Saturday, January 23, 2016

Monday Mess Possible?

We have relatively quiet of late, but we will see our next system on Monday and Tuesday. It has been a headache to forecast because of the complicated thermodynamic profile associated with it. We could see freezing drizzle, sleet, snow, rain, or a mix. However, as the day continues to get closer, models are beginning to get a better hold on the event. A low pressure system will develop in Oklahoma and move northeast towards Rockford--likely moving overhead on Monday late in the afternoon. It will draw in moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, so there will be some precipitation for the low to work with. With the expected path taking the low directly over Northern Illinois, sufficient warm air will be drawn in from the South to support plain rain for a good portion of the system's duration (referred to as warm air advection).

As a result, our expected snow totals are very minimal at this time. The colder air will be in place to our north, but for the Stateline itself, temperatures are expected to rise into the middle and upper 30's Monday afternoon before cooling back down late in the evening. Once temperatures cool enough late Monday evening, the precipitation will switch to a rain-snow mix before transitioning to plain snow by 10-11pm.

So while it is with pretty high confidence that snow will be the dominant precipitation type to our north and west, and mostly rain will fall to our south, our particular region is in a tricky area. Confidence is still not very high regarding when exactly the snow will begin, or how much snow can be expected. Everything will come down to how warm we can get Monday early in the evening, and how quickly the cold air begins to push the warmer air away. Again, it does look like snow accumulations will be very light.

Light snow showers are likely late Monday night into early Tuesday morning before sunrise, which could lead to a few slick spots for the Tuesday morning commute. Here's a look at the projected timing of the different precipitation types:

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