Powerful December Storm

Powerful December Storm
December 18th, 2013

We've had several small disturbances so far this December with five of the last 14 days with measurable snow but we're still waiting for that first big blast from a winter storm.  There's a big one out there this weekend, but is it lined up for us?  The short answer is no, but it's not too far away and with there still being some uncertainties with this storm with it still four days out, it still bears watching.

We're expecting a powerful winter storm to begin developing across the southern region of the country, in Texas as a cut off area of low pressure in the middle levels of the atmosphere moves in from Baja California.  With the jet stream kinking up to the north over the mid section of the country there will be a northeasterly trek to this developing storm.  The exact track, is still wiggling a bit.  Below is the storms forecasted position for Sunday morning at 6AM between the GFS and ECMWF, with the latter being a but further north, pulling snow closer to the local area.

The question is how close can the track get to us?  While we can't rule out a couple of snowflakes on our southeastern fringe, I'm expecting the fast evolution of the upper levels of the atmosphere to keep more of an easterly progression of this storm.  It should be enough to keep the worst effects well to our southeast.

There is high probability of 6"+ of snow somewhere with this storm.  The highest probabilities of this happening are across Kansas, Missouri, SE Iowa, Illinois and Wisconsin.

No doubt, this weekend will be filled with holiday travel.  If plans take you down south or east by car, try to leave on Saturday before this storm arrives.  If your travel plan is for driving on Saturday night or Sunday, be sure to check road conditions before you travel.  There are hints that the wind in association with this storm may be approaching 30-35 mph, very close to nearing blizzard criteria which would certainly cause even worse traveling conditions.

On the flip side, further south, there is eventually a transition through a wintry mix, eventually rain. There is potential for severe weather this weekend, too, across the lower Mississippi River Valley on Saturday (pictured below) and focusing on the Ohio River Valley for Sunday.  There is potential for heavy rain, damaging winds and tornadoes.

All told, a very powerful storm, however it's not looking like it's the one for us.  However, given it's very close proximity to southern Minnesota and northern Iowa it definitely bears watching.

Storm Tracker 6 Chief Meteorologist
Chris Kuball