UPDATED POST: Saturday, January 30, 2016, 4:18 p.m.
Here’s a quick update. I’ve really enjoyed highs today near 50° in the Quad Cities.
The big storm that we’ve been watching since it was near Japan earlier this week is now just off the Pacific coast and should move over land tomorrow. When that happens, the amount of data we’ll have will increase drastically and so will the confidence in the winter storm forecast for Monday night and Tuesday.
The latest trend for the Quad Cities, eastern Iowa, and northern Illinois is a warmer forecast. This would give us a wintry mix late Monday night, some rain Tuesday, and a transition to snow Tuesday evening and early Tuesday night.
This would also cut back on how much snow we’ll see. At this time, the heaviest snow, 6″+, will fall across western and central Iowa.
Now, with that being said, that’s how it looks this evening. This is all subject to change tomorrow once the storm comes ashore.
I’ll have another update Sunday and it’ll likely have more concrete solutions for what we’ll see Tuesday.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.
ORIGINAL POST: Saturday, January 30, 2016, 6:48 a.m.
We’re now just three days away from a big snowstorm that’ll drop some heavy snow across the Midwest. Parts of eastern Iowa and northwestern Illinois could be getting in on some of that, too!
Before that, weekend temperatures will warm well into the 40s to around 50° Saturday and into the 40s Sunday with light rain.
Now, let’s talk snow.
The storm system that’ll bring us the snow is still out in the Pacific Ocean and is expected to come ashore Sunday along the west coast. At that time, it’ll track to the southern Plains and then make its way to the Great Lakes by Tuesday evening.
Sounds simple enough? Yes. But, from a weather forecasting standpoint, no. The problem lies in what path does it take across Missouri and Illinois.
Some models have the storm farther north this morning and some have it farther south!
If the low pressure system tracks across the Quad Cities, it’ll keep the metro area and much of Illinois in the warmer air longer and cut back on snow.
If the storm tracks toward Chicago out of Missouri, we could be seeing heavier snow in eastern Iowa and a quicker transition from rain or a wintry mix to snow.
Here’s NOAA’s GFS forecast map for noon Tuesday.
So, the big question regarding heavy snow is which path out of Missouri will the low take on the way to the Great Lakes.
I’m very comfortable saying that western and central Iowa will see heavy snow, 6″ or more.
Remember the map I showed you Friday. At this point in the game with the uncertainty, it’s still valid.
For now, plan on much of Iowa getting a lot of snow. As you head toward eastern Iowa and northwestern Illinois, we’re still in a holding pattern — will we see several inches or more or less?
There is a lot of moisture associated with this storm.
For simplicity sake, it’s all snow and we use the 10:1 rule, some places could see between 6-12″ of snow.
If the Quad Cities ends up getting on the cold side, we’ll get a big snow. But, if we’re on the warm side, a moderate rain event with a little snow on the backside is more likely.
If the moderate to heavy snow potential wasn’t enough, there’s going to be a lot of wind with this storm causing considerable blowing and drifting snow, where the heaviest snow falls.
I’ll have another update later in the day Saturday.