Possible Winter Storm Scenarios

February 26, 2012 0 Comments

You may have heard, but it looks like the biggest storm of year in the area is heading this direction and will be here as early as lunch time on Tuesday.  The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch (Blue on map below) that goes into effect on Tuesday and lasts through Wednesday evening.   The green represents a Blizzard Watch for portions of western Minnesota and the Dakotas.

In a storm like this the storm track means everything and will determine whether or not the bulk of the precip will fall as snow, rain or freezing rain.


First things first.  We are expecting an area low pressure to develop out of the Rockies as a strong upper level disturbance moves through.  All of that energy will eventually be heading this way and will have  a ton of moisture to work.  As the low moves through the plains states it is going to pull up abundant supply of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico.

Storm will pull Gulf of Mexico moisture northward as it moves through the Upper Midwest

The next question is how will this moisture be dumped?  Snow, Freezing Rain, Rain or all of the above.  Once the storm moves out of the Rockies, the track of the surface low is crucial.  Here are a couple of scenarios.  If you want heavy snow with pretty nice accumulations you want track 2, the southern track.

A couple of scenarios for potential storm Tue/Wed



The more the center of low pressure goes to the north, the better chance we have to see some freezing rain or even straight rain mix in and that will cut down on snow totals.  For the best snow you want to be sitting on the “cold”  (northwest) side  of the low.  As this storm begins to develop out of the Rockies on Monday, we will have a better idea of where this thing is headed.  Just a 100 miles or even less will change the impact drastically.


Futurecast has snow starting things out in the late morning on Tuesday as some snow and as warm air is brought up from the south, the snow will mix in in with some rain or freezing rain.  This is just one outcome.  At this point it is to early to tell how much of what we are expecting, but as we can pin down how much warm air gets pulled in and the actual track we will know much more.  Bottom line with this one, there is going to be a lot of moisture and the storm looks to be pretty large in size.  Stay tuned for more updates.


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