IT'S A SNOW DAY!
ONE MAJOR STORM UNDERWAY, ANOTHER COMING?
Our winter storm continues to twirl across the central Midwest, producing snow and winds that will be increasing out of the north as the day wears on. Here's an animation of the way the storm is expected to play out on the 3k NAM. It started Monday evening, and you can see how the low pressure center tracks to Gary, Indiana Tuesday evening. Snow, heavy at times, wraps around the storm for an extended period. Initially, it was driven by warm air advection Monday night. A lull is likely into early Tuesday as that passes. Then the system deepens in central Illinois, allowing a deformation band (trowel) to emerge that cranks up the snow again until it diminishes and ends Tuesday night. Classic stuff.
Today's snow is likely to be the heaviest NW of the 850 circulation at roughly 5,000 ft. Thermal profiles, moisture, and forcing all come together there to wring out the snow. Assuming it all works as it should, much of my area ends up with 7-10 inches of snow, with locally heavier amounts near a foot possible. The larger totals are likely to be found near and SE of the Quad Cities. The NWS indicated in their AFD that a snow event like this typically happens once every 10-12 years!
One thing that we are somewhat uncertain about Tuesday is the degree of blowing and drifting snow that results. The initial wet nature of the snow may be our savior. If temperatures were several degrees colder, near blizzard conditions would be likely. Readings will grow colder as the day wears on, so things could still get a bit ugly, especially in the open country. That needs to be watched.
Something else interesting is the lightning that is showing in Kansas just after midnight. This is such a dynamic system that it may produce thundersnow on part of the region Tuesday. Snowfall rates of 2" per hour are possible in such a scenario. You can see all the strikes below.
Again, winter storm warnings will be with us into Tuesday night. There's not much more I can say in this post that hasn't already been said. Now it's up to mother nature to do her thing. With that, let's move on to the potential of another major storm Friday.
ANOTHER MAJOR STORM FRIDAY?
After a short break, some additional light snow is possible Wednesday night. Most places should get by with an inch or so. Nothing more than a nuisance. That leads us into Friday and what could be another potent storm. In fact, with colder air and stronger winds, this event could be quite impactful as well. The GFS and EURO have showed a westward trend in their track and a surface low that eventually deepens to under 970mb. While we are now in play, any further westward track, and we are full throttle in the middle of it. On the other hand, a shift east and all we see is very light snow, wind, and cold. In fact, the GFS just in did make a jog east, leaving us with little snow. This points out the fact models are again having issues resolving energy. Confidence is still fairly low. Anyway, here's what the EURO shows Friday night. That, my friends, has the potential to be a beast.
Look at the pressure gradient Friday night. A 30.85 inch high in Montana to a 28.61 low in Michigan. That is a wind machine if I ever saw one.
Additionally, with the winds turning to the north behind the storm, cold air will surge in for the weekend and much of next week. These are the temperature departures a week from today. That won't be fun, but it's to be expected if we have as much snow on the ground as models are indicating.
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