Good morning bloggers,
The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for the entire viewing area!
Anticipation is building as a major winter storm approaches the area. This appears it will be our biggest storm of the winter season so far.
Weather Forecast Timeline
- Today: Sunny and cold. A second surge of cold air will arrive later today and tonight. This will set the stage for the storm system that is moving into Southern California today
- Tonight: Clear & very cold. Low: 12°
- Wednesday: Increasing clouds with no chance of any snow or sleet. High: 29°
- Wednesday Night: Snow, Sleet, and Freezing Rain developing. Accumulations are likely before the morning rush hour. Low: 22°
- Thursday: Heavy snow, sleet, and freezing rain. A 100% chance and there will likely be a few thunderstorms. Yes, thunderstorms with snow and sleet are likely! Significant accumulations will cause very slick and hazardous driving conditions. Temperatures in the 20s with wind chills near zero. The wind will be blowing at 20 to 25 mph and this will cause some blowing and drifting of the snow.
This is the snowfall forecast that we issued last night. Our weather team will continue to analyze the data and update this forecast later today and on Wednesday as the storm approaches. Temperatures will be well below freezing which will increase the liquid to snow ratio to around 12 to 1. So, one inch of rain would likely be able to result in 12 inches of snow with the temperatures in the middle 20s expected during this storm. Now, one question that comes to mind is will it all be snow, or will there be sleet and freezing rain mixed in. Sleet is frozen rain drops that are ice before reaching he ground. Freezing rain is liquid rain that freezes on contact with the ground. There may be a thin zone that has freezing rain and this area will have the highest potential for having accumulation of ice on power lines. Right now it appears this threat is south of Kansas City. Here is a forecast map for just after 2 AM Thursday morning.
A storm is now dropping into the Los Angeles area of Southern California. 2 feet of snow will likely fall in the mountains around LA with snow levels lowering to 3,000 feet, or possibly even lower. I grew up out there and when the snow falls that low it becomes a beautiful scene all around Southern California with snow all over the mountains. The upper level low, that will become our storm system, is just now in the process of developing. And, then it will intensify and move our way. It will then move out into the plains and weaken. This is one of the unusual characteristics of this storm I have been talking about. And, if you wonder how this upper level storm is related to the LRC (which is directly related to a November 10th storm and the New Year’s Eve snowstorm), go to Weather 2020 blog and click on the blog. It will leave you with confidence that the LRC exists. I have been expecting this storm around February 20th for 50 days now and it is right on schedule. Now, why is this storm being described as unusual?
This storm is becoming vertically stacked. This means that the upper level low will be almost directly over the low centers at other levels. In most storm systems this is not the case. And, not only is it becoming vertically stacked as it moves out into the plains, but the surface low is going to end up well to the south and southwest of the storm. This is likely happening in response to another storm dropping into the southwestern states and the pressures are beginning to be affected by the second storm, even though the ejecting storm is dominant. I can imagine how complex this is, and my meteorological mind is having a hard time with this as well. But, it is truly happening and it makes this storm quite rare, but related to this year’s weather pattern. As you can see on this surface map, the surface low is near Amarillo, while the upper level low is in western Kansas.
This next map shows an 850 mb map valid at noon Thursday. This is the 5,000 foot level and if you were to just show me this map and I knew nothing else I would think that the upper level low was in eastern New Mexico. But, it isn’t. And, I would think, wow, Kansas City is going to have a major snowstorm, and we may have one? But, the parameters are somewhat backwards. This IS UNUSUAL. It’s how I see it, but for us to get snow sometimes you need something a little different to happen.
The new NAM model does it’s usual thing of being ridiculously wet. This solution would produce one foot snow amounts in our viewing area, but let’s hang on and see how the models trend. Thank you for spending a few minutes reading the Action Weather Blog and let us know if you have any questions. I will be working on a new blog later today. It may take until after the 6 PM newscast.