Hello all, prospects for an Ohio Valley major winter storm continue to rise for the coming weekend. A very strong jet will carve out a huge trough in the upper atmosphere across the middle sections of the United States this weekend. As a result, an intense storm system will form across the middle MS valley and track east, northeast through the Ohio Valley later Saturday into Sunday. If you read my post from yesterday, I talked about the track I preferred – i.e. the track that took the surface low along the Ohio River and then east northeast. I still like that track and the 06Z run fromthe GFS and the 00Z run from the ECMWF ensemble strongly support this track as well. Here are those plots …
Both solutions paint a major winter storm for the Ohio Valley! The GFS’s solution is a bit farther south and would likely mean more of a wintry mix than rain at the start transitioning to heavy snow during the overnight hours Saturday and into Sunday. The ECMWF’s ensemble solution is a touch farther north and would mean rain across our area Saturday afternoon into Saturday evening with a transition to snow (likely accumulating) overnight Saturday into Sunday. In addition, the sfc system will be rapidly deepening Saturday into Sunday. This looks like a possible thundersnow event especially for areas just to our north (i.e. somewhere in the central IN to central Ohio region) where the intense WAA (warm air advection) pattern is occurring but in locations where it will still be cold enough for all snow. In addition, as the sfc low rapidly deepens, the wind field will also dramatically increase. Bottom line, blizzard / near blizzard conditions could result with the best chances for this occurring across IN and OH… If (again IF) the 06Z GFS solution were to verify, near blizzard conditions could also occur in our area – I’m not yet sold on this southern solution that the 06Z run of the GFS is painting simply because the model has a cold bias to it and as a result, many times it places systems too far south (especially when the event is outside 84 hours).
Update… 12z GFS in coming in and is indeed trending north more in line like the 00Z ECMWF ensemble. This would still give us a very wintry Sunday with snow (some accumulations) strong winds and cold temperatures, but if I’m in St. Louis, Springfield -IL, Indy – and points east, northeast………… I’d be lickin’ my chops right about now. As you know, a lot can (and likely will) change before the actual event so as usual we will watch it for you and have updates as new info comes in.