Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Watching the weekend

Spring may have started early Wednesday morning but it feels anything but spring-like outside!  Temperatures this afternoon will remain on either side of 20° with a slight chance for a few isolated snow showers to develop later this afternoon and evening.  Things will remain quiet through the end of the week but the wintry weather may not be over with just yet. 

Developing low pressure in the Pacific Northwest will move east of the Rockies by Friday with surface low pressure developing near the panhandle of Texas/Oklahoma by Saturday morning.  The European model takes this low and zips it across the lower Mississippi River Valley Saturday night and Sunday with it already in the southeast by Monday.  Assuming this track holds true any type of snow, or precipitation, would completely bypass us with reinforcing cold air by early next week.

The GFS, on the other hand, has the same surface low developing late Friday night but tracking further northeast from the panhandle of Oklahoma/Texas through Arkansas Saturday night and into Central Illinois by Sunday morning.  If this track were to happen the thermal profile throughout the atmosphere would support snow...and a lot of it.

Looking at some of the atmospheric features leading up to the weekend we've got a fairly strong and cold high pressure system that will be moving through the Great Lakes and settling into the Northeast by the weekend.  This high may act as a blocking mechanism to help shift the storm track further south.  Also, the active storm track will remain to the south due to the excess cold air in place, even though there will be a slight modification in temperatures by the weekend.  (Click here to read why we're so cold)

The European model has had a better track record for handling long range storm systems so my initial thought would be to side with a slightly southern storm track Saturday night through Monday morning.  Do I think we'll remain completely dry this weekend?  No, I do believe we'll see some sort of precipitation Sunday and Monday.  Now whether or not it's all snow or a mixture of rain and snow is yet to be seen.

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