Friday, December 07, 2018

Tricky Forecast!

This might be one of the trickiest forecasts. Many models are backing off on the winter storm, while a couple of models are still ALL IN on wintry weather impacts for tomorrow. Here are my thoughts as of this morning:

  • This storm is going to surprise us... I'm just not sure how... yet.
  • Overall, snow forecasts are being adjusted downward.
  • Overall, freezing rain forecast is not being adjusted yet. Swath of 0.25" still expected.
  • Reminder, freezing rain typically is not "too" bad for roads. Sleet and snow is worse.
  • Greatest threat for travel problems is in Independence, Sharp, Jackson, and Cleburne counties in Region 8. This does not mean we will not see slick spots in other locations.

To give you an idea of the wide range of data this morning. Here's the the snow output from two models:

Here's the range of freezing rain output:

I'm hoping the data comes more in line this afternoon. Stay tuned.


Thursday, December 06, 2018

Could We Get More ICE Than SNOW? Thursday Update.

The above map is my current thinking on accumulations, as of this afternoon (Thursday). This could easily change by tomorrow, so stay tuned.

I'm starting to believe that we may see less snow and more freezing rain (and cold rain). Here are my thoughts right now:

  • Rain starts Friday night into Saturday morning. 
  • Northern and western counties will quickly switch to sleet and freezing rain.
  • By Saturday night, everything west of Highway 49 should switch to snow.
  • If we don't switch to snow and stay as sleet and freezing rain, power issues increase and accumulations decrease. 
  • Counties closer to I40 will see mainly plain rain.
  • If I changed anything in the forecast tonight, it would be to increase the freezing rain numbers and lower the snow numbers. 
So, let's dig into some maps. First, the GFS has been rather consistent. Here's what it shows for freezing rain:
And then here is what is shows for snow on top of that:
Next is the NAM model, which was going a little bonkers, but now starting to get it's act together. First, what it shows for freezing rain:
And now what it shows for snow:
As I said, it is still a little high on amounts! 

Stay tuned. VIDEO update can be found on my Facebook page and on our Region 8 Weather App.


Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Saturday Snow, Sleet, Ice, or Rain! Wednesday Update.

I'm going to try to do an update on the potential for wintry weather each morning until Saturday, here on the blog. I'll also be updating the Region 8 weather app each day with the latest information and on Twitter. Here are my thoughts as of this morning:

  • Friday looks fine. Outside of a few pockets of showers or sleet, Friday is not concerning.
  • Saturday is the main day.
  • All modes of precipitation are possible: Rain, sleet, snow, and freezing rain.
  • Travel impacts are becoming likely for areas NW of Highway 67. Possible for areas SE of Highway 67. 
  • It's still too early to nail down accumulations with accuracy.
When we are 4 days out, it's typically the time to start focusing in on making alternative plans. I do think this storm will impact a large part of Region 8. I do think we will have some travel issues. A lot of the precipitation will be falling during the daytime hours on Saturday, so that may help the roads stay a little more clear. Time will tell.

Let's dive into some maps. First, let me show you the GFS model. This 4-panel shows how much of each precipitation type may fall. My biggest worry right now is that we get more freezing rain (ice glaze) than snow. Now, before anyone says it... NO, not 2009 bad. But, freezing rain is never good. It typically does not mess up the roads too bad, but can be bad for trees and power outages:

Since we are 4 days out, the Weather Prediction Center does not breakdown precipitation type in their probabilities yet, but they are indicating a good chance of wintry weather across Region 8 on Saturday. This map shows the probability of 0.25" liquid equivalent of winter precip on Saturday. This is... if you melted down whatever fell to liquid. For example... 0.25" is roughly 2-3" of snow:
If you breakdown what the GFS is saying for just snow, here is the model output. This matches up well with what we have been showing on air, too:
Now, let's talk about the oddball of the data. This morning, the NAM models comes in and goes bonkers for snow and ice for a large parts of the state. By 6PM on Saturday, look what it shows... with much more to come (look west):
In summary, something is going to happen on Saturday. We will have a much better grasp on the details tomorrow morning. 

Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 17, 2018

It Snowed Before Thanksgiving in 1976 and LOOK at the Winter Afterwards!!

**CORRECTION** to blog below: There WAS a big snow in January of 1977 that is not logged in the Jonesboro data. Arkansas native, Kevin Myatt, of The Roanoke Times, read the blog and recalled a big snow. Sure enough, I checked the Paragould log and found this:

Original blog:
Nothing. That's right, it snowed 2" on November 14th, 1976 and we had no measurable snow or ice in the winter that followed. A lot of people have asked me over the past couple of days if last week's snow means that we will have a lot of snow this winter. My answer... NO. (still is "no")

However, like my winter outlook stated... I still think we will have some big swings in temperatures. I also think we will have some weeks that are VERY cold. I just don't think the snowfall will be above average.

Here's what the winter of 1976-1977 looked like:

Have a great Saturday!

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Upper-Level Low, Maybe Some Snow, Weatherman's Woes.

The above map shows the upper-level low that will be parked over us on Thursday morning. This low may bring snow to Region 8 as early as Wednesday evening. I've seen this type of setup bring 6" of snow to one county, while leaving another county with nothing. These are fun! Here are my bullet points, as of Tuesday morning:

  • I'm confident it is going to snow over parts of Region 8 Wednesday night into Thursday morning.
  • I'm also confident that it will melt quickly on Thursday, with temperatures going above 32°.
  • Extreme NE Arkansas and SE Missouri have the best chance of decent accumulation.
  • Big snowflakes
  • Wet snow
  • "Sticky" snow. This means that it should stick to the trees. I'm a little worried about trees that still have a lot of their leaves, like Bradford Pear trees. 
  • We will have the Central Nissan StormTRACKER out on Wednesday night and Thursday morning. 
  • We will be in the 50s on Friday.
So, let's dive into the maps! I am starting to get a little more concerned about Wednesday evening. I know many of you have church plans and we may have the snow in some areas prior to the end of services. Here's what radar could look like at 6PM. The snow would be rotating in from the southeast:
As the sun goes down, this will start to accumulate in some spots. The storm team has gone over the latest data this morning and this is what we are thinking for snow totals by Thursday morning. Keep in mind that this forecast can change and we will be updating it through the storm:
Let's talk probabilities. These maps from NOAA Weather Prediction Center breakdown accumulation by probability.

So, this map shows you the probability of seeing a 1" snowfall in Region 8. (About a 50% chance of a 1" snowfall for Jonesboro):
This shows the probability of seeing a 2" snowfall:
This shows the probability of seeing a 4" snowfall:
And because there is always a surprises with upper-level lows, here's the probability of 6" of snow. Yes, Poplar Bluff has a 10% chance:

If you have stayed with me this far on the blog, let me also show you the raw numbers from the models. The probabilities match up well with the guidance of accumulations. Here are three models:

Stay tuned!!! This forecast may change.