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!

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.

2 storm chances for East Coast

The Southern Storm is the big story with winter weather expected to impact from Texas to the Eastern Seaboard, leaving the first storm expected to form off the coast of the Carolina’s pretty much no attention attention.

 

This weak system is expected to slide up the coast and bring some rain to Eastern North Carolina with light snow from areas of Nebraska into Kentucky to Delaware and New Jersey ahead of the Southern Storm.  Matt has posted a handy map of the Winter Weather Advisories that are currently in place as this weak system moves across the country toward the coast.   This system will combine with the low shown above and slowly intensify as it moves to the Southeast of New England.  This system will bring snow into Southeastern New England with light accumulations during the early morning hours of Friday into Friday afternoon.    Early activity will likely be in the form of snow showers which may limit to coverage area of overall snowfall but the biggest problem to accumulating snow will be the warmth of the ground.   Any snow that does manage to stick will have a difficult time remaining in place for long, with the one thing that may save some areas from an instant melt being the cold temperatures on the way following this system.

Southern Storm

For the main event, which have been covered well by Chris and Matt for the Southern areas that’s will be impacted, the Southern storm looks like it’ll be wide right for many of our readers.  As seen in the previous articles, the system forms in the South and slides off the coast of the Carolina’s, leaving the heavier snow totals expected for that region.  the uncertainty in the speed and exact track of this system is causing some forecast issues, but aside from some lake effect snows  caused by the general flow pattern in the Great Lakes region, this second system looks to leave readers across most of Kentucky, West Virginia, Western and Central Pennsylvania back towards Ohio high and dry.

Southern Storm

The above model data is for 1 PM Saturday.   It shows the storm after it has left Georgia and areas further west and does not indicate that it will not snow there at all.  Just that it will not be snowing there at this particular point in time.

Watching the strength and track

The key question to the track of this system will be the strength of the lows and the energy brought into the pattern.  A strong set up will include more of the Eastern portions of the U.S while a weaker pattern will deprive even New England of any snowfall.  Despite the impressive moisture associated with this system, guidance is now really strengthening these lows very much.   For anyone along the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, please read the articles Matt and Chris put out about the south to stay informed about this system.   The information they have will be invaluable for track this system up the coast over time.   I’ll be around to keep you up to dat on all the latest for this system and its impacts for this region.   So keep an eye on both facebook and the website for further details.

 

Robert Millette

Firsthand Weather

Major Winter Storm Starts Across The South

snowstorm

A major winter storm is in the process of bringing a little bit of everything with a Tornado watch issued for through parts of Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi and winter weather warnings from Arkansas and Kansas all the way to New York City across 19 different states with snow or rain falling in 24 states. A potentially record breaking blizzard is expected to hit the mid-Atlantic and fall just short of hitting New England. Currently, locations under winter weather advisories are also under Severe Thunderstorm warnings and the tornado watch box for today is adjacent to counties that have winter weather advisories issued for later on today. It’s important for those who are in the worse affected areas to prepare themselves for what’s about to hit them. Do the basics like have a home safety kit, have enough food and water for at least 3 days, etc. You should also act fast after the storm has passed, checking your property for any damage it sustained. If you need to get roofing howard county md repairs after your roof was damaged in the storm then make sure you get it repaired quickly before it causes water damage. If you are a lover of dogs and enjoy taking your furry family member for walks regularly, we’d advise you to keep your dog dry as consistent wet fur for dogs can lead to illness, also it makes keeping home tidier and dry, easy.

warnings

Tornado Watches (some info is out of date now):

A Tornado Watch has been issued until 7 PM for

Angelina, Jefferson, Orange, Shelby, Hardin, Nacodoches, Sabine, Tyler, Jasper, Newton and San Augustine Counties in Texas.

Acadia, Beauregard, Cameron, Jefferson Davis, Rapides, Vermilion, Allen, Calcasieu, Evangeline, La Salle, Sabine, Vernon, Avoyelles, Caldwell, Grant, Watchitoches, St. Landry, and Winn Counties in Louisiana.

Strong to Severe Thunderstorms have been occurring in this region and will continue to occur this evening. Several Severe Thunderstorm and Tornado warnings have already been issued and this area will continue to bear watching for additional warnings this evening and even into the overnight hours as the system moves away.

A Tornado Watch has been issued until 10 PM for:

Ascension, Concordia, Iberia, Lafayette, Orleans, St. Bernard, St. James, St. Mary, Tensas, West Baton Rouge, Assumption, East Baton Rouge, Iberville, Lafourche, Plaquemines, St. Charles, St. John the Baptist, St. Tammany, West Feliciana, Catahoula, East Feliciana, Jefferson, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. Martin, Tangipahoa, and Washington Counties in Louisiana.

As well as Adams, Copiah, Franklin, Jefferson, Lamar, Lincoln, Neshona, Pike, Simpson, Warren, Amite, Covington, Hinds, Jefferson Davis, Lawrence, Madison, Newton, Rankin, Smith, Wilkinson, Claiborne, Forrest, Jasper, Jones, Leake, Marion, Pearl River, Scott, and Walthall Counties in Mississippi.

Strong to Severe Thunderstorms have been occurring in this region and will continue to occur this evening into the overnight hours. Several Severe Thunderstorm and Tornado warnings have already been issued and are currently active. This area will continue to bear watching for additional warnings this evening and even into the overnight hours as the system begins to move away.

Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and Missouri:

Light to moderate snow showers are currently falling from an area near Lincoln and Omaha Nebraska over to Oskaloosa, Iowa and down through much of Missouri and Kansas east of Witchita.

Winter Weather Advisories have been issued for the following Counties in Kansas: Cherokee, Crawford, Bourbon, Allen, Wilson, Greenwood, Lyon, Chase, Marion, Coffey, Anderson, Linn, Miami, Franklin, Osage, Shawnee, Jackson, Atchison, Jefferson, Leavenworth, Wyandotte, Douglas and Johnson Counties.

And the following counties in Missouri: Platte, Clay, Jackson, Cass, Bates, Vernon, Barton, Jasper, Newton, McDonald, Barry Lawrence, Dade, Cedar, Saint Clair, Henry, Johnson, Benton, Morgan, Hickory, Camden, Polk, Greene, Christian, Stone, Taney, Ozark, Douglas, Webster, Wright, Dallas, Laclede, Miller, Maries, Pulaski, Phelps, Texas, Dent, Shannon, Howell and Oregon

No advisories are issued for Nebraska or Iowa.

The further North and West you are the earlier these advisories will end with the first advisories ending at 4 PM CST and the last advisories ending around midnight CST.

A period of light to moderate snow is possible but the showers and squalls in this region are quickly diminishing. Accumulations of an inch are possible where these showers hold together with maybe 3-4 inches in the extreme Southeast corner of the state. As warm air begins to move back in at the surface this afternoon, patchy freezing drizzle is possible as the system pulls away. This region missed out on the storm for the most part as it developed too far to the south and east but the system will make the evening commute hazardous in many areas in this region none the less.

Arkansas and Northern Louisiana:

A Winter Weather Advisory has been issued for the following Counties: Marion, Baxter, Fulton, Izard, Sharp, Randolph, Searcy, Stone Pope, Van Buren, Conway, Yell, Montgomery, Pike, Clark, Ouachita, Calhoun and Bradley.

The advisory is in effect from 6 PM until 9 AM Friday CST.

Some freezing rain and drizzle will impact this area through this evening and additional showers of freezing rain, sleet and snow are likely overnight into the early morning hours of Friday. A few hundreaths of an inch of ice accretion can be expected in the Advisory area with snow and sleet accumulations of up to an inch with locally higher amounts up to 2 inches possible.

A Winter Storm Warning has been issued for the following Counties in Arkansas: Sharpe, Lawrence, Randolph, Greene, Clay, Independence, Jackson, Craighead, Poinsett, Mississippi, Cleburn, Faulkner, White, Woodruff, Cross, Saint Francis, Crittenden, Perry, Garland, Saline, Pulaski, Lonoke, Prairie, Monroe, Lee Phillips, Hot Spring, Grant, Jefferson, Arkansas, Dallas, Cleveland, Lincoln, Desha, Drew, Ashley and Chicot

And the following Counties in Louisiana: Morehouse, West Carroll, East Carroll, Richland and Madison.

Winter Storm warnings are in effect starting around 6 PM in Northern Arkansas and lasting until 6 PM Friday in Southern Arkansas and Louisiana. A trace to a few hundredths of an inch of ice is expected to fall across this area with 2-5 inches of snow and locally higher amounts expected as the storm begins to move away. Snow will fall more heavily for a time in the Eastern Central to Southeastern sections of this watch area but more rain will fall the further south you go and will keep amounts slightly lower in Louisiana and extreme Southeast Arkansas but the east central portion of the state could see as much as a foot of snow as heavy snow moves in towards the end of the storm.

Map valid for Friday morning

gap

Per the map , you can see precipitation moving into the Southeastern states as well as Kentucky, and towards the Mid-Atlantic.

Mississippi, Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana Ohio and West Virginia:

In Mississippi, North of Warren, Yazoo, Holmes, Attala, Winston and Noxubee, Winter Storm Warnings are in effect. More snow will fall in the western portion of the state where up to a foot of snow could fall as the cold air wraps around the back of the system. 3-6 inches will fall around Jackson with amounts dropping to 1-3 as you go toward the Alabama state line. For an interesting fun note, Warren County is currently under a Tornado Watch and then under the winter weather advisory for later on. Anyone for a tornadic thunder snow storm?

In Alabama, north of Pickens, Tuscaloosa, Jefferson, Shelby, Talladega, Clay and Cleburne Counties,

Winter Weather Advisories are in effect for an inch to 2 inches of snow. Rain will dominate the precipitation in this Alabama as the storm moves north and bring warm gulf air into the region but a late changeover to snow is possible for many areas as cold air wraps around the backside of the storm as it moves east. Accumulations are expected to be light but some sleet could fall during the transition as cold air at the surface moves in quicker than cold air aloft.

For Tennessee, every county in the state is under a Winter Weather Alert of some type. The middle of the state is under Winter Weather Advisories for 1-3 inches of snow. This area will also be impacted by the warm gulf air moving up into the region as the storm moves to the Northeast. After the initial low dissipates, the cold air coming in on the backside of the system will allow for a period of sleet and snow to occur and bring light accumulations to the area. In Western Tennessee, cold air will move in quicker as the storm stays south of Memphis and an area bounded by the state line towards Nashville will see amounts ranging from 4 inches upwards to a foot along the state line. Eastern portions of the state will see slightly higher amounts with 3-6 inches possible as precipitation begins as some snow and ice before changing to rain and then back to snow.

For Massac, Pope and Harden Counties in Illinois, Freezing rain is a major threat up to 2 tenths of an inch of freezing rain may fall with 3-6 inches of snow slated to fall.

The entire state of Kentucky is under winter weather warnings as freezing rain and snow are expected to accumulate through most of the state. Freezing rain accretion will be lower further east with a trace up to 2 tenths of an inch near Illinois. Nearly the entire state can expect at least 3 inches of snow with a swath from Louisville South expecting higher amounts throughout the entire state up towards 6 to 12 inches of snow. Eastern portions of the state as you approach the Appalachians will see 12-24 inches through the central part of the state.

In Indiana, Vandenburg, Warrick, Spencer, Dubois, Perry, Crawford, Orange, Washington, Harrison, Floyd, Clark, Scott, Jefferson, Switzerland, Ohio Counties are under Winter Weather Advisories for 1 to 4 inches of snow. These areas are on the northern fringe of the precipitation shield and will not see as much snow as areas to the south in Kentucky. Some counties to the north if these will see some wintry precipitation but only minor accumulations are expected.

For Ohio, Hamilton, Clermont, Clinton, Fayette, Pickaway, Fairfield, Perry, Muskingum, Guernsey, Belmont, Noble, and Monroe are under Winter Weather Advisories for 1-4 inches of snow. Similar to Indiana, these counties are on the fringe of the precipitation and will not see as much.

Brown, Adams, Highland, Ross, Pike, Scioto, Lawrence, Jackson, Gallia, Meigs, Vinton, Athens, Hocking, and Washington in Ohio are under Winter Storm Warnings for 4-8 inches of snow. This region will miss the really heavy stuff to the south.

Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, and Florida:

Florida will be a state that sees all rain and it presently has very little in the way of storm activity with a lone Severe Thunderstorm Warning active at the time of this writing. Friday will be a different story as the Storm Prediction Center gives a slight risk of severe weather to Northern Florida and Southern Georgia. While Florida won’t see any snow, showers and thunderstorms can be expected across the entire state.

For Georgia, only light amounts of snow are expected with 1-3 inches of snow and some light icing for the northern part of the state. Winter Weather Advisories have been issued for anywhere north of a Carrollton to Jonesboro to Lexington line including Atlanta.

A Freezing rain advisory has been issued in South Carolina for a line from Timmonsville to just north of Conway on into Castle Hayne North Carolina. A Trace up to a tenth of an inch of ice is expected in this region. Only a coating of snow may fall in this area.

Further North and West in South and North Carolina, The Piedmont region up into the mountains and foothills, including Greenville-Spartanburg and the Charlotte metro area should expect a significant icing situation with up to half an inch of ice accretion in the area. 2-10 inches of snow will fall with the higher amounts in the mountains and the lower amounts on the Piedmont. This ice and snow, along with gusty winds greatly increases the risk of power outages and makes for very dangerous travel. Any preparations for this storm should be completed by tonight.

The coastal plain for North Carolina also has winter weather advisories issued until 11 AM Friday. There will be about a tenth of an inch of snow and some small sleet accumulations. This will be a mostly rain event for this area as the storm develops off the coast.

Southern Winter Storm Possible Late This Weekend But Uncertainty Exists

GFS snow model

I’m going to start this article by making two brutally honest remarks. First, there are a few uncertainties with this forecast, and if there is ever going to be a forecast that I’ll have to make some changes to, it’ll be this one. Secondly, I’ve seen statements from several meteorologists saying things like, “the European model almost always performs better than the GFS so the GFS model shouldn’t be taken seriously with the southern winter storm prediction.” That’s just awful meteorology. Yes, saying that the European model often does better than the American models is true. That’s fact. However, it isn’t an excuse for not analyzing the entire scenario fully, which I intend to do. Just assuming that a model will be right, regardless of how good it is, is never a safe position to be in.

We have a tricky forecast period on our hands. I’ve stated countless times that just after January 15th would be the timeframe to watch for a potential winter storm across parts of the South. The January pattern so far has fit the description very well of this being a transition month, and as predicted, there have been intermittent warmups in between. A similar pattern should continue throughout the rest of this month before more sustained cold may try to establish itself across the eastern U.S. in February. The first few initial surges of Arctic air have been more potent each time, and while these air masses have been cold, they haven’t been hugely impressive very far south. This is not too big of a surprise, but still, it’s been much colder for many than last month was.

A shortwave (a disturbance) will be moving in along the Pacific jet stream into the United States this week. This will aid in the deepening of a surface low pressure system that will move across the northern U.S., eventually reaching the Great Lakes towards the end of the week into the weekend. A separate wave will move northeast from Mexico and likely trigger the development of a coastal low early this weekend. The energy from the northern system will probably eventually transfer to the coastal low. The Northern Plains and Great Lakes region will initially get some snow from the northern system and parts of the Northeast will also get some snow from this. Parts of the Ohio Valley and surrounding regions could see some snow on the backend of this system as Arctic air rushes southward into the U.S. from Canada this weekend.

That’s only the first event to watch!! There’s another system that could develop later in the weekend into early next week, and that’s the one that’s causing all of the rumors about possible wintry weather across the southern U.S.

Southern Winter Storm Potential – Discussion:

This is a complicated forecast. I’d be lying to you if I acted like it wasn’t. After the system that I discussed above pushes northeast, Arctic air is going to rush in behind it. We’ve seen a similar scenario occur a couple of times this month, and the models have varied on the intensity of the cold each time.

Now, some people seem to think that there has to be really cold air in the South to have a shot at getting snow, and that’s not entirely true. What some individuals fail to understand is that when an Arctic air mass drops south, it can often suppress the southern jet stream too far south for any of the southern regions to get precipitation with their cold. This late weekend/early next week scenario is going to be a good case to show you my point, whether it ends up snowing across parts of the South or not. On the heels of the first piece of energy (shortwave) that I discussed earlier, another one is going to follow right behind, digging farther to the South. As I mentioned, Arctic air is going to rush in behind the first system, setting the stages for a potential winter storm across parts of the South.

Here’s the problem and the uncertainty: timing of the southern stream system and uncertainty on how far south the cold air mass will dig. The GFS model brings in the system faster, therefore it doesn’t get suppressed nearly as far south as what the European model shows. That’s why it has been consistently showing a southern winter storm. The European model has the southern system coming in much slower; therefore, the long-wave trough would already be well established across the eastern U.S. with surface high pressure much farther south. As a result, the system would get suppressed too far south to be a threat to the southern U.S. Now, some of you may be thinking, “Matthew, why not go with the European model since it often performs better than the American models do?”

I think that’s a legitimate question. This is what everyone needs to keep in mind. The GFS model actually has done better with modeling the potency of these Arctic air masses so far this winter. In the medium and long-range, the European model has tended to be too aggressive, and there are a handful of reasons these air masses haven’t been AS cold, although still cold. Also, the European model often ends up being too slow with southern stream systems and holds them back too long. Since the timing of this southern system is so crucial, it’s going to be the difference between a southern winter storm and not. During El Nino winters, southern stream disturbances often race more quickly across the U.S. along an active sub-tropical jet stream. We’ve already seen this happen so far this winter, particularly this month. In fact, the strong Pacific jet stream is likely one of the culprits behind why colder air hasn’t been able to establish itself over the eastern U.S. over a long period of time, due to the western ridge getting knocked down, which again, isn’t too surprising at this point in January given the current El Nino strength.

This GFS model brings the system much farther north as you can see. Keep in mind that each image depicts only one point in time. There would likely be a rain to snow changeover for some of these regions, and the specifics on location will change A LOT.

gfs snow map 1

GFS snow model

On the other hand, the European model has the southern wave coming in slower, keeping it suppressed south. Notice the feature in the western Gulf:

european model snow

So honestly, it’s the battle of the models. I hope that I gave you a compelling reason to at least be skeptical of the European model, and while it could be right once again, there’s enough reason for me to side with the system coming farther north right now, potentially bringing a winter storm across the southern U.S. into parts of the Mid-Atlantic states late this weekend into Monday. It’s kind of ironic that southern stream systems have been coming in too quickly for a southern winter storm this month, but in this case, it actually needs to move in quickly this time. Timing is crucial in meteorology, and models often have issues forecasting individual systems with such a volatile pattern as we have now. It would be okay for the air mass to be as cold as the European model is depicting, but the southern stream system needs to move in more quickly before the air mass can suppress it too far south.

Regions that I’m watching most closely are parts of Oklahoma, northern Texas, northern Louisiana, parts of Arkansas, northern half of Mississippi, northern half of Alabama, northern half of Georgia, northern half of South Carolina, parts of North Carolina and Virginia, and parts of the Tennessee Valley. Parts of the Mid-Atlantic could be impacted, too. I know this is very general, but due to higher than average uncertainty, I can’t get more specific than that.
PLEASE understand the limitations of forecasting an event like this that is going to be highly dependent on timing. Because of the uncertainty, I will likely have to do a follow-up forecast later in the week or early this weekend.

Folks, this is a tricky forecast. I will continue to monitor this very closely and keep a close watch on the latest trends.