UPDATE: Wednesday, December 19, 2012, 6:38 a.m.
Good Wednesday morning, my friends. Here is a quick update on the winter storm and blizzard that will be coming into eastern Iowa this evening, tonight, and Thursday, and in northern and west-central Illinois early Thursday morning and Thursday.
Check out this updated winter weather warning map!
The red indicates a “BLIZZARD WARNING” that extends westward back into central and western Iowa! That goes into effect from 6 p.m. Wednesday through 6 p.m. Thursday. A rain/snow mix will develop there Wednesday evening and transition into heavy wind-driven snow tonight and Thursday. New updated forecast totals in the “Blizzard Warning” area will easily reach 8-14″, with isolated higher totals with thundersnow. In addition to the heavy snow, winds approaching 50 miles-per-hour will make travel life-threatening.
The pinkish-fucia color along the Mississippi River, which includes the Quad Cities, is a “WINTER STORM WARNING”. That goes into effect at daybreak Thursday through Thursday evening.
It now looks like hometowns from Keokuk and Burlington, Iowa, to the Quad Cities, to Monmouth, Galesburg, Princeton, to Rockford, Illinois, will see rain develop Wednesday afternoon and Wednesday night. As temperatures drop to near freezing after midnight, the rain will become mixed with snow and change over to all snow by early Thursday morning. Thursday is when this area will see most of its accumulating snow.
This is the forecast map for noon Thursday. The dark green indicates all of the heavy snow.
4-8″ of snow are still likely in the Quad Cities, but when all is said and done, it may be on the lower side of that range the longer the transition from rain to snow takes. The same can be said for Burlington, Keokuk, and Princeton.
Southeast of the Quad Cities, around Galesburg, that rain to snow transition will likely not take place until Thursday, thus cutting your snow totals back to 1-4″.
As I stressed last night, most of Wednesday will be quiet. Once evening arrives, the bad weather comes with it, beginning in eastern Iowa.
I cannot stress enough that this will not be just a typical snowstorm. Winds of 50 miles-per-hour are possible and the blizzard conditions will catch many by surprise. And, with this winter being so quiet for so long, this first blast of snow is going to be very dangerous.
Be careful out there Wednesday night and Thursday. I want you around to talk to when I return back to the Quad Cities!
ORIGINAL POST: Tuesday, December 18, 2012, 4:31 p.m.
I’m sure if you’re reading this, you’re concerned with the snow coming in Wednesday night and Thursday. Snow won’t be the only problem with this incoming storm. Wind will be blowing the snow around reducing visibilities to near zero causing blizzard conditions. Interesting that we go so long without snow and then we get blasted by “Old Man Winter”!
Here is the latest watches and warnings that have been posted by the Quad Cities’ National Weather Service office.
The pink area is a “Winter Storm Warning” and this is where the heaviest snow will fall and the blue is a “Winter Storm Watch”. These watches, warnings, and advisories go in effect Wednesday evening through Thursday afternoon.
This is midday satellite Tuesday. Our storm is still on the west coast.
A rain/snow mix will begin late Wednesday afternoon or early evening. This will change to all snow, heavy at times, to the west of the Quad Cities Wednesday evening. The rain will become mixed with snow and then change over to all snow late Wednesday night or Thursday morning along and to the east of the Mississippi River.
Here is the forecast map for 6 a.m. Thursday.
Notice the really dark green to the west of the Quad Cities and on this map, six hours later at noon Thursday.
That and the blue indicates very heavy snow and that is where the “Winter Storm Warning” will be in effect. Those hometowns from around Galena, Illinois, and Dubuque, Iowa, back to Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, and Waterloo, could easily see 8-12″ with isolated higher totals!!!
In the Quad Cities to Rockford and Princeton, Illinois, 4-8″ are likely. To the southeast of the metro area from around Burlington, Iowa, to Monmouth and Galesburg, Illinois, 2-4″ are possible.
Since I’m sitting in the backseat of car writing this, I can’t make a map with snow forecast totals, but I gave you some cities for reference points. 🙂
I expect that a “Blizzard Warning”will be issued for much of Iowa Thursday.
Here is one thing you have to keep in mind. Our storm is still on the west coast. As it moves into the Plains Wednesday and to the Great Lakes Thursday evening, any shift in the storm’s path will alter snow totals.
If it tracks more to the north, the changeover from a mix to snow east of the Mississippi River will take longer and less snow will fall. If it tracks more to the south, hometowns along the River could pick up more than 8” of snow.
And, this is 6 p.m. Thursday.
All of those tightly packed lines around that low pressure system means there will be a lot of wind with this storm. Blizzard or blizzard-like conditions will make it very dangerous Thursday.
Let’s assume that we get at least 0.1″ of snow at the airport in Moline, Illinois, Wednesday evening, that will mark the 6th latest first accumulating snow in the Quad Cities, tied with December 19, 2001, and December 19, 1960.
If it’s the early morning hours of 12/20/2012, that would be the 5th latest start, tied with 1905. The latest first accumulating snow of the season was on January 7, 1940.
I’ll try to update you one more time Wednesday morning.