BLOG: Major Winter Storm Pounces Sunday/Sunday Night

Good morning! As I promised last evening on Facebook and Twitter, this morning is the moment that we have to really hone in on the storm for Sunday and Sunday night. The computer models have come into pretty good agreement and have shifted the track of the system fairly substantially over the last 24 hours. What does this mean?

SNOW! And potentially lots of it. Let’s go step by step.

At 7am Sunday, some light snow will be pushing in. Roads can get slick quickly Sunday morning even if the snow if light. 7am

By midday, steady snow will be ongoing..ands probably starting to pick up in intensity. 1pm: 1pm


As we are settling in to watch the Super Bowl (on 21 WFMJ, of course) it should be snowing at a good clip. Stay in if you can. Travel will be tough. 7pm

From this point through the overnight hours, the snow will probably be pretty heavy. 1am: 1am

By daybreak Monday, the worst will be over but it roads are probably still going to be pretty messy. 7am: 7ammonday

Ok, so how much snow are we looking at? One way to look at snow predictions is by examining the percent chance of an amount of snow accumulating. Sometimes this is more useful than “xx” number of inches, especially a couple of days from a storm. It helps convey the degree of confidence we have.

NWS odds of more than 1″ (through daybreak Monday. There can be small additional accumulations after that point).  Really high: 1inch

2 inches: 2inch

4 inches: 4inch

6 inches: 6inch

and finally 8 inches: 8inch

I think these percentages are reasonable and would not be surprised if they are raised a bit later today, especially north of I-70.

Here’s our initial snow forecast. Keep in mind….this is the FIRST stab. As you know, a wobble in the expected storm track can sometimes make a big difference. CHECK THE FORECAST OFTEN TODAY AND TOMORROW on social media, TV and snowmapbigsnowmapclose

This has the potential to be our biggest snow event of the season so far.

Keep in mind: This will be an almost 24 hour event! Plan accordingly.

Impacts on roads will be high and I suspect Monday will feature plenty of school delays or cancellations. IMPACTS

Much more this afternoon on “Weather For Weather Geeks”, Facebook and Twitter. A full update on 21 News at 6&11. Thanks for reading!


BLOG: Strongest “Clipper” of the Season Sunday

It has been a very average Winter so far in the snow department; much of the snow the region has picked up has been by way of “Alberta Clippers”, the fast-moving areas of low pressure that originate in western Canada and swing through the Great Lakes region. We have another one of those types of systems coming Sunday, but this will be the strongest one of the season so far.

First off: a disclaimer….this remains a somewhat low-confidence forecast. I’ll show you why in this Blog. Check the forecast often over the next 36 hours as small changes in the track of the system can result in significant changes to the snow totals.

I always think it is interesting to look at how innocuous high-impact systems can look a couple of days before they cruise through. Sunday’s storm is just a “blip” in the overall flow of air at 18,000 feet over the eastern Pacific. 500nowBut this ripple in the flow will become more of a “wave” as it heads over the ridge on the West Coast and dives into the Midwest of the US.

By early Sunday afternoon, the system will be over Illinois, with snow spreading east: 1pm


I think snow will start off light in the early afternoon, but will pick up in intensity as the storm makes its way into Indiana and southern Ohio in the early evening: 7pmThe heaviest of the snow will fall in the evening, and then the snow will begin to taper off overnight as the system pushes east: 1am

By daybreak Monday, the worst of the storm will be long over, but it can still be snowing lightly and road crews will probably still be in “catch up” mode. 7am

The TRACK of the system is going to be very important as it will determine where the heaviest band of snow sets up. A 50-100 mile change can make a big difference. Remember the map I showed at the top, indicating the disturbance that will become our storm is still over the Pacific? Until it gets over land and can be “sampled”, the computer models will not have the optimum amount of information about the system “baked into” them. So, we likely will not have a high degree of confidence in the track until tomorrow.

Have a look at a few dozen versions of the latest European model (in other words, the “ensemble” version of the model). Sunday afternoon the “L”s are packed pretty close together in Indiana, meaning the model has a decent amount of confidence in the location of the storm at that time: ens1pmBut by evening, the L’s are a little more scattered…so the model is less sure where the center of the system will be at that time: ens7pm

Want to be a meteorologist? Figuring this stuff out is FUN, I admit…like piecing together a puzzle. But it is also maddening because we know that the viewers/followers do not like uncertainty and one of the things that we are not great at is COMMUNICATING degrees of uncertainty. One of the hot topics in the field of meteorology is the communication of uncertainty and how we can be better.

One way to communicate it is by using percentages. The odds of something happening. That’s why I like these maps. Here’s the NWS odds of more than 2″ of snow with Sunday’s storm: 2inches

Very good odds.   How about 4″? Here ya go: 4inchesPretty decent, 40-50% locally. Then the odds go way down for 6″: 6inches


So, as of Friday morning, I like a general 3-5″ storm for the WFMJ viewing area. But again, this is not etched in stone. Check back often. I will have a full update on “Weather For Weather Geeks” this afternoon as well as on 21 News at 6&11. Thanks for reading and have a great weekend!