Friday morning storm update

As has been discussed here all week, details regarding the weekend winter storm are coming into focus. Placement of the rain/snow line is still an issue this morning and remains the critical element with regards to where the heaviest snow will occur.

This is an impressive storm system – something we’ve not seen for quite some time. Regardless of exact snow amounts in your neighborhood, it is going to be a nasty storm for everyone in the Valley.

For the folks who read my forecasts regularly, you already know that I strive for an accurate and consistent forecast.¬† If you’ve been following along this week, You will find no surprises here.

Let’s get to it…

TIMING
Confidence is very high regarding the timing of the storm. Expect wet snow to begin moving into western parts of the area around 8:00 – 10:00 AM Saturday. A brief period of wintry mix may be possible at the onset of precipitation Saturday morning.

High Resolution Simulated Radar image for 11:00 AM Saturday, January 19th.

Snowfall with the storm will continue through the afternoon and Saturday night. Snowfall will be heavy at times – perhaps 1/2″ to 1″ per hour¬† during the heaviest snowfall. Snow should start to taper off and end by pre-dawn Sunday, say around 4:00 – 6:00 AM.

LOCAL IMPACTS
Travel will become increasingly difficult Saturday afternoon as wet snow accumulates on area roads and highways. Wet snow will become more ‘fluffy’ Saturday night as temperatures cool off to the mid-teens.

But, snow will only be one part of the storm. It will also become increasingly windy Saturday afternoon through Sunday. Gusty wind along with fluffy snow will lead to whiteout conditions and drifting snow. Temperatures on Sunday will not warm much more than a degree or two and wind chills will be brutal Sunday, Sunday night and Monday.

Scattered power outages are also a concern.

SNOW AMOUNTS
Because the rain/snow line looks to set up along or just to the south of I-70, snow amounts locally will vary. Those in the north will end up with more snow than our southern communities. I think everyone in the Valley will stay on the cold side of the storm. Sleet/freezing rain/rain should stay to our south.

AFTER THE SNOW
While snow will end Sunday morning, cold arctic temperatures will spread over the region Sunday and nighttime lows will dip to single digits. Coupled with persistent gusty wind, wind chills will be well below zero.

GFS Model showing wind chills as cold as -16 degrees will be possible early Sunday morning.

Cold temperatures will continue into Monday with air temperatures only in the mid-teens for the afternoon high.

Temperatures will finally begin to relax by Tuesday, but another system will bring rain and snow chances back to the Valley by midweek.

CLOSING THOUGHTS
I’ll post an update late this evening should there be any changes in the forecast. I’ll also do another update early Saturday morning with any additional details.

We don’t see many storms like this here in the Valley. I know everyone concentrates mostly on snow amounts, but snow is only one part of the storm – wind and brutal cold will also impact your weekend. It will be difficult for road crews to keep up Saturday and Saturday night. If you happen to lose power, it may be off for a while as utility crews will be dealing with extreme travel and weather conditions in order to make repairs.

Just hunker down, stay home and be patient. We’ll be fine.

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