Saturday, February 23, 2013

Last week of February will not be a quiet one

Snowfall during the month of February has been anything but lacking.  We've received over 15" of snow this month boosting us nearly 9" above our month average.  Unfortunately, when looking back to December 1st (which is the beginning of Meteorological Winter) we're still almost 8" below.  While we've made up for lost time these past few weeks it looks like the last week of February will not go out quiet.

The next winter storm has already moved into the Pacific Northwest and will dive out of the southern Rockies and into the panhandles of Oklahoma and Texas by Sunday night.  By Monday the low will be moving near the Missouri/Arkansas border and then to St. Louis, MO by Monday night.  Tuesday the low will be tracking across central Illinois before moving into Michigan by Wednesday.  Unlike this past storm that just came through, this one looks to take a more southern track.  One reason, the recent snowfall we received will act somewhat like a baroclinic zone ( mini frontal boundary ).  Storm systems tend to follow where there is the greatest temperature gradient.  An area that has snow cover on the ground often times is cooler than a surrounding area that doesn't have as much or very little snow cover.  As of Saturday afternoon the ground was white down through central Illinois and almost all of Missouri.  Now by Sunday some of the snow will have likely melted due to the sunshine expected, but there should still be a little snow left on the ground.  Some accumulating snow will be likely across the area Tuesday but the temperature profile may be a bigger factor with this storm than with the last.  Warmer air wrapping into the storm from the east and southeast could cause a mixture of sleet, rain or even freezing rain from a line east of Kenosha, WI to Woodstock to Rochelle to Dixon while areas west of that line have a greater probability of all snow.
Accumulating snow will occur for parts of Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin but just like the last storm, this one will also be in a weakening phase when it arrives.  Once this main low passes it'll continue to spin in the eastern Great Lakes for the next few days keeping snow in the forecast through next Thursday. 

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