KEEP THE SHOVEL HANDY...
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KEEP THE SHOVEL HANDY...
Here we are entering the second week of March. Daylight savings time begins this weekend and we are all thinking spring. That is everybody but dear old mother nature. Her favorite season is winter and she rarely lets go of its icy grip without a fight. She's especially fiesty this year and the last two weeks of winter (probably longer) are looking rather nasty across much of the country.
Why do I say that? Well, for starters look at the projected snowfall from the ensemble means of the GFS and EURO. This is for the 15 day period ending March 23rd. By then spring has sprung, at least on the calendar but not by the shovel. The whole northern half of the nation is under the snow gun. Both models are showing the trend.
The GFS ensemble mean
The EURO ensemble mean
With a snowy look like that, it's not surprising the 10 day temperature departures from March 13th-23rd are well below normal on both the GFS and EURO ensembles as well.
The GFS ensemble mean.
The EURO ensemble mean
The 5 day period leading up to St Patricks Day looks to be the coldest with departures during that period of 13-16 degrees per day. Where for art thou spring?
NEXT STORM UP...
Our next system will be a winter storm and has the potential to impact much of the region with moderate to perhaps heavy snow. Unfortunately there are still some details in question that leave amounts and location in question. I will get to the in a minute but at least there is enough agreement in solutions for the NWS to have issued a winter storm watch for the area along and north of HWY 30 for later Thursday and Thursday night.
As you can see this is expected to be a large storm with significant snow likely in the northern half of the Midwest into the Great Lakes.
For my area, the challenge as is often the case, is nailing the track and ensuing heavy snow swath. Precipitation type and the rain snow line is also an issue that requires resolution.
When you look at the ensembles of the GFS and EURO for 3 inches of snow or more, there's pretty good consistency
on the axis of the heavy snow band (across my northern counties) as you can see in the comparison below. However the odds are stronger on the GFS at 90% or greater while the EURO is more like 70-80%.
The GFS 3 inches+
The EURO 3 inches+
Differences really show up when you get to 6 or more inches of snow with 70 percent odds common in the north on the GFS. The EURO is more like 10-20 percent at best!
The GFS 6 inches+
The EURO 6 inches+
Basically, it comes down to the fact the GFS has a slightly stronger surface reflection and for some reason is cranking out more precipitation. The deterministic GFS pressue is at 1011 MB and the EURO is less organized at 1014 on the side by side below
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The high resolution CAMS (U.S. based 3k, 12k, and HRRR) are all in the camp of the GFS being more organized and wetter. They are slightly further north in track as compared to the GFS. At the moment, the EURO is the lightest of all solutions. Let me show you the differences in snowfall output.
The 3k NAM
The 12K NAM
Based on the latest trends, it does seem that the winter storm will have impacts further south as most models are cold enough for little if any mixed precipitation in the south. As a whole, guidance is showing widespread 3-6 inch amounts from I-80 north with some local 7 inch totals possible in banding near HWY 20 where the watch currently resides. The official NWS snowfall forecast at the time of this post shows little if any snow south of I-80. However, all the guidance has at least 2" down to Burlington and roughly HWY 34. The GFS is significantly further south than that. I feel winter weather advisories at some point will be issued for much of the area north of HWY 34. It's possible the winter storm watch could be extended south to I-80 where it could be upgraded to a warning at some point, especially north of HWY 30.
Myself, I am leaning towards accumulations of 1-2" around HWY 34, 3-4" close to I-80, and 4-6" HWY 30 north (possibly up to 7" in spots closer to HWY 20). Of course, we have another day for changes and revisions to occur. But at least for now, that's the way I see it contingent on minor changes. The snow in most places begins Thursday afternoon and last into very early Friday. Blowing snow is not expected to be a big a problem but brisk E/NE winds of 15-25+ could lower visibilities at times, especially in the open country and during periods of heavier snow.
A SHORT BREAK
After a short break Friday afternoon that lasts through Saturday, another NW flow impulse digs southeast Saturday night and Sunday with another chance of snow. At least for now, 1-3 inch totals are a possibility with the highest amounts heavily dependant on the track. A little early to get too focused on this event.
Whew, that was tough write up. Hopefully I've got my game in order. Roll weather...TS