Saturday, November 26, 2011

Cold Blast Progressing Southward; Snow is Spotty - Heavy Far North

Cold air is blasting Southward across the High Plains this morning, and will make it all the way to the Gulf Coast by the end of the day. Below are the latest surface weather maps with the current position of the cold front noted by the solid blue line on each. The first view is from the central Plains, and the second from the South:

Strong North winds of 20-30 mph with gusts to 40 mph will be common behind the front, spreading across most of Kansas, Oklahoma, eastern Colorado and New Mexico and Texas throughout the day.  By 6 am CST on Sunday morning, temperatures will be well below normal across much of the central and Southern Plains, as noted by the green and blue shadings on the GFS computer model forecast image below: 

Thus far, significant snow has been confined to the Canadian border areas of northern Minnesota and Wisconsin in association with this system, and that general trend is expected to continue today and tonight.

The models still hint that some light snow will take place across portions of the Ozarks from Arkansas into southern Missouri later tonight, as indicated by the light grey splotches on the GFS snow depth forecast image below, valid 6am CST on Sunday morning:

Any snow that falls in this region is not likely to be heavy enough to cause travel problems, and most of it will occur during the nighttime hours - so you'd have to stay up late tonight if you want to see some snow falling across the area the way it looks right now...

Some meaningful rain is taking place in advance of this system across Texas this morning, and will advance into the Mississippi Valley today and tonight ahead of the front.  Total rainfall potential through 6am CST Sunday looks like this:

Some of the thunderstorms that form ahead of this system this afternoon and evening could become strong to severe across portions of the Deep South, as indicated by the yellow shaded areas on the image below:

The big question now is how much will this system get "wound up" as it progresses Eastward into the early part of next week.  Computer models are currently calling for snow to fall on a more widespread basis Monday and Tuesday, but are not hinting at particularly significant totals at this time.  Below are the GFS snow depth forecasts valid 6pm CST Tuesday and 6pm CST on Wednesday:

Right now the models hint at a dusting to 3 inches in most of the grey shaded areas.  At this point I would look at this as the likely locations for snow to take place, and not focus too much on the accumulation forecast that is indicated.  We'll need to fine tune that over the next couple of days as the situation begins to unfold.

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