A Big Mess: Rain/Snow/Ice On The Horizon
Let’s Start With A Calm View
One of the few spots around the nation to still stick with 70s and even isolated 80s: the far Southeast. I start you off with this picture, before we get into the mess that is on the way for Kentucky/Tennessee/et al because I am in dire need of a warm weather vacation! Here it is, a sunrise in Miami:
How would you like to wake up to that?
Or maybe this one, a sunrise in Memphis today:
Not bad, in that view – but that ignores the scenario that is on the way for the Tennessee & Kentucky regions – on into Georgia. A clipper system is on that way, and that clipper system will look to provide snow to areas in northern Kentucky and regions northward; and bring ice and mixed showers to southern Kentucky and regions southward.
Let’s talk first about the snowfall potential:
Those white shaded regions indicate anything from a trace of snowfall to upwards of nearly 2 inches, while the bright teals indicate 2-4″ of snowfall. It’s interesting, in the snow-section of the storm, to see how wide the swath of 2-4″ snowfall extends.
The reason for this? The overall speed of the system. We’re seeing this clipper system already over the Dakotas as of around 10am this morning (before the writing of this blog), and by Friday morning it will be centered over the Great Lakes region – with snow chances in the Northeast from the same system moving in, already, by Saturday! Incredible speed. Think about how fast you’d be able to drive from Canada, just north of western North Dakota, to, say, New York. Probably a bit longer than a day!
Mess To The South
The ice potential is shown in pink, with snow as whitish/blue and rain as greenish/bluish. You can see that Tennessee finds itself right in the middle of what could end up as the worst precipitation type.
There is a reason for that. Typically, you get cooling temperatures as you head up into the atmosphere. In this case you are going to be seeing warming with height. Look at this map, showing temperatures about a mile up in the atmosphere. Keep in mind, as you look at this, that in an “ideal” atmosphere you’d see close to a 30 degree temperature *decline* in the lower mile of the atmosphere:
You’ve got 30s and 40s *above zero* at roughly one mile into the atmosphere. That level is below the snow-zone, so you’ll see precipitation originating as snowflakes, then melting, and then falling as liquid until it hits freezing temperatures. Where will those freezing temperatures be? Well, check out this image of surface temperatures forecasted for the same time-frame as the image above:
20s and lower 30s over much of Tennessee and Kentucky? That doesn’t look good. Compare that to the image above (click here to jump back up). Remember, though, how quickly this system is moving. That is what will work in people’s favor and limit the overall quantity of precipitation – regardless of which type it will fall as.
Stay safe out there – whether you are seeing all snow from this, or all ice.
WeatherNation Meteorologist Aaron Shaffer @ashafferWNTV