Saturday, January 30, 2016

Newest Information on Tuesday's Storm

The forecast for Tuesday is still a difficult and unclear one. However, as the day approaches, we are slowly getting a better grasp on what will happen here in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. The system that will affect the Midwest, Great Plains, the South, and the Great Lakes is still in the Pacific Ocean, but will come onshore Sunday. Once that occurs, we will be able to sample it and get a better idea of what it will do. As a result, the forecast models will have a better handle on it, and their solutions will likely be much closer to what will actually happen.

For now, there are essentially two main tracks the low pressure could take once it strengthens near the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles. Track #1 is the track the GFS and European models suggest, which is shown above. That particular track would take the low right over Rockford. If that happens, much of the region would be in the "warm sector" of the system with warmer air surging north from the Gulf of Mexico. That would result in temperatures in the middle to upper 30's, meaning mostly rainfall for the Stateline. Heavy snow and blizzard-like conditions will be located to our northwest if this solution occurs.

Then, we have the Canadian model and the NAM model (short-range American model). They are showing a solution that takes the low pressure to our south near La Salle-Peru. If that solution occurs, we would remain on the cold side of the system. As a result, we would likely remain the lower 30's, which would equate to more snow and wintry precipitation as opposed to plain rain. This solution would also mean wintry precipitation accumulation for much of the area by Wednesday morning. However, with these four models split right down the middle, it is still very difficult to jump to any sort of finalized conclusion. It does look like the models are slowly edging towards the milder solution of late. That is not a final forecast, but it is a pattern that cannot be ignored. So, at this time, it does look like there is a higher probability of more rain than snow.

That is about as in-depth as we can get with this system now. Just be aware that a strong system will affect the region Tuesday, and there will be a lot of precipitation associated with it. By Sunday afternoon, we will have a better idea of what kind of precipitation and how much of it we will see, so be sure to check back!

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