Monday, February 22, 2016

Midweek Storm too Close for Comfort

Even though we just came off of a pretty nice weekend, it's still winter.  And the possibility of accumulating snowfall is still with us.

Forecasters are beginning to get a little better handle on a very large storm system that is set to impact parts of the Great Lakes and Northeast later this week.  Even if we don't get accumulating snowfall locally, we will still feel the effects of the low with the gusty north/northeast winds Wednesday and Wednesday night.

And while it's likely we won't get any major snow, we shouldn't completely write off this storm just yet.  Here's why:

NWS Milwaukee, WI
The image on the left shows the likely track (in black) that this low will take from Texas Tuesday morning into Ohio by Wednesday night.  This type of storm track would be too far east to bring any major accumulating snowfall to North-Central Illinois and South-Central Wisconsin.  Also on the map, in different colors and shapes, are various forecast model solutions for a particular time of day.  Notice how during Tuesday, the clusters are more centered together and not really spread apart from each other?  This indicates decent model agreement.  Which is something meteorologists look for when forecasting storm tracks.

Notice what happens after Tuesday night.  The clusters become further apart from each other.  This indicates more model variability - meaning the track of the low becomes a little more uncertain as we get further out in time.  It also shows that there is a slight chance that this storm could shift further west, having a greater impact locally.  So while a shift to the Northwest isn't too high, it's not zero.  And that's why it's important to pay attention to this storm track over the next couple of days.

As the forecast stands Monday night, I'm still keeping a chance for snow - maybe even a mix initially - for Wednesday.  Right now, the Weatherisk is Low.  Should the chance for accumulating snow increase, the Weatherisk will be bumped to Moderate.

Hopefully the nicer weather hasn't caused you to wish for spring too much!

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