Big weekend winter weather maker heading our way

Cbus Weather Nerd

After a quick round of snow that will generally bring an inch or two of snow to parts of our area on Thursday.  All eyes will quick turn to our next system that will arrive on Saturday.

First things first… how much are we expecting?

So a complex storm system requires a complex snowfall forecast right?  Trust me, I have been laboring over these snowfall totals for a day or so now.  I have looked at a ton of data.  

As of right now, I have higher confidence that the northwest and northern parts of the state will see the highest snowfall totals.  I also think the southeast and southern part of the state are going to have the highest rainfall totals, and they could be impressive. 

Everything in between is somewhat in flux over the next few days, and really, could have some big swings even the day of.

What makes this forecast so difficult?

First, it is far away.  Like energy from a strong low off the northwest coast of the US will make its way inland overnight tonight and Thursday.  The low that will be impacting us will be more noticable giving the eastern half of the Rockies snow on Friday early.

This system will then make a quick visit through the mid-south, and then begin to make the turn up to the northeast.  This will be deepening, meaning breezy to windy conditions, and it will be getting stronger as it gets a bit closer to us.

Remember that lows turn counter-clockwise, and this one will be stronger and more north than last weekend’s low.  It will also have a good tap of Gulf moisture with it too. That moist air ahead of the low that is getting pulled up and into the system will have some warmer air riding up above the colder surface temps.

Yes, we will have some warmer surface temps too.  Just like a sandwich, the type depends on the ingredients, and this storm system will have different ingredients in the different levels of the atmosphere.

Lets compare the longer range American GFS model to our in-house high res model for this weekend.

Above is the GFS for Saturday morning.  Notice the icy mix along I-70 in the morning, with snow north.

Through the day the low will get closer to southern Ohio (GFS) and there is more moderate to heavy rain in the SE part of the state, icy mix up I-71, and again, snow north and northwest.

The GFS takes this system east of Ohio by late Saturday night, and that icy mix line begins to collapse near the Ohio river, with MUCH COLDER air moving in on the backside changing the remain precip. type to snow.

By Sunday morning the GFS, has some left over snow showers on the backside, which may accumulate to some minor totals in the south too, but it will turn much colder, breezy, and temps will fall into the single digits during the day with wind chills below zero.

Our in-house forecast model is showing a somewhat similar set-up.

Again, scattered precip. early on Saturday morning, with a possible light mix line along I-70, rain showers south, snow showers northwest.

During the day, it gets pretty silly, as again, heavy rain will be possible south/southeast, mix line still near I-71, and snow north/northwest.

Our in house model starts to move quicker with this low Saturday night, bringing lower ice totals as the colder air moves in quicker changing this all over to snow by Saturday night.  Also, it has gustier winds too expected.

By Sunday Morning, we have a strong northwesterly flow, which should produce some scattered cold flurries, but not as much precip. left over.

Bottom line… expect a mess this Saturday/Saturday night

The snowfall forecast totals as you noticed above have a very tight gradient in where we could see pretty heavy snowfall totals, and where we could see more rain, and there is a large area basically southeast of I-71 & I-70 where some changeover could occur on Saturday.

I think this forecast will need to be adjusted a bit based on the track, and yes the additional data that comes in over the next few days.  There has been some pretty wacky numbers that have been coming in from very low totals to very high totals, and those are changing with almost every run.

What we look for is a consistent lock on this low over the next couple of days, and we will make adjustments to the forecast.  There will be some areas that could see some major changes based on the low shifting 20 or 30 miles, so keep a close eye on the forecast this weekend, especially if you have plans.  

Saturday is shaping up to be an interesting day for sure!  

Stay tuned

-Dave

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