A potentially crippling winter storm has much of the central U.S. in its aim, but the latest round of forecast models indicate that much of the Local 6 area will escape accumulating snow and ice.
After what has been an unbelievably pleasant weekend, much of the country is getting ready to be plunged back into the depths of winter, with what could be a crippling and historic winter storm set to move across the eastern half of the country this week. A fresh batch of cold, arctic air is drifting southward, while abundant moisture from the Gulf of Mexico streams north. An upper-level low over the western U.S. will lead to the development of an area of low pressure over West Texas by tomorrow afternoon. This low will track northeast from Texas through Arkansas toward Western KY by Tuesday night, and on up the Ohio River valley on Wednesday. The colder side of this storm will be to the north and west of the low track, where we're likely to find snow and ice. Meanwhile, milder air will be found south and east of the low, where rain and even thunderstorms are expected. Given the forecast track of this system directly over the heart of the Local 6 region, we will be uncomfortably close to the line separating rain from freezing rain. This means that over the next 24-36 hours, everyone should continue to monitor the very latest forecast updates, as any southward shift in the track of this system could mean the threat of accumulating ice and/or snow entering the area.
The good news is that over the course of the weekend, forecast models have continued to be in good agreement on a more northern track to this system, thus keeping the majority of the area warm enough that we'll just have to deal with a chilly rain. In fact, the greatest concern for the immediate area is the potential for locally heavy rainfall, with widespread rainfall amounts of 1-2" expected. Also, if the trend toward a warmer solution continues, there is a slight chance that we could even see a strong thunderstorm or two in the MO Bootheel and Northwest TN.
For folks in Southern IL & Southeast MO, there is a small chance of some ice accumulations during the morning hours on Monday & Tuesday....and as seen below, the National Weather Service has issued a Winter Storm Watch for areas along and northwest of a line from Poplar Bluff, to Cape Girardeau, to Anna, and over to near Shawneetown.
Here is a look at a couple of the forecast models I have looked at tonight. First of all, below is the latest forecast of freezing rain amounts.
I understand that this picture may be a bit small, so you can look at the most recent update in a larger format by clicking here. As of the Sunday night update, this includes a band of 1/4 to 3/4" of ice possible just to the northwest of the immediate Local 6 area, with the heaviest ice accumulations in a band from Springfield to St. Louis to near Indianapolis, along sections of I-44, I-64, & I-70, where travel may be extremely dangerous or impossible on Tuesday & Wednesday.
Next, here is the latest forecast of snow totals.
Again, this is a small version of this image....for a larger version, click here.
Snow totals may approach 6-12" for places like Springfield, Kansas City, St. Louis....and 12-18" from Peoria to Chicago. Travel across northern & central MO, and northern IL & IN may be nearly impossible Tuesday & Wednesday.
As always, remember that weather can quickly change across our area, so be sure to stay on top of the latest forecast updates over the next couple of days.