Posted 9:30 AM EST Tuesday, February 16, 2021
I always try to convey the uncertainties with my winter forecasts and this storm showed that sometimes those uncertainties turn out to be the correct path. Instead of a boatload of snow we ended up with sleet and ice. I think most of us would rather have received the snow.
I always do my best to offer a reliable and accurate weather forecast. Unlike other forecasts you read or watch, I live here so the forecast is just as much for me as it is for you. I’ll never guarantee that I’m always dead on, but I can guarantee I’ll give you more effort than a forecaster in a far-off big city with no skin in the game or a crappy automated weather app.
For those who are truly interested in learning why the snow forecast went so wrong, read Scott Sabol’s excellent analysis HERE.
Yes, the snow forecast was off by a mile. And, if you gauge a winter storm only by that one feature it was a total bust. This was still a complex and impactful storm for a large area.
The Winter Storm Warning that was in effect has been allowed to expire. But, impacts to travel will still continue today. Road crews will be busy clearing roads and highways.
The winter storm continues to exit off to the northeast today. As it pulls away, our weather will turn colder and windier. Light snow/flurries will remain a possibility and some areas could see around an inch of additional snow accumulation this morning.
Temperatures this afternoon won’t do much better than where they are this morning. West winds will pick up to around 10 mph with gusts in the 20 to 25 mph range. The combination of gusty wind and cold temperatures will keep wind chill values in the single digits.
It will get very cold tonight as the cloud cover thins. Locally, air temperatures will drop off to around 5°/7° as we approach sunrise Wednesday.
Wednesday continues to look like a dry day as weak high pressure visits briefly. We may even see some sun. Temperatures locally will remain colder than normal with highs in the mid-20s.
THURSDAY AND FRIDAY
The next storm system will develop in the Gulf region and take a similar path northeastward to the eastern Great Lakes. This next storm may well become a near carbon-copy of Monday’s storm. The main uncertainties at this time are whether the system hugs the Atlantic coast or ends up farther west over the Ohio/Pennsylvania border area.
Temperature profiles in the lower levels currently support snow. With the track of the system further east, we could expect less snow. If the system takes the more westward track we would see heavier snow amounts. And, as we saw with Monday’s storm, the intrusion of warm air aloft will be key with regard to precipitation types. For now, since I’m a little gun-shy with how Monday’s storm matured, I’ll stick with a wintry mix of snow/sleet/freezing rain Thursday and Thursday night.
The system will push out of the area by Friday morning. A few light snow showers will remain a possibility on Friday as weak disturbances move through as the system departs. Details on what impacts this next system will have on our area should
High pressure looks to build into the region for the weekend. This will bring dry weather back to the Valley. Temperatures over the weekend will moderate some and we may actually see highs above freezing by Sunday.
ANOTHER STORM EARLY NEXT WEEK?
Low pressure is expected to develop in the Oklahoma panhandle and track northeast and strengthen as it approaches the Great Lakes region. This will be the next system to spread precipitation into the area Monday/Tuesday. With much uncertainty as to temperature profiles and track of the low, variable p-types are likely once again.
There is some light at the end of the tunnel. Warmer temperatures look to finally arrive next week. We could be looking at a string of above freezing temperatures!
Thanks for reading today’s Valley weather update. Be safe out there.