Sunday, December 27, 2015

HEAVY SNOW and near Blizzard Conditions Monday

A strong cyclone will move into the Midwest Monday into Tuesday from the south. Ample moisture and enough cold air will be in place to drop excessive amounts of snow across the area. This system is already responsible for 3 FEET of snow in West Texas and is poised for the Midwest. We will not see quite that much, but many areas have the potential to reach a foot of snow with this system. Exactly where the heaviest bands set up will play a major role in who sees these high totals. Western Iowa to far southeast Minnesota looks to be in the hot zone for the heaviest snow, with the U.P. of Michigan also seeing some lake enhancement, where totals over a foot will be common by Tuesday. Another complication to the forecast and travel conditions will be some sleet and freezing rain mixing in for a period of time in eastern Iowa and southeast Wisconsin. Warm aloft, will poke in from the southeast and create a narrow layer of melting. Just how far that can get north will effect snow ratios and snow totals. While this may cut into totals a tad,  snow and sleet accumulations will still be substantial across these areas, a winter storm warning is in effect across these parts and points north and west.

On the right is the expect start time for either snow (in Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin) or sleet/rain (in Michigan). Once the band reaches you area, expect it to stick around for 18-24 hours. The snow will be heavy at times, with snowfall rates of around an inch an hour expected during the height of the event, before wrapping up late Monday night into Tuesday morning. Some flurries and snow showers could linger into Tuesday across Minnesota and Wisconsin, as cold air aloft works into the area, snow totals less than an inch expected Tuesday.

Furthermore, gusty winds in Eastern Iowa and Southern Wisconsin will also bring major issued to the areas. Combined with the freezing rain potential, wind gusts over 40mph could cause major issues, including power outages. Blizzard criteria may be reached in southern Wisconsin and parts of Iowa tomorrow afternoon. This will need to be watched closely heading into Monday. The map on the left shows the GFS modeled peak wind gusts Monday evening, courtesy of weatherbell. Thanks for stopping by Midwest Weather and be sure to like us on Facebook and Follow me on Twitter!

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Possibly Travel Crippling Snow and Ice Storm on the way

A major dynamic storm system is currently dropping heavy snow as far south as northern Mexico, and is poised to charge north into the Upper Midwest. All types of weather will be likely, from rain to freezing rain to sleet and snow. While the snow will be heavy, the real story could be a major icing event. Over a quarter inch of ice is possible, combine this with high winds, and a serious situation could unfold on Tuesday. Model consistency is not to the point where we would like it at this point, but the map above draws out the "most likely" scenario. Most models do take the heaviest snow from central Kansas north through Lake Superior. This has also been the trend to bring the storm more northwest than originally forecasted. However, there has been some model runs that shift the storm southeast and lay down 6-12" of snow in eastern Iowa to southern Wisconsin and Lower Michigan. This will need to be a trend to watch. Either way, a widespread swath of 6"+ is very likely across the Midwest Monday into Tuesday. The thought is that this model (the GFS) will shift northwest again to follow its other fellow models, in the next few runs. Be sure to monitor the latest forecasts and keep it here to Midwest Weather for updates, You can also follow me on Twitter for more discussion.

Below is a look at two major weather models. **NOT A FORECAST** But it does show the spread in challenges given to a meteorologist. Using a general 10 to 1 liquid to snow ratio:

Monday, December 14, 2015

El Nino to Stand its Ground through the New Year

At this point in the winter it is no secret that El Nino is strong, and has already toppled records, depending on what index you look at. With that said, it certainly continues to play a critical role on the weather across the Lower 48. Over the weekend, record high temperatures were recorded in 23 states, mainly east of the Mississippi River. This unprecedented warm stretch of weather is thanks to a large ridge that has persisted over the eastern half of the country. This blocking, pushes the jet stream north and allows warmer weather from lower latitudes to move north as well. While some people may be ready for winter, mother nature has different ideas. Besides a brief cool down later this week, the rest of December looks to stay on the warm side, east of the Mississippi River.

However, this battling of air masses could set up a major storm system around Christmas. Current indications are that it will be cold enough for snow north and west of the track. We are still 10 days out from the event, so the track is in question, but the best guess would take it up from the southern Plains to the Upper Mississippi River Valley. It looks to the be the best shot for a white Christmas across the most populated areas in the Midwest, besides Tuesday-Wednesday for areas further west...see snow map below. Be sure to check back for updates on this possible Christmas Winter Storm in the coming days!