Friday, February 27, 2015

Moderate Snow Saturday into Sunday

A developing area of low pressure will pass over the Ohio River Valley over the weekend. An area of snow will fall on the back side of the system. It appears that a general 3-6" snowfall will fall from Nebraska to Ohio. There may be some 7" amounts in isolated areas within the band.

The next storm looks to strike the Midwest Tuesday. It will be even stronger and affect areas further to the north that have been stricken of snow in recent weeks. Stay tuned for updates

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Quick Hitting Alberta Clipper

A quick hitting, fluffy snow event will take place tomorrow, with Iowa in the bulls eye. The snow will be accompanied by an Alberta Clipper that is forming in southwestern Canada at this moment. Snow will begin to break out along a frontal boundary tonight in the Dakotas and develop rapidly, with a band of heavier snow through central South Dakota to Iowa, before weakening in the moisture stricken area near Illinois. Winter weather advisories and warnings have already been issued in anticipation. The weekend storm is looking less and less impressive.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Persistent Alaskan Ridge to Favor More Cold Blasts, maybe a storm?

More of the same on the way for much of the United States, cold, and substantial cold. All time records are in danger yet again as we start this next work week, especially around the Ohio River Valley. The general pattern over the next 10-15 days will feature a massive ridge over the Pacific Ocean. This will allow multiple shots of cold, arctic air on the same caliber as the past 10+ days to filter into the US. As storm systems continue to pass into the north Pacific, warm air is ushered north.
As a result, the flow pushes the jet stream north. Since the Polar jet acts like a wave, any perturbation must be felt down stream. In this case a massive trough sets up in the eastern half of the country. The attached map shows the geopotential height anomalies off the GFS model, a good indication of where troughs and ridges will likely set up. The warm anomalies can be thought of as ridges, and cold anomalies troughs. The CPC agrees with continued cold air across much of the CONUS over the next 8-14 days. This pattern is similar to the one that set up in January last year. Luckily, we are heading into March, so the sun angle is higher in the sky and "Polar Vortex-like" temperatures will not be seen. However, departures from average will be extensive, and there will be nothing Spring-like about the next two weeks.

It has been generally dry, or snow free in the Midwest over the past month or so. This can be attributed to the northwest to southeast flow. Alberta clippers can form on such a pattern, but they are usually moisture stricken, as their origin is in a cold dry area of Canada. Meanwhile, the east coast was orientated directly in the active storm track. There is a potential that we could head into a more stormy pattern, in the Midwest. Some models suggest the trough to push far enough west and high pressure to build off the east coast. This would allow the jet stream and storm track to set up through the Great Lakes, with snow to the west of the storm track.  This would be very favorable for winter storms and cyclones in the Midwest. It would also signal warmer weather for the east coast. Our first opportunity of this change comes in next weekend. The European and american models are showing decent snow across Iowa and Wisconsin, as a storm system and substantial line of baroclinicity sets up. We will need to watch this closely and provide updates, as needed if these storms come to fruition.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Snow and Ice Across the Ohio River Valley Saturday

A storm system is beginning to get its act together in Northern Texas. An area of sleet and freezing rain has now developed ahead of the low pressure in an area of significant lift in the atmosphere, along an area of baroclinicity. Much of this precipitation will kick over to all snow as cold air wins out in Illinois and points east. As the system cross into the Southern Ohio River Valley, it will begin to deepen and draw in significant Gulf of Mexico moisture and deposit it into the cold air mass to the north. Ground temperatures will are cold enough for accumulation to begin at the onset of the snow. A wide area of 3-6" will be likely north of the Ohio River, with the potential for up to 7" or 8" in an area that has the potential to stay all snow throughout the event.

On the warm side of the system, freezing rain will be a concern. Winter storm warnings and ice storm warnings are in effect for tonight through Saturday. On the right is the freezing rain potential, courtesy of the WPC. With warm air aloft and a substantial cold air layer near the surface, ice accumulation is yet again going to stack up, on the order of a quarter inch or more. Power outages and impassable roads can be expected in the hardest hit locations. We have attached a snapshot of the 18z GFS, at the height of the storm. One thing to notice is that the rain/snow line, as per usual, will feature a sharp cut off. Any minor tweaks to the track, or strength of the cold air could majorly impact snow totals in some areas. Along with the expansive cold across the eastern US, winter is definitely not over yet. The pattern looks to stay cold for the next 10 days, when we may switch over to a more zonal and warm pattern, fingers crossed.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Storm System to Pass through Ohio River Valley

It looks to be a bit of a mess for the weekend in some of the same areas. While we are historically cold in some area, much of this system looks to be on the warmer side of things. A few inches of snow are possible on the back side, with 3-5" possible as the system reaches Ohio. On the warm size, widespread sleet and freezing rain will likely cause travel issues, before kicking over to rain as more warm air is pulled into the center of the storm.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

POTENTIAL Snow Maker this Weekend

The latest GFS model run is in, and it shows the potential for a winter storm this weekend. This feature has been in the models several days ago, but has since vanished. Well, it is back in full force. The GFS has been the best model to be the first to pick out a winter storm this year. IF THIS VERIFIES, we are looking at a 4-8" storm somewhere in the Midwest. We will certainly keep you updated in the coming days on this potential winter storm. Stay tuned.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Major Ice and Snow Storm to Impact Rare Areas

Yet another winter storm to strike eastern parts of the country. This time areas further south will get into the action. From Missouri to New Jersey, several inched of snow are likely with frozen precipitation points further south. The heaviest snow looks to fall in Central and Eastern Kentucky, where over a foot of snow is likely in localized areas. Meanwhile from Arkansas to North Carolina, significant and dangerous freezing rain will set up, over a half inch of ice may fall over a wide area. Power outages will be a rule of thumb by Monday and Tuesday.
Here is a forecast sounding off the American GFS model for an area just south of Little Rock Arkansas. This is a textbook example of a freezing rain sounding. The precipitation begins as snow above 700mb, it then hits 700-900mb up into the atmosphere, where temps are above freezing, so it melts. Once the precipitation hits 900mb it will then begin to refreeze on contact, as ground temperatures are forecasted to be in the middle half of the 20s! This could be a dangerous situation and a news worthy freezing rain event as the work week begins.

Even if you miss out on the direct impacts of the cyclone, cold air will fill the eastern half of the country by Wednesday and Thursday. It will be even colder than it has been this weekend, as another piece of the polar vortex drops south, thanks to an expansive ridge in the west and cyclone energy in the east. Wind chill warnings and advisories will certainly be issued by the NWS in the coming days. We have mapped out the area where high temperatures are in danger of not reaching zero on either Wednesday or Thursday, this would be over 36 hours of below zero weather. The pattern is going along with our Original Winter Forecast, so hopefully our projection of a relatively warmer start to spring holds true and the analog forecast years verify. Thanks for stopping by the page and be sure to 'like' our Facebook page for more content and updates, there is like box on the right panel for your convenience. Stay warm out there.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Excessive Cold to Last through February

Here comes winter, again. The pattern that brought much of the winter storms to the east coast and quick hitting clippers to the midwest will amplify further. This will allow could Canadian air masses into the eastern 2/3 of the country as the jet stream looks to stay south. There will be occasional warm-ups ahead of storm systems, but when they pass through the winds will quickly shift to the north and cool thing down considerably once again. Highs will run 15-30 degrees below normal through much of the next 2 weeks, with the exception of 1-2 days warm-ups.

The attached video is a loop of surface temperature anomalies off the 18z GFS model. It shows the persistent cold through the next 16 days, mainly in the east. While 2 meter temperatures off models are not the best forecast tool for surface temperatures, it does give a general idea of what we are thinking at Midwest Weather. Below is the 250mb mean wind, it shows a large ridge in the west and a trough in the east. This is the common recipe for prolonged cold spells. Meanwhile, Alaska stays warm, likely warmer than much of the Midwest over the next couple weeks, something to pay attention to .

Monday, February 9, 2015

Accumulating Snow and Freezing Rain

A weak system will bring a few inches of snow to the upper Midwest starting Tuesday afternoon and lasting into Wednesday, depending on your location. Nothing to major, as much of the snow will come Tuesday night, with the exception of Minnesota, where the snow will begin Tuesday afternoon, which could lead to a slick rush hour near Minneapolis. Total snow amounts are mapped out for you. Winter weather advisories are now in effect, mainly in our 2-4" band. Meanwhile, freezing rain will impact areas where warm air aloft will work in as the precipitation shield is still in place. Those areas are in pink, much of this area is under a freezing rain advisory. 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Alberta Clipper to Impact the Midwest Tuesday into Wednesday

A weak system will bring a few inches of snow to the upper Midwest starting Tuesday afternoon and lasting into Wednesday, depending on your location. Nothing to major, as much of the snow will come Tuesday night, with the exception of Minnesota, where the snow will begin Tuesday afternoon, which could lead to a slick rush hour near Minneapolis. Winter weather advisories may need to be posted as the event nears. The models have been coming in heavier, we will watch this trend, and may need to buff totals up. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Quick Hitting System moving through the Midwest

An Alberta Clipper will continue to impact the area Tuesday. A rapid accumulation of snow will start Tuesday afternoon and continue into the evening for much of the area. Accumulations of 1-3" can be expected, but a couple isolated areas of 4" are certainly possible within the larger 1-3" band of snow. With temperatures well below freezing, the snow will accumulate quicker than usual, as the snow will fluff up and allow for air to be trapped within the layer. It will affect the evening travel situation, consequently winter weather advisories have been issued:

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Initial Snow Totals from the Pre-Groundhog Day Blizzard of 2015

Here are the latest numbers in from your reports and NWS observations. Thanks for those who sent thier reports via social media. The forecast looks like it will hold. Will be very interesting to see if we can squeak out a 20" amount in northeast Ilinios, as we stated was possible in a prior post with the heavier lake enhanced bands. Take it easy if you must travel to those Super Bowl parties this afternoon. Snow emergencies have been issued across several states, meaning parking on city streets may warrant a ticket. Let the plows do their work.