Friday, December 21, 2012

Post-Christmas Snow Storm

Update (4PM Christmas Eve):
A BLIZZARD WATCH has now been issued for much of the Local 6 area beginning Tuesday night and continuing through Wednesday morning. Along with significant snowfall totals, blowing and drifting of snow will make travel and being outdoors very difficult within the WATCH area. Please make preparations if you are in the WATCH area for this winter storm as many places will be closed on Christmas Day and may have a tough time opening on Wednesday. Here is the latest snowfall projection map and a look at the counties included in the Blizzard Watch.
18Z RPM Computer Forecast Model 48-hr Snowfall
Watches/Warnings Map (National Weather Service)
If you live in or near the BLIZZARD WATCH area, please be prepared for high-impact winter weather. Conditions will deteriorate quickly Tuesday (Christmas) night. Any shift in the forecast line of heaviest snow is possible as the storm continues to develop to our SW.


Update (9AM Monday Christmas Eve):
The National Weather Service in Paducah has extended the Winter Storm Watch to include a few more additional counties further south. Here is the latest Watch/Warning map:

Once the storm system develops later today/tonight, the computer models should come together a little better to put out more accurate snowfall totals. Current thinking has not changed much. Rain should start to move in Christmas evening with a switchover to sleet/snow by 9-10pm for people in the advisory area. Snow and blowing snow will continue Christmas night into Wednesday morning. One thing that remains pretty consistent is that the higher snow totals look to be over Southern Illinois and Southeast Missouri. Here is a look at the latest projected totals. This will be fine tuned tonight and tomorrow as the storm system develops.
06Z European Model Snow Totals
Be sure to stick close to the forecast and join me for Local 6 at 5, 6, 9, & 10 tonight!

Update (3pm Sunday):
Winter Storm Watch issued by Paducah National Weather Service
Update (11am Sunday):
Fairly consistent has been the focus of heaviest snow along and north of the Ohio River and back southeast into Arkansas. Computer models this morning shifted the heavy snow line about 20 miles to the north. We expect this shift to waver a few more times until we see the area of low pressure actually develop over the southern plains, giving the models a chance to ingest better data. This is often why snow totals change even 24 hours out from the storm. Below is a look at the latest map this morning. In light of all this being said, everyone needs to prepare for harsh winter conditions. If travel is necessary on Wednesday, please be sure to have a preparedness kit in your vehicle in the event you find yourself in need of help while on the roadways. Strong winds will also accompany this storm system and may create blizzard like conditions, especially where the heaviest snow occurs.

Update (Saturday 11pm):
Computer models have been honing in on the Ohio River counties across the Local 6 area for higher snowfall totals. Most of the models agree that the center of low pressure will slide near or east of Nashville. Any further south of there and higher snow totals will also shift south. Here is a look at the latest forecast totals tonight and seems to be fair to consider 3 days out. Rain should switch to sleet and snow as early as Tuesday late evening to midnight with current forecast. As stated below in previous updates, the forecast may change a little before the storm arrives. Keep checking back for twice daily updates here.

Update (Saturday 1pm):
Here is the latest snow map projection where the highest snowfall totals continue to appear to be along and north of the Ohio River. I will continue to post updates throughout the weekend as the forecast will undoubtedly change a little. To read more about the storm, see the earlier update below.

As for more specific totals here are some early numbers (as of Saturday 1pm):
Paducah: 2-4"
Carbondale/Cape: 4-6"
Murray/Martin: 1-2"
Harrisburg/Sikeston: 3-4"
Friday PM:
As I write this on Friday night, forecast computer models continue to waver on an exact track concerning a post-Christmas storm to bring rain then snow to the Local 6 area. Here is a look at our best thoughts on where the track of low pressure will set up.
If this track verifies, we are looking at rain for Christmas Day then mixing with sleet and snow Christmas night before transitioning to snow by midday Wed. This particular track would bring higher snow accumulations to Southern Illinois and Southeast Missouri. Snow accumulations would drop off significantly south of the Ohio River but a dusting to an inch will be possible down to the TN state line.
The following graphic is a PRELIMINARY look at snow totals. This will be fine tuned several times before Tuesday but for those who will be traveling, here is a first glance:
The most important things to remember concerning this winter storm are:
1. The forecast is likely to change a couple of times concerning the track of the low up until Monday or even Tuesday. Stay in tune with the weather especially if you have travel plans.
2. Be prepared!! Whether you are traveling or staying home, prepare for winter weather and what you would need if you lost power or got stuck on local slick roads.
3. Remember to adjust your driving habits. Highest crash/death rates occur with "first" snowfalls compared to other snowfalls during the season.

Stay safe and remember to check back. I will be updating this everyday until the storm arrives!

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