below.
Here's another perspective showing the two distinct pieces of energy south and west.
As I expected a couple days ago, the NWS has issued a winter weather advisory for later Thursday and Thursday night in anticipation of the snow. You can see the counties under the advisory on the right. To the left is the NWS official snowfall forecast.
As you can see, the NWS forecasts indicates most spots can expect to see amounts of 2-3 inches, with up to 4 a possibility east of the river. I for one can't say that won't happen but most of the data I'm looking at is more in that 1-2 inch range with perhaps a couple spots reaching 3. The split in the energy is concerning and the lack of good, prolonged forcing combined with meager moisture argues for lower amounts in my mind. Also, the way this winter has behaved, with only a couple events impacting a small part of the southeast, it's just been a struggle to get snow to fall from the clouds. It may be that this doesn't amount to much more than a hill of beans. We'll know more late Thursday morning.
Having said that, here's the latest suite of models with their snowfall projections. I say once again, these are not forecasts, just raw model data. These will be utilized to make the official forecasts issued by the NWS.
The 3K NAM
The 12K NAM
Following the snow, the weekend gets off to a cold start Friday with highs generally in the mid 20s, a good 15 degrees below normal.
A PRAYER FOR PEACE...
Before I go, I am watching events unfold in Ukraine. I am deeply troubled and saddened by the unprovoked invasion of a peaceful democratic nation, not unlike what Hitler did with Poland before World War ll. I am 66 years old and I have never felt the fear and concern my parents and grandparents experienced when our freedom was challenged by similar acts. Tonight, the weight on my shoulders is real as we witness this unnecessary act of aggression. I pray for the people of Ukraine and for a peaceful resolution to this incredibly frightening and irrational behavior. Peace is not God's gift to mankind; peace is our gift to each other. It's my hope the power of love overcomes the love of power. Roll weather...TS
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