Over the last couple of days numerical model guidance has been waffling back and forth on solutions regarding a weather system developing in the plains late this coming weekend and coming northeast early next week. We are still seeing differences among model guidance but over the last day or so, we have seen some more consistency regarding a system developing on both operational and ensemble guidance. I dig into more below and what you need to know at this juncture...
Up to about this Saturday evening, model guidance is in agreement on a weather system coming across the northern Pacific Ocean and then coming ashore the west coast, as you can see in the model image below. What happens after that is still in question at this time. This system should then come east but the exact track and strength while that occurs remains to be seen and this in turn leaves question marks on if and how it will affect us here in Illinois early next week.
By Sunday evening, ensemble model guidance is showing a good amount of members developing areas of low pressure across the southern high plains. But beyond that, the track and strength of those developing systems is again in question and the track will play a big role is what will happen across Illinois. Usually in these cases, the exact track isn't determined for sure until we get closer to the event. All we are doing at this range is mentioning the potential of a system and one that if things go right, could become significant with reasons stating why below....
One thing this potential system will have going for it is the Gulf of Mexico will be "wide open for business", meaning that the trajectories off the Gulf will be very favorable for transporting/advecting moisture northward which in turn with a stronger system can lead to more overall precipitation amounts. The brighter the colors on the image below the more "total heat" there is or pretty much combining heat and moisture into one.
The thing to take away from this initial article is that there is the **potential** for a winter system early next week (Mon/Tue) and if things fall right, the **possibility** that it develops into a sizable winter storm across portions of the Midwest and potentially Illinois as well. Lots of solutions are on the table at this juncture ranging from:
-A large winter storm to affect a good chunk of the state with significant snow accumulations.
-Only a small part of the state gets hit but ends up with significant snow accumulations.
- A weak weather system that slides harmlessly to the south of Illinois and hardly any sticking snow falls in Illinois.