Sunday, February 17, 2013

Model "Flip Flop" Continues on the Mid/Late Week Snowstorm; Severe Weather Still Likely South...

On Friday I posted about a significant winter storm taking aim on the central Plains and Midwest for the period Wednesday night through Friday of this week.  That situation is still "on", but the question remains, who will receive the heaviest of the snow?

On Friday, the European model had a more Southern track with the axis of heaviest snow, with the GFS showing a more Northern track.  Well, the tables have since turned, with the last few runs of both models reversing their own results from Friday.  

Below is the latest run of the European model, showing total snowfall accumulation from Wednesday night through 6pm CST on Friday:

...and the same output from the U.S. based GFS model is shown below:

While both of the models depict significant (i.e., 6 or more inches) of snowfall across the central Plains and Midwest during the period, as you can see, they differ in their depiction of how far South the heaviest snow will fall.  The European is favoring an axis from Nebraska into western Iowa, with the GFS favoring west-central Kansas, Eastward as far as the Iowa/Missouri borders (the latter being a scenario which would place heavy snow in both the Wichita and Kansas City/Columbia, MO areas).

So, which one is right?  While this may not be a popular answer, the honest one is that neither scenario is what you could call "clear-cut" at this point.  Thankfully, we still have time to monitor this situation, and things will become more clear both tomorrow and especially on Tuesday.

In the meantime, if you live or have travel plans across Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Missouri, plan on significant impacts from a winter storm Wednesday night through Friday, with all of the particulars to be sorted out in the coming 24-48 hours...

On Friday I also mentioned the threat of severe weather, including tornadoes, in portions of the lower Mississippi Valley and Deep South in association with this system, especially on Thursday.  That forecast continues to be on track, with the latest severe weather outlook from the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) in Norman, OK shown below:

Both damaging winds and a few tornadoes will be possible in association with this system in the indicated areas on Thursday.  If you live or have travel plans across this region, please remain alert and make sure to have a way of receiving the latest updates and weather warnings.

Stay tuned for updates on both the winter weather and severe thunderstorm / tornado threats with this approaching system over the coming days...

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