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Major Winter Storm Next Week... Rain vs. Snow

by Monty Webb

WHAS11.com

Posted on January 30, 2014 at 11:28 PM

Updated Friday, Jan 31 at 9:33 AM

Winter Storm Next Tuesday

Let me start off by saying, I can't remember the last time I have seen so much hype about a potential "Winter Storm" this far in advance.  It all started this Monday and Tuesday when the European (Euro) weather model was showing some CRAZY snow totals for Kentuckiana.  One run of the Euro had close to 30 inches of snow for us!  That sent social media into hyper drive! 

I mentioned then I thought the Euro was having some issues and now it has come on board with the GFS (American model) with a more realistic solution.  More on that in a bit

Where is it now?

The storm is still 3,500 miles away sitting south of the Alleutian Islands!  That creates huge problems for long range weather models.  It is sitting in the middle of the ocean, void of any upper air network.  Meaning there is very little to no data about this storm being gathered for the weather models. 

The storm doesn't enter the U.S. upper air network until Sunday afternoon or evening.  At this time weather balloons (rawinsondes) will be able to gather data about this storm system and then we will see the weather models really zoning in on its final track. 

By Monday night it appears the storm will be near the Texas and Mexico border.

Probable Storm Track

Today most models agree to a more northerly track and a warmer profile for most of Kentuckiana.  So what does that mean for us...?

I believe we could start off with some freezing rain Tuesday morning then transition to all rain (heavy).  With the best chance of freezing rain over our northern Indiana counties. 

Heavy snow and ice looks extremely likely for central and northern Indiana.

What if...

Like I said earlier the storm is 3,500 miles away from us and still five days out.  A lot could change between now and then!  If the storm track shifts 200-300 miles south that would put the heavy snow and ice over our area.  But, at this time that does not appear to be the likely solution.

Lets talk about the risks for Kentuckiana

Freezing Rain... I think there is a decent chance this could start with a little freezing rain sometime Tuesday morning with the best chance in our Indiana counties

Rain...  The rain total GFS map below is painting very heavy rain (1 to 3") over the area.  We will need to watch this closely as it could lead to flooding concerns next week.

Snow...  The GFS map below is showing the cold air arriving Wednesday as most of the moisture is leaving the region.  However, I do believe we could see some wrap-around snow showers Wednesday that could produce some light accumulation.

Final Thoughts

The storm is still five days away and the WHAS11 First Alert StormTeam will keep a close eye on this system for you.

Just a quick heads-up, the long range weather models are showing another "huge" winter storm for next weekend (Feb 8-9).  I'm hoping for a " Hype Free Zone"...

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