It's been all the talk lately...how much snow are we going to see? Will it fall as all rain or will we get a messy, wintry mix? Unfortunately, those types of questions can't be answered this far in advance, but there are some details we can dive into in regards to next week's storm system.
Now you may be asking yourself, "They have all these fancy computer models. Why can't Meteorologists give us a detailed forecast with this storm?". The answer, the storm system in question is still in the middle of the Pacific Ocean and only being sampled by buoy and satellite data. When you think about it, that's not a whole lot of information about the storm being fed into our numerical forecast models. It would be like me saying I can guarantee, 100 percent, that I can do your complicated tax return because my husband is an accountant and tells me a little about his job. It just doesn't work like that.
This storm is still going to be off shore for the next several days - likely until the end of the weekend. Once the upper part of this system moves onshore, it will be sampled by numerous weather balloons, surface stations, airplane sensors, etc. That's a lot more information then fed into our numerical weather models to help us pinpoint the track of that low pressure system. So until at least Sunday, and possibly Monday, it's very difficult to say for certain what will occur for Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. But we can look for patterns that would give us a little more confidence in one scenario over the other.
One key factor into the possible storm track of Tuesday's low is just how much cold air filters in behind Sunday's cold front. This front will bring us a few showers on Sunday afternoon. Following the front, colder air will spill into Southern Wisconsin and Northern Illinois. Just how deep and the amount of cold could push Tuesday's low further south. If that's the case, then enough cold air would be in place for the potential of accumulating snow. If, however, the cold air isn't as deep or strong then the low would likely track further to the north and northwest. This would allow warmer air to be pulled northward giving Northern Illinois and to some extent Southern Wisconsin a higher likelihood of a mixture of snow, sleet and freezing rain.
What you need to know now is that there will be an impactful storm early next week. And with it heavy snow will fall, but just where. And that's all dependent on the storm track. Unfortunately, we may not know the exact path until Sunday night or evening Monday afternoon. So stay with the First Warn Weather Team through the weekend and early next week, especially if you have plans Tuesday or Wednesday.