Ok as of 7:00 tonight we are about 20 – 24 hours out from wide spread precipitation. I say precipitation because there will likely be several types. The system that will eventually cause this is vacationing in California as we speak.
Let’s get caught up on Watches and Warnings. Winter Storm Watches (BLUE) remain in effect for much of the area. Winter Storm Warnings have been issued north of us. If you’re wondering why there are watches and warnings at the same time..I have that answer for you. North of us, it looks like the dominate precip. type will be snow and lots of it. In our immediate area we will see some snow, but it will be much later and less relatively speaking to what folks in the warning will see. More on that in a bit.
First things first tonight. We have been talking about the chance for freezing rain overnight into Thursday morning. There is still that chance for a few slick spots, but I think few is the key word. Freezing rain implies that rain freezes. Temperatures at the surface need to be around 32 degrees or a bit below. With the clouds in the Upper Midwest, I think it will be hard for widespread freezing temperatures and most of the liquid falling Thursday morning will be in the form of rain. But do be on the lookout for slick spots Thursday morning.
Temperatures will warm into the mid to upper 30s through the afternoon so anything that falls should be in the form of rain with occasional sleet pellet or snow flake.
Now the moment we have all been waiting for. The good news is that if you don’t like snow, the heaviest amounts will likely stay north. As we have been mentioning though, a jog in the track 25-50 miles will bring big changes to and it is important to check the latest forecast.
As it appears now, widespread rain and sleet will move in for much if the area in the late afternoon to early evening hours. This will be the first push of moisture from a pretty potent storm. The transition to snow will come late Thursday night and probably in the early morning hours of Friday. In terms of snow, when all is said and done a general to 2-5″ can be expected. Less if the transition to snow takes a bit longer and more if it comes quicker. We will be watching this closely: As of right now though, the dominant precip. type locally will be rain on Thursday afternoon, with freezing rain and sleet mixing in later on in the evening before the transition to all snow Friday morning.
Slicks spots Thursday morning (Out ahead of main system)
Slick spots Thursday evening as temperatures at the surface cool down, we could have another period or periods of freezing rain.
Difficult Fri. AM commute as we will see transition to mainly snow. Wind will also crank up with gusts around 40mph.
I’m throwing in an outside chance we could see power outages. If we see a prolonged period of freezing rain Thursday evening, plus with the heavy and wet nature of the snow, power lines will be weighed down. Throw a 40mph gust on top of that and we could have some problems. Now again, I’m not expecting anything crazy in terms of power problems, but always a chance.
We will continue to fine tune the forecast if needed leading up to its arrival and during the event. The worst of the storm does look like it is staying north of the area.