Latest Snow Forecast For Southeast

The forecast remains on track for a winter storm to impact the South and Southeast beginning late tonight and continuing into Tuesday. Rain will transition to snow initially across parts of far northeast Texas, east Arkansas, west Tennessee and north Louisiana as early as late tonight. The transition line (from rain to snow) will move east and south by early tomorrow (Tuesday) morning into central Tennessee and Mississippi before moving east into parts of Alabama and Georgia later in the day tomorrow. Parts of upstate South Carolina and North Carolina should get in on the rain & snow later in the day on Tuesday.

Let’s break down the timing of when the changeover to snow will occur:

11:00PM-2:00AM Central: central Tennessee, northwest Alabama, northern & central Mississippi, southern Arkansas, northern Louisiana and far east Texas

2:00AM-4:00AM Central: central and eastern Louisiana, southern Mississippi, central Alabama, northwestern Georgia and eastern Tennessee

4:00AM-6:00AM Central: southern Alabama, northern Georgia and western North Carolina

6:00AM-10:00AM Central: central Georgia and upstate South Carolina

Timing for a few major cities:

Jackson: Around 2:00AM Central

Atlanta: Around 8:00AM Central

Birmingham: Around 4:00AM Central

Snow total will vary quite a bit depending on location but overall much of the region will see flakes fall. The heaviest zone is 2-4″ with isolated amounts closer to 6″. It should be noted, within this zone, most areas will see totals closer to 2-3″. Where banding sets up and locations above 1,500′ will see amounts on the higher end of the zone category.

Let’s break down how much snow may fall in a few major cities:

Jackson: 2 – 4″

Atlanta: 1″

Birmingham: 2 – 3″

Fig. 2: Snow accumulation forecast

Travel will become difficult across parts of the South and Southeast tomorrow. This has allowed local National Weather Service offices to issue Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Storm Advisories for a large part of the region (see Fig. 4). One issue that may make roads extremely dangerous is the potential for the initial rain to freeze on roads once surface temperatures drop. This glaze of ice would then be covered by snow; making road conditions extremely hazardous.

Fig. 2: Current winter weather products

Please keep checking back for updates!

Dangerous Cold On The Way!

Temperatures have been brutal across parts of the Midwest and Great Lakes but the coldest air is on its way. A true arctic airmass will engulf the region by mid-week. Extremely dangerous cold is expected from Tuesday night through Thursday for the Midwest and Great Lakes. The region can expect widespread temperatures of 30 degrees below zero Wednesday morning and Thursday morning. The feels like temperatures will be even colder. Some areas may see the feels like temperature drop to 50 or 60 degrees below zero (see Figs. 1, 2, 3, 4).

Fig. 1: Wednesday morning feels like temperature (Midwest)
Fig. 2: Thursday morning feels like temperature (Midwest)
Fig. 3: Wednesday morning feels like temperature (Great Lakes)
Fig. 4: Thursday morning feels like temperature (Great Lakes)

The cold airmass will work its way east and south into the Northeast and parts of the Southeast by late week. The coldest temperatures will be Thursday morning for the Northeast where widespread 30 degrees below zero feels like temperatures are likely (see Fig. 5). The Southeast will also see its coldest feels like temperatures Thursday morning. Feels like temperatures for the Southeast will be approaching single digits (see Fig. 6). Some of the higher terrain in parts of Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia will see feels like temperatures approach zero with below zero reading in the North Carolina mountains.

Fig. 5: Thursday morning feels like temperature (Northeast)
Fig. 6: Thursday morning feels like temperature (Southeast)

Snow will accompany the cold across the Midwest, Great Lakes and Northeast (Fig. 7). Some areas in the Midwest will see blizzard-like conditions.

Fig. 7: Snow forecast from European model through Thursday morning

This magnitude of cold is extremely dangerous. Make sure you take this seriously. Do not leave pets outside in this cold weather. Make sure you check on your elderly neighbors. It is also important to exercise caution when using space heaters and make sure you have a cold-weather safety kit in your car incase you get stranded.

High Impact Winter Storm To Impact South & Southeast

The forecast is still on track for a high-impact winter storm to impact the South and Southeast beginning Monday night and continuing into Tuesday. Rain will transition to snow initially across parts of far northeast Texas, east Arkansas, west Tennessee and north Louisiana by late Monday night. The transition line (from rain changing to snow) will move east and south by early Tuesday morning into central Tennessee and Mississippi (see Fig. 1) before moving east into parts of Alabama and Georgia later on Tuesday (see Fig. 2). Parts of upstate South Carolina and North Carolina should get in on the rain & snow later in the day on Tuesday.

Fig. 1: Future radar early Tuesday morning
Fig. 2: Future radar Tuesday afternoon

It should be noted that this may map need to be tweaked over the next 24 hours. Locations further west on this map (east Texas and western Louisiana) may see lesser totals that what is indicated on this map. It depends on how quickly the rain transitions to snow and also how much moisture is available in this region. Most areas within the 2-4″ zone will see 2-3″ of snow with scattered 4″ amounts. Some of the higher terrain with this 2-4″ zone will see amounts closer to 6″.

Fig. 3: Snowfall accumulation forecast

It is likely that travel will become difficult across parts of the South and Southeast on Tuesday. This thought has allowed local National Weather Service offices to issue Winter Storm Watches and Winter Storm Advisories for a large part of the region (see Fig. 4). One issue that may make roads extremely dangerous is the potential for the initial rain to freeze on roads once surface temperatures drop. This glaze of ice would then be covered by snow; making road conditions extremely hazardous.

Fig. 4: Latest winter weather products

Please keep checking back for updates. An additional article will be published later this evening for locations further north.

Updated Snowfall Forecast

We continue to monitor the chance for snow across much of the South and Southeast from Monday night into Tuesday. Most of this region will see the opportunity for snow accumulations that could impact travel. The worst travel conditions appear to be on Tuesday from northern Louisiana eastward into northern Georgia.

The first areas to experience snow will be far eastern Oklahoma, northeast Texas, Arkansas, western Tennessee and northern Louisiana by late Monday night. The rain & snow will move east and southward by early Tuesday morning into central Tennessee and parts of Mississippi (see Fig. 1) before moving further east into parts of Alabama and Georgia later on Tuesday (see Fig. 2). Parts of upstate South Carolina and North Carolina should get in on the rain & snow later in the day on Tuesday (see Fig. 3).

Fig. 1: Future radar late Monday night (please note: this should be used as an estimate–exact placement of precipitation may change)
Fig. 2: Future radar early Tuesday morning (please note: this should be used as an estimate–exact placement of precipitation may change)
Fig. 3: Future radar Tuesday afternoon (please note: this should be used as an estimate–exact placement of precipitation may change)

Accumulations do look likely from late Monday though Tuesday. The event being a few days out makes it extremely difficult to forecast snow accumulations, however. There are two negative factors for accumulations. I) Monday (the day before the snow) will be warm across this region, which will lead to warmer ground temperatures, and II) the window for snow is only about a 4-6 hour period. Even with these two mitigating factors, this event will be the best chance so far this season for accumulating snow across the South and Southeast.

The snow rates should exceed melting and the best chance for accumulations will across northern & central Mississippi, Tennessee, northern & central Alabama, northern Louisiana and northern Georgia. Guidance is evening indicating some instability, which could lead to convective banding of snow (this is where the heaviest snow totals are possible). It is too difficult to pinpoint where those bands may setup. That is almost a nowcasting scenario. Secondly, areas that see snow pre-dawn on Tuesday will have the best chance to see accumulations and nasty road conditions. Even though it is difficult to forecast snow accumulations this far out, I wanted to provide you with a second preliminary snow accumulations map (see Fig. 4). Please note, this will likely change over the next 48-72 hours as we get closer to the event. It is possible the polygons may need to me reduced or expanded, and snow totals may need to be increased or decreased.

Fig. 4: Preliminary snow accumulation map

The South and Southeast are not the only regions that have snow in the forecast. Coastal areas of North Carolina and Virginia may see snow beginning Monday due to a coastal low that will quickly deepen off the coast. This could allow a band of snow to setup from Virginia Beach down into eastern North Carolina. If this happens, it is possible heavy accumulations may occur, which is why this small area is included in the 2-5″ zone. It should be noted, most numerical guidance indicates the low will be too far off shore to aid in precipitation chances for this area, but we believe the low may closer to the coast, thus, have reflected this in the snow accumulation forecast. Regardless, snow chances increase for this area by Tuesday night into Wednesday. Those snow chances also increase for the rest of the Mid-Atlantic and the Northeast by Wednesday. Parts of the Northeast, Great Lakes and Ohio Valley will see multiple snow opportunities from Sunday through Wednesday so accumulations are likely (see Fig. 5). More than one foot of snow is possible for parts of the Great Lakes region where lake effect snow band establish themselves.

Fig. 4: Preliminary snow accumulation map

Please keep checking back for updates as this is a fluid forecast and changes may be needed!

Accumulating Snow Likely For South And Southeast!

The chance for snow continues to increase for parts of the South and Southeast early next week. An arctic cold front will move out of the Southern Plains into the South by Monday afternoon with temperatures quickly falling to near or below freezing behind the front. At the same time, an upper-level shortwave will move overhead. This shortwave combined with the vertical profile of the cold front will generate a strong upward motion in the atmosphere to allow precipitation to develop along and behind the cold front. Precipitation immediately behind the front will fall as rain Monday night and quickly transition to wet snow by Tuesday.

The first areas to experience snow will be far eastern Oklahoma, northeast Texas, Arkansas, western Tennessee and northern Louisiana by late Monday night. The rain & snow will move east and southward by early Tuesday morning into central Tennessee and parts of Mississippi (see Fig. 1) before moving further east into parts of Alabama and Georgia later on Tuesday (see Fig. 2). Parts of upstate South Carolina and North Carolina should get in on the rain & snow later in the day on Tuesday.

Fig. 1: Future radar Tuesday morning (please note: this should be used as an estimate–exact placement of precipitation will change)
Fig. 2: Future radar Tuesday afternoon (please note: this should be used as an estimate–exact placement of precipitation will change)

While this is not a setup that climatologically produces major snow events, it increasing in likelihood that accumulations are likely. The event being a few days out makes it extremely difficult to forecast snow accumulations. There are two big negative factors for accumulations. I) Monday (the day before the snow) will be warm across this region, which will lead to warmer ground temperatures, and II) the window for snow is only about a 4-6 hour period. With that said, this does appear to be the best chance so far this season for accumulating snow across the South and Southeast. The snow rates should exceed melting and the best chance for accumulations will across northern & central Mississippi, Tennessee, northern & central Alabama, northern Louisiana and northern Georgia. Guidance is evening indicating some instability, which could lead to convective banding of snow. This could dump heavy snow amounts for isolated locations. It is too difficult to pinpoint where those bands may setup. That is almost a nowcasting scenario. Secondly, areas that see snow pre-dawn on Tuesday will have the best chance to see accumulations and nasty road conditions. Even though it is difficult to forecast snow accumulations this far out, I wanted to provide you with a preliminary snow accumulations map (see Fig. 3). Please note, this will likely change over the next 48-72 hours as we get closer to the event. It is possible the polygons may need to me reduced or expanded, and snow totals may need to be increased or decreased.

Fig. 3: Preliminary snow accumulation map

Please keep checking back for the latest updates!

Southern Snow Next Week! Accumulations Likely

The chance for snow continues to increase for parts of the South and Southeast for early next week. A potent cold front will move out of the Southern Plains into the South by Monday afternoon. Temperatures behind this front will quickly fall to near or below freezing. At the same time, an upper-level shortwave will move overhead. This shortwave combined with the vertical profile of the cold front will generate a strong upward motion in the atmosphere to allow precipitation to develop along and behind the cold front. Precipitation immediately behind the cold front will fall as rain Monday night and quickly transition to wet snow by Tuesday.

The first areas to experience snow will be eastern Oklahoma, northeast Texas, Arkansas, western Tennessee and northern Louisiana Monday night. The rain & snow will move east and southward by early Tuesday morning into central Tennessee and parts of Mississippi (see Fig. 1) before moving further east into parts of Alabama and Georgia later on Tuesday (see Fig. 2). It is possible parts of upstate South Carolina may even see a light rain & snow mix by late Tuesday.

Fig. 1: Future radar Tuesday morning (please note: this should be used as an estimate–exact placement of precipitation will change)
Fig. 2: Future radar Tuesday afternoon (please note: this should be used as an estimate–exact placement of precipitation will change)

While this is not a setup that climatologically produces major snow events, it appears accumulations are possible if not likely. Being a few days out, it is extremely difficult to forecast snowfall amounts. Especially given the warm day before the snow falls. However, the snow rates should exceed melting and the best chance for accumulations will across northern & central Mississippi, Tennessee, northern & central Alabama, northern Louisiana and northern Georgia (see Fig. 3). At this point, it appears some areas may see 1-4″. This will impact travel, especially for areas that see snow fall pre-dawn on Tuesday.

Fig. 3: Preliminary snow outlook

It should also be noted, a weak shortwave will move into the South and Southeast late Saturday into Sunday. Overall, this shortwave should not develop much precipitation but a sprinkle or flurry is possible across northern Mississippi, northern Alabama and northern Georgia during this timeframe. Again, do not expect anything significant. It is likely that most areas will only see an increase in clouds. Late next week also needs to be monitored closely as a strong arctic front moves into the South and Southeast. A strong temperature gradient could allow for a surface low-pressure to develop, which could generate wintry precipitation for the region (more details to come as we get closer).

Major Cold On The Way

A very cold stretch is in store for the Midwest, Great Lakes and Northeast through the end of January into early February (this will impact the Southeast–details discussed later in the article). Temperatures tonight into tomorrow morning will feel like 20 to 40 below zero for parts of the Midwest and Great Lakes (see Fig. 1). This cold will continue into the weekend for these regions and parts of the Northeast but the coldest air will arrive by mid to late next week.

Fig. 1: Feels like temps early tomorrow (Friday) morning

As we head into mid week (the end of January), it appears the polar vortex (I know, you’re tired of hearing this since it is so freely tossed around via media) will drop into the Midwest & Great Lakes (see Fig. 2). This equatorial displacement of the polar vortex will allow temperatures to fall even further than what will be experienced tomorrow (Friday) into the weekend. Temperatures by mid next week will be 30 to 50 degrees below average (see Fig. 3). High temperatures for parts of the Northeast, Midwest and Great Lakes will not get above 0 from Wednesday through at least Friday and likely be 5 to 15 degrees below zero for highs. It is possible feels like temperatures will be close to 60 degrees below zero.

Fig. 2: Polar vortex over the Great Lakes by mid next week
Fig. 3: 850mb temp anomalies by mid next week

So why is this cold air moving into the lower-48? The answer is due to a stratospheric warming event that occurred a few weeks back. When a quick stratospheric warmup occurs, it can allow the polar vortex to weaken and thus get displaced from the North Pole; sometimes that displacement is farther south towards the North American continent. When the displacement is over the North American continent (which is this case this time), very frigid air can engulf parts of the lower-48. This will be the case next week and possible as we head into February due to the weakened state of the polar vortex.

It is not only locations of higher latitude that will get in on the cold weather. Parts of the Southeast will be very frigid too by the end of next week (see Fig. 4). Thursday and Friday may of next week may feature high temperatures below freezing for parts of Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina with lows in the teens (or possibly single digits for some locations).

Fig. 4: 850mb temp anomalies by late next week

It should be noted, temperatures of this magnitude are dangerous. Actions must be taken to ensure your pets are protected. DO NOT LEAVE YOUR PETS OUTSIDE if cold weather is in the forecast for your area. If you have elderly neighbors, make sure they are okay. Protect the plumbing in and around your house and be VERY CAUTIOUS with space heaters.

Monitoring Winter Weather Potential For Southeast

We are keeping an eye on the upcoming work week for the Southeast for the potential of wintry weather. The first chance for wintry precipitation begins Tuesday night into early Wednesday for parts of the Carolinas and northeast Georgia. A weak ridge will build eastward (as a trough moves into the Plains), allowing moisture to stream into the region late-Tuesday. At this time, the Arctic air currently in place, will have begun to modify, but surface temperatures will still remain cold. As the moisture begins to move into this region, it is possible drizzle or light rain will develop Tuesday night. The low-level temperatures *could be cold enough for light freezing rain to fall Tuesday night into early Wednesday. Forecast soundings for this timeframe show wet-bulbing will occur possibly allowing for light freezing rain in the highlighted areas (see Fig. 1). As moisture continues to move into the region, temperatures will rise above freezing by late-Wednesday morning. This will minimize accumulations and allow the freezing rain to transition to all rain.

Fig. 1: Areas that have the best chance to see freezing rain

The next opportunity for wintry precipitation arrives late Wednesday into Thursday. The aforementioned trough will continue eastward, sending a cold front into the Southeast. Numerical guidance has trended towards the trough becoming neutrally tilted as it moves east of the Mississippi Delta, which would allow surface temperatures to fall rapidly behind the front. It is possible lingering moisture will be present behind the cold front, which could allow a 2-4 hour window for rain to mix with or change to light snow (see Fig. 2). At this time, it does not appear significant accumulations are likely. We will have to keep a close eye on this event as we get closer to Wednesday night and Thursday. A slower departure of moisture could allow for more meaningful snowfall to occur.

Fig. 2: Areas that have the best chance to see rain/snow

Another upper-level feature could aid in wintry precipitation as we head into the weekend for the Southeast but this is too far out and confidence is low. Keep checking back for updates.

Major Northeast Winter Storm

A potent winter storm will impact much of the Northeast over the weekend, which will dump feet of snow and create blizzard-like conditions (see Fig. 1). A strong low moving out of the Tennessee Valley will intensify over the Mid-Atlantic, coupled with the region being on the right entrance region of a potent upper-level jet streak, will generate widespread heavy precipitation for the region.

Fig. 1: Current winter weather products (warning, watch & advisory) in place

The heaviest snow will fall from northern Ohio into New England (this includes Pennsylvania western/central New York). These locations could see more than 2 feet of snow. It is not out of the question that some of the higher elevations in New England could see 3-4 feet (see Fig. 2). Along with the heavy snow accumulations, snow rates of 2-4″ per hour could occur with strong winds gusting between 40 to 60 mph. This will reduce visibilities, which could create blizzard conditions. This will make travel extremely dangerous.

Fig. 2: Forecast snowfall totals

Warmer air will be pulled into the system across coastal areas of New England and New York, down to northern Virginia, which will increase the freezing rain and sleet probabilities. Significant ice may accumulate in these regions (see Fig. 3), which will not only make travel difficult but put stress on other infrastructure and trees. It is possible that power outages will occur due to the weight of the ice.

Fig. 3: Forecast ice totals

It should also be noted, that as this low deepens, coastal flooding may occur. This threat is enhanced during high-tide on Sunday for all coastal areas in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast. The precipitation should begin to depart the region late in the day on Sunday (see Fig. 4) but a few lake effect snow bands may establish themselves as the low moves well off to the northeast by late in the day on Sunday.