National Weather Service Increases Risk for Sunday Winter Storm Threat

by MCS Staff

The National Weather Service has increased the risk for Sunday’s potential winter storm to moderate for Upper MoCo and enhanced for C/SE MoCo. Per their map in our featured photo, the confidence for the winter storm has also increased to moderate for upper MoCo and enhanced for C/SE MoCo.

We have to remember that we’re discussing a storm that hasn’t even formed yet, so a lot can change. To help people understand, I always compare tracking a storm to the score of the game when your favorite team is upsetting the best team in the league. When we’re five days out, it’s early in the first quarter. Each model shows you a different aspect or perspective of the game. You can be happy with what’s happening from one or all perspectives, but you know there’s a good chance it won’t end up that way.

The Euro (European model) is showing the snow/rain line running right through the lower part of MoCo. The GFS (American model) is now showing a much higher chance of rain. This is all dependent on where the low is for this storm and will likely change quite a few times as Sunday approaches.

This winter we are a surprising 2 for 2 when it comes to winter storms developing in a way that gives us measurable snow. We’ll continue to monitor to see if our luck continues or runs out with this one.

Below you’ll see the Forecaster’s discussion from the National Weather Service:

“Saturday will be the “calm before the storm” during the long term period across our region. A strong 1040+ mb artic high will be building to our north, setting the stage for much colder air. Highs will likely not make it above freezing for most on Saturday, but we should be dry during this period.

Elsewhere on Saturday, a winter storm will be brewing over the central Plains and into the southeast. The first key feature will be a very strong Alberta Clipper system that dives out of Canada through the central Plains and into the southeast by Saturday night. The upper low looks to cut off over the southeast Saturday night.

Meanwhile, probably the most important piece of the puzzle will be another upper low diving out of central Canada into the Great Lakes region Sunday through Monday morning. For our area, this sets the stage for a potentially high impact winter storm across the region. Surface low pressure will slide across the southeast before transferring energy off the east coast into Sunday night.

As is so often the case with these storms, the track, as well as warm air aloft, are going to be key in who gets an all snow event versus who gets a wintry mix and who may even just get a plain cold rain.

Guidance is starting to come into at least some agreement that areas west of the I-95 corridor could be in for a high impact winter storm, while the I-95 corridor and areas east still hold some uncertainty.

Virtually all guidance at this point is at least agreeing on a strong low moving up the eastern seaboard, it is just a matter of how close it tracks to the coast. Again, as is often the case, 20 miles can make all the difference. Those details will have to be ironed out as we continue to move closer to the event.

For now, just be prepared for a potentially high impact winter storm across the area, and check for more updates on the forecast as we get closer to the event.

One minor change on this cycle is that the guidance seems to be speeding up in terms of when the low departs. By Monday morning most of the precipitation should be off to our northeast. High pressure then briefly returns through Tuesday, with highs expected to be near seasonal averages.”


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