From Cold to Clipper to Possible Weekend Wallup

December arrives and our weather gets active. After a very nice and mild October and November, it’s like we flipped a switch to winter. Our cold continues tonight, but thankfully the winds have died down. Lows will drop into the single digits tonight.

We have two chances for snow the rest of the week. The first chance will be on Thursday afternoon and evening with a weak clipper. An inch or two is possible. This is not a lot of snow, but it may be falling on the evening commute so be ready for slippery conditions. Here is the RPM(our high-resolution model) snow totals forecast.

The next chance of snow is the much stronger low that will be strengthening rapidly as it moves to our south. This is going to be a major winter storm that affects a huge part of the country. Because the storm is still four days away, there is no way of knowing the exact path that the low will take. I have very high confidence that the storm will be very strong, but not a lot of confidence in the path. The models as expected have differing paths. The European model brings the low just south of Chicago. That would put us in the bulls-eye for the heavy snow. The Canadian model has the low across southern Illinois. That would bring us light to moderate snow. The GFS has the low staying across Kentucky. That would keep the heaviest snow well south of us. These are the forecasts that give me gray hair…or less hair.

Take a look at the model comparison for Sunday morning.

All three of the above models are in agreement that this is a powerful storm. Patience is needed before the track will be more certain. I am definitely concerned that this could be a storm that causes big disruptions in travel. Be prepared if you have any plans in the air or on the road this weekend. Stay tuned.



14 Responses

  1. I sure hope the track follows the current European model forecast!! I hate the waiting game and absolutely love big winter storms! Seems to me that winter storms are so much more complex when it comes to forecasting than summer storms…If the low does take the European model track, what are the chances that severe thunderstorms down south would take away some of the energy from a significant snow up here?

    • Dave,

      Good note. I certainly have seen that happen in the past, but this will likely be so dynamically strong that storms south would be be able to have much of an impact.


  2. If im not mistaken, it looks like the European model went a little bit south from the WI-IL border to south of Chicago, and the GFS has crept up a bit from Arkansas to Kentucky. Hoping for that classic E IL/NW IN track for that heavy snow for us! Just a question for the blog.. how come you guys post so late (between 8-9) instead of between noon and 5 or something like that. Just curious.

    • Bryan,

      I apologize for the late post. When Jeremy works dayside he gets the blog updated earlier. Sometimes I am able to update the blog before the 5pm news, but not today. Too much going on.

      • No big deal, Mark. It’s not like I’m up to 11 doing homework or anything. 😉 Hoping the models come together tomorrow.

  3. It’s a battle between the most reliable model ECMWF and the consensus of many other models that have a more southern track. Tomorrow should start to shed light on this once the NAM and Weatherwatch12’s models can start putting out their results.

    • Patience, Daniel.

      I would expect GFS to move a bit farther north and strengthen earlier than previous model runs.


      • 😉 If only we knew that this was coming a week or so ago.

        I agree with you re: GFS

  4. I’m hoping for a lot of snow. I’m unemployed so I really don’t care how much we get, but it sure would be wonderful and maybe getting me into the spirit just a little more. Plus chili on sunday is planned and it taste so much better when there is snow and the kids come in from shoveling or sledding and having a hot bowl. 12″ would be great. Just saying…

    • Cindy,
      Good luck on the job hunt. The chili should taste even better while looking at the fresh snow on the ground and wind howling. Thanks for the note.

  5. I am keeping my fingers crossed that the potential storm follows the Canadian model (I could deal with a little light snow), or the GFS model where we would not see any snow. I’m not a fan of winter at all. Usually after these big storms pass by, the bottom drops out of the thermometer.

    Some of the national forecasters are predicting that this storm will not even get cranked up until it passes far to our south. It will be a big weathermaker for the east coast. I guess it is a waiting game right now. Either way, somebody will get some big snow out of it. Will be interesting to see what happens this weekend.

    • Cliff,

      The path certainly is up in the air some. My thoughts of the GFS being too far east is based on my use of the LRC, and how this storm tracked back in October. This was our big wind storm from October 26. Keep in mind the jet stream is a little different now than it was back in October, but the long term longwave trough is still present. I think we will see the GFS start to bring this storm more west in the coming days. Still lots of model runs between now and Saturday afternoon. I think the storm could also slow down a bit too.

      This will be a major winter storm, but the exact path needs to be cleared up.


    • The bottom is going to drop out regardless of whether this storms hits us hard, lightly, or not at all. A few days ago there seemed to be good agreement that the long term (mid to late Dec.) was going to be very cold, but now the models aren’t so sure. Hopefully by Christmas we’re back near 40 for at least a couple days so people don’t have to travel around in any extreme cold.

      I’m very impressed with how the LRC handles these storms, but I have never bought into it being able to indicate temps very well and this current pattern is showing exactly why I think that way.

      • Daniel,

        Temps are trickier. Picking up on timing of ridges and troughs and bigger weather features seems is certainly easier than nailing down overall temps for a certain time period. Thanks.

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