You’ve heard it by now- Cardi B and Offset are divorcing.
Kidding! What I’m really talking about is the winter storm potential for this weekend. It’s already been all over the news (and likely your newsfeeds as well). My recommendation? Keep calm, and pay attention to professional meteorologists as both experience and knowledge trumps your local hype man on twitter. Or your phone app.
Before we even make it to the weekend, we could see a dusting across the region Thursday evening as an upper level disturbance slides through. This shouldn’t be a big deal as the 12z NAM illustrates:
As the weekend draws near, it is becoming more apparent that a winter storm will impact the U.S.. North Carolina (and skiers/snowboarders alike) must be getting really excited, as models have been pretty consistent with high snowfall rates for areas near and east of the Appalachian mountains. Why? An effect known as “Cold Air Damming” will likely help increase snowfall accumulation during this event. CAD occurs when high pressure to the north forces cold air down the eastern side of the mountains. Since cold air is dense, it will fail to make it up the higher elevations of the blue ridges. It is instead forced to stay where it is. This, in combination with a winter storm, is a recipe for fun times at the ski resort (if the roads aren’t covered in ice, that is!).
Since KY doesn’t have mountains as high in elevation as the Appalachians, we don’t have to deal with Cold Air Damming. Nevertheless, this is a significant system with a great boom or bust potential for our region. Slight changes in the path of this storm overall could be the difference between heavy snow and cold rain. It is important to remember winter weather forecasts are tough to get exactly right much further than 2-3 days away from the event. Here is the 18z GFS:
It is far too early to begin talking numbers, but it is becoming increasingly likely that portions of our region will receive significant accumulations of wintry weather. Models, such as the 18z GFS, are showing the signals for a mixed bag of winter weather possibly ending as accumulating snow. Let’s all take a deep breath and watch this one closely over the next few days. Stay up to date with our blog, as well as the NWS and local TV meteorologists for the latest!