Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Major Spring, Winter Storm to Blanket the Midwest

Almost 5 years to the date (Link), another major late March winter storm is poised to strike the Midwest with heavy snow and severe weather to the south. Moderate snow will break out in the northern Plain on Wednesday morning and spread northeast through the day on Wednesday into the early morning hours of Thursday. Computer models continue to bounce around a tad with the exact track of the axis of heaviest snow, but the map on the left is the best bet of where the 6"+ area will set up. Areas closer to the warm front will see some mixing at times of a heavy wet snow, which will limit snow totals as it melts and compacts through the day and even through the overnight on Thursday. Models have been consistent in placing the heaviest band of snow from far SE MN through an area just north of Green Bay, Wisconsin. Confidence is high in this location, but on the outskirts of the band such as Minneapolis a sharp snow to no snow gradient will set up, so more tweaks may be needed in this area, same goes for Madison and SE Wisconsin as the rain to snow line may change 20-30 miles, which would have a profound effect on the total you see on your doorstep. Thanks for stopping by, and feel free to follow on Twitter for continued updates.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Robust Winter Storm Pegged to Strike the Midwest

A wide area of heavy snow is expected to move into the Midwest by the middle half of the week. With an arctic area of high pressure setting up to the north before this event, ample cold air will be set in place, providing support for accumulating snow. Snow is expected to break out in the northern Plains Wednesday morning and trek east throughout the day on Wednesday into Thursday. Being a Spring storm we would expect a wet and heavy snow, and this will be the case with this winter storm as well. Regarding the amount of snow in your always it will come down to the exact track of the low pressure system. There is heavy model support for a track that takes it through southern Iowa to near Chicago into Lower Michigan. This is our favored track, however, one of the more reliable computer models with a good track record is favoring a track further south, dropping heavy snow into areas of southern Wisconsin, and the outlined area in yellow. The trend this winter with the models is to bring the snow further north that originally thought, so the current forecast we are going with is to drop snow, depicted in the areas on the attached snow map, southern Minnesota and central Wisconsin. Lots to work through in the next 12-24 hours, expect a more detailed and pinned down snow forecast by that point. Either way, someone will see a memorable snow event of of this. Follow on twitter for live updates

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Winter to Silence the Doubters, it's not over quite yet.

A fierce winter storm looks to bring a variety of weather to midwest on Wednesday. Usually these systems in late March are tough to pin down the potential and location of heavy snow, but with ample cold air settling in, it looks to be a classic looking mid-winter snow event. Weather computer models have been coming together through the last couple days of a track through Nebraska to near Chicago and points east. This would lay down a swath of moderate to heavy snow on the northwest side of the track, with thunderstorms further south and west. In all honesty, this system has been very consistent in the latest model runs and atmospheric data, compared to other systems. However, being that it is still 4-5 days out, amounts and exact locations are certainly in question, but the idea of heavy snow is of high confidence, somewhere across the Midwest. Most likely area in question within the blue shading. While this may change, a broad area of 6-10" of snow if possible, depending on whether or not your area sees the bulk of the snow during the day or during the night. Either way, much of it should melt quickly with a higher sun angle this time of year. There are a couple more systems that may threaten the Midwest further down the pipeline as well. Be sure to check back for updates, as the event nears. 

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A Few Tornadoes Likely this Afternoon and Evening

 A strong upper level jet will spawn the chance for a couple tornadoes, one or two of which may be strong to violent later this afternoon and evening. The skies are clearing in central and southern Illinois at this hour, which will setting the stage for strong to severe thunderstorms in the next several hours. The more daytime heating, the more instability and stronger the thunderstorms can grow, as warm air parcels from the surfaces begin to rise as they are warmed. The threat should ramp up in the next 3-4 hours.
Attached are the winds at 500mb, which are key for supercell and tornado development. Notice a maximum in winds over Illinois, this overlayed with the clearing and instability are just some of the key ingredients coming together in this region. Below is a look at the EHI index, which is the energy helicity index, basically looking at the combination of instability and wind shear, values over 2 support tornado development. Be sure to monitor local weather warnings through the evening.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Quick Hitting Snow to be Followed by near Record Warmth

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A weak clipper system will slide in from southern Canada this afternoon into Saturday. Enough cold air will be in place to drop a general 2-4" of snow from northern Minnesota through the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Winter weather advisories have been issued by the National Weather Service. The weather service snow forecast is attached on the right for you. This system is expected to exit the Midwest by Saturday and only bring cool weather for a day or so. Winds will then kick over to a more southerly direction and pump in warm and even moist air from the south heading into next week. The expensive warmth is noted across a variety of models and confidence is high that the Midwest will be well above normal weather will stick around through the next 2 WEEKS! It could rival the warm weather seen in the 2012 Records. This massive ridge developing next week will also kick off some severe weather heading into early next week. We will have more on this active and Spring-like pattern in the next several days.