Snow Drought Ending with Midweek Blizzard Potential; Increasing Severe Storm Risk Wednesday & Thursday
Tuesday, December 18th, 2012
What do we have here… snow in Chicago & Milwaukee? That seems a little strange doesn’t it? In any other year no, but this year yes! A record snow drought may be coming to an end FINALLY in this mid-December! Monday marked the 288th consecutive days without measurable snow in Milwaukee & Chicago – if we see 0.1″ of snow today, the longest stretch without such in recorded history will end! The image below is a radar picture from just before noon CST.
Clipper Ends Snow Drought??
My meteorological cohorts and I were chatting about the potential end to the snow drought and it’s interesting that on the eve of BIG storm developing, we have a small clipper that is finally bringing snow to the area. It would have been nice to have the drought end with a BANG! The image below is the surface map around noon. There were reports of light snow in Chicago, but the reporting stations at both Chicago and Milwaukee were not reporting snow then.
Another, Much Larger, Snow Event
If the aforementioned clipper above doesn’t break the snow streak today, it is looking more and more likely that the next storm will by Thursday! The National Weather Service has issued Winter Storm Watches for a LARGE chunk of the mid-section of the nation from Denver to Green Bay; from Wednesday through PM Thursday/AM Friday. As the storm rolls out into the Plains, it will intensify and create a large wind field, which will be problematic/concerning for travelers. Blizzard potential will remain high in spots along the watch area as the storm intensifies.
Snow Storm Still on Track
Here’s the ECMWF through PM Thursday, which shows a large swath of snow on the NW flank of a powerhouse low pressure system over the Great Lakes. This model has been VERY consistent and provides great insight to final snow placement of actual snow.
Foot of Snow Possible!
The RPM model suggests a large dump of 4″ to 8″ from Iowa to Wisconsin with isolated higher amounts (8″ to 12″ or more) in southern Wisconsin through PM Thursday/AM Friday.
There’s a Severe Side
One thing that we’ll have to keep an eye on as this storm moves into the Plains is that severe thunderstorm threat! It’ll be a vigorous storm that will provide sufficient lift and with enough dynamics, strong to severe thunderstorm may be possible Wednesday and Thursday. The image below is the 500mb vorticity map AM Thursday. Note the red blob in the middle part of the country, that indicates ‘spin’ in the atmosphere. In fact, that a pretty stout area of spin and will be sufficient for active weather in the mid-section of the nation Wednesday & Thursday.
Severe Risk Wednesday
The Storm Prediction Center has issued a SLIGHT RISK of severe weather for areas shaded in yellow below for PM Wednesday. Hail and high winds will be the primary threat, but isolated tornadoes can’t be ruled out!
Severe Risk Thursday
As the storm system shifts east, so will the severe threat. By Thursday, the biggest threat for strong to severe storms will setup in the southeast corner of the nation by the PM hours of Thursday.
Christmas Weather Worries?
The extended weather models are suggesting an interesting weather scenario for next week. Take a look at the new ECMWF forecast for next week. It still suggests a ‘storm’ next week, but has backed on intensity a bit. It’s still a LONG way out and at this point it’s considered to be a ‘Fantasyland Forecast’ but it’ll be interesting to see what happens… I know a lot of folks have travel plans. Stay tuned.
Thanks for checking in on this Tuesday, have a great rest of your week.
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