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Weekend System Gets Nasty Saturday Night

Weekend System Gets Nasty Saturday Night

February 20, 2019 08:42 PM

A prolonged storm system over the weekend will bring a wide array of weather conditions to the region.  While initially the warmer side of the spectrum plays out, old man winter will rear back his head and create big impacts after that mild start.  Here's a rough rundown of what we could expect.

This system overall will have two separate phases to it with a bit of a lull in the middle. The first surrounds Friday evening into Saturday and the second Saturday evening into Sunday.

Friday Eve into Saturday:  A warmer sector of air means a wintry mixture of rain/sleet/snow at times if not turning to all rain/drizzle for a time on Saturday.  Accumulating snow in this timeframe looks minimal and mainly confined to the Friday night timeframe.  Any snow that does fly looks better served well to our northwest.

Saturday Evening into Sunday:  The colder component begins to arrive along with the second surge of moisture from the south.  We'll be in the target zone for a very intense band of snow to develop.  Under this band some very fast accumulating snow will be possible and may even contain some lightning and thunder.  The placement of this band will be key in determining how much snow we may see.  It is uncertain as to exactly where this heaviest band sets up, but confidence is increasing  that we will likely see an impact from snow in some form in this timeframe.  And that's the main key because what also comes Saturday night into Sunday... the wind.

Wind gusts up to 45 mph will be possible and should be plenty strong enough with any fresh snowfall to create blizzard conditions across our region.  Considering the amount of snow on the ground and piled up along highways, this is a recipe for possible closures of major roads due to blowing and drifting snow.  The worst of the wind appears likely through Sunday morning before slowly easing the rest of the day.  But if this scenario continues to hold, it would take quite a while to recover after this storm moves out.  At this point, travel in the Saturday night / Sunday timeframe looks like it will at minimum be extremely difficult if not ultimately impossible.

Amounts of snowfall expected will be a hotly contested issue to decipher in the coming days.  The fact that there's a mix component/rain on the southeast side of this snow band and a sharp, dry cutoff on the northwest there will be widely varying results over short distances.  At this point, confidence is high that the maximum totals under wherever this band sets up will be exceeding 8-10" in spots.

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