The next couple of days are the 25th anniversary of one of the great winter storms in the Ohio Valley. It featured light snow with the first Arctic outbreak that took us below zero on the 14th followed by a truly remarkable event. The next phase was a heavy wind driven freezing rain on the 16th as temperatures warmed to about 30. Then, that transitioned to an 11 hour thumping of heavy snow that preceeded one of the great Arctic outbreaks of all time. By the time this was done there was a coating of light snow with heavy ice on top of that followed by 10 inches of snow to finish the job all frozen by temperatures 20 below zero and colder. It encased the Bluegrass for several days in a winter grip. The Great Storm of 94 was amazing…and by the way that’s the ONLY type of name a winter storm should have…The Storm of XX, not Winter Storm Gertrude or whatever nonsense that cable channel does.
We’ll use that as the preamble to tonight’s extravaganza. A MAJOR winter storm will be impacting a large chunk of the country over the coming 5 days or so. It’s arriving on the West Coast now and will be the stuff of national news stories in the coming days. It too will be followed by a significant push of Arctic air. It’s not the motherlode of 94, but likely to be impressive none-the-less.
If you read yesterday’s entry, we talked about some basic meteorology, not modelology. We used some old school techniques to explain why last weekend’s snow would end up being farther north. Our little warm advection snow was nice, but it was by no means the main event last weekend. Last night we mentioned that a similar process to last weekend, lows looking for boundaries, may work in reverse this weekend. When we wrote last night, the models were advertising a big snow in the I-70 corridor with not a whole lot down this way. Well it was wonderful see on this morning’s Euro run that the heavy snow corridor was now much closer to the Ohio in its depictions. This afternoon’s run went even further…In fact as close as Cincinnati it’s keeping most, if not all, the entire event as snow.
Now the end result will likely vary from this in the fine details, which in the end is really what matters because that’s what ends up in your backyard, but the overall idea, and old school forecasting, may have some merit. (Let’s hear it for the old guys!)
With the low just now coming ashore it will be fun to see how that new and measured data translates into model world. There are some things we know…It’s going to be a BIG system. We’re likely to see most forms of precipiation known to man at some point this weekend…Snow, graupel, sleet, freezing rain and rain and in total there will be large quantities of that, on the order of 1 to 2 inches of liquid equivalent. The proportions of the aforementioned are still up for grabs. Finally, a nasty Arctic outbreak is coming. How severe it gets will be to a degree (pun intended) on what stuff falls. If we put down a nice snow cover between here and the Lakes, the current 8 above easily goes to 8 below. If rain ends up being our primary, then we’ll likely stay above zero.
This will be fun to watch. If the Euro stays consistent tomorrow, the confidence grows to put some numbers with this later Thursday. This begins early Saturday, so this weekend is likely an E ticket attraction somewhere close by as winter arrives for real after its November preview.
By the way, the overall pattern is looking to flip here and there’s A LOT of Arctic air on our side of the planet. Hopefully you’ve enjoyed your not quite as painful power bills, because that’s likely to change.
Stay tuned boys and girls…
All the best…