Watching a possible late-week winter storm

Good Wednesday to one and all. Milder air is moving in for a few days, but the main focus of the forecast is on a potential winter storm by Friday and Saturday. Depending on the track of this storm, it could bring significant amounts of snow and ice to parts of our region.

Before we get to all that, let’s quickly talk about the weather Wednesday. Highs will surge well into the 50s as southwesterly winds kick in. A few showers will be on the move:

Highs by Thursday could hit the 60 to 65 degree range in much of central and eastern Kentucky. Winds will gust as showers and thunderstorms develop.

This action is ahead of a modified arctic front moving in from the west. That front will slowly work across the state Thursday night and Friday, bringing a dramatic temperature drop from west to east.

At the same time, a developing storm system will be working northeastward along the front. That is likely to spawn significant winter weather across our region. Who has the best chance of getting in on the action? It’s early in the game, and the computer models are showing a healthy spread.

I’m going to show you each computer model, but I don’t want you to get too attached to any of them. Forecast models can exhibit wild swings from run to run. Also, these are not  a forecast from me. I hope to have a first call map out later in the day.

Let’s start with the NAM:

If this run of the NAM even comes slow to verifying, it’s a shutdown storm for much of the region. Significant amounts of ice and snow both show up:

Freezing rain


The new European model isn’t that far away from it. Watch the transition from rain to freezing rain and sleet, then snow:

That first image is Thursday night, with Saturday afternoon on the final image.

Here’s the freezing-rain accumulation map from that run:

And the snow map:

The GFS is a little farther east and colder with the overall setup. It takes the low toward West Virginia then seems to jump the low east of the mountains. Here’s the transition from rain to sleet and freezing rain then to snow:

The above images start Thursday night and end Saturday afternoon.

The precipitation on the GFS looks a little suspect and is probably underdone. Here’s what that run shows for ice:

That’s very disjointed and suggests that the model is having a few issues. The snow map from the same run has a significant hit for many areas, but nothing earth-shattering:

The Canadian model seems to have a similar line of thinking, with the low going from Tennessee to West Virginia, then jumping east of the mountains:

The Canadian keeps the ice threat in the west and far north:

Compared to the GFS, the Canadian is much snowier, but it also seems to be a little disjointed with the precipitation output:

I will update things later Wednesday, so check back. Make it a good one and take care.

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