(8:30AM - 1/25/19) Not much has changed and certainly no drastic thinking or thoughts regarding the threat of a major winter storm to impact the northern plains and into the Midwest later Sunday and into Monday of next week. Numerical model guidance over the last 24 hours or so has remained quite consistent in this general idea.
We give you the latest model guidance thoughts as well as what we know and don't know
What we know: Model guidance at the range of 3-5 days can usually have some skill showing strong systems and sometimes can do it quite well and that is the case with this system. Models continue to show a significant winter storm moving through the northern plains on Sunday and into portions of the Midwest on Sunday night and through Monday. There will also most likely a swath of snow (as you'll see below) across those mentioned areas during that time-frame with potentially significant snow accumulations. Also, it could be quite cold (mid-teens) in close proximity to where the axis of most snow is and this will lead to a dry and fluffy snow that will blow around easy.
What we don't know: This is still a fairly lengthy list but I will try to keep it simple with the main points being that we do not know the track and strength of the eventual surface low that is going to form. Our storm system is still well out over the Pacific Ocean and it will most likely be at least another 36 hours before we have a much better handle on this. The track and strength mean everything as the track of the low will determine where the placement of the heaviest snow swath is. Yes, we have an idea now where that COULD be, but we do not know for sure, nor does anyone. Also, besides knowing where the heaviest axis isn't is yet, we also do not know amounts and amount ranges so the main message here.....STAY TUNED!
National Weather Service Cold/Winter Weather Safety Tips!
Outside of that, lets talk a little more about our potential winter storm...
As mentioned above, model guidance continues to remain consistent in a wave continuing across the northern Pacific Ocean over the next two days and crashing ashore British Columbia, before cresting the ridging and diving southeast into southern Canada and eventually the northern U.S. by Sunday afternoon.
As this wave crosses the northern Rockies, a fairly strong surface low is forecast to form and move into the northern plains while warm air advection ramps up. These strong low level winds will intersect the baroclinic zone, aiding in throwing moisture up and over the cold air and widespread area of snow to develop (circled in orange).
Below is one models take of how the evolution of this system COULD go so don't look at specifics with this loop and where the heaviest snow tracks. But guidance continues to show an evolution like this in general with a widespread area of snowfall spreading southeast from the northern plains into the Midwest from Sunday afternoon through much of the day on Monday. Like it was said earlier, exact placement of the heaviest snows cannot be pinned down this early with any confidence.
To sum everything up, confidence is slowly growing for a significant winter storm to affect the Midwest and Illinois Sunday night and Monday but we really don't want to hype this up just yet and more so want to keep you all with a level head rather than posting those outlandish snowfall totals that people do a week out from an event. Could this system track north and leave much of Illinois with little snow? Sure. Could portions of Illinois get a lot of snow out of this? Sure. You wont find us posting any snowfall maps yet and just want to outline a threat area below. Stay tuned....
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