Friday's snow storm still up in the air

Don Schwenneker Image
Wednesday, January 20, 2016
ABC11 Meteorologist Don "Big Weather" Schwenneker
ABC11 Meteorologist Don "Big Weather" Schwenneker

Yesterday, I swung by the grocery store on the way home from work.

A lady recognized me, saw that I was buying bread, and asked me "Should I be worried?" I replied, "Nah, sometimes the weather guy's family just needs bread."

I do not think this evening's snow will keep us away from the bread aisle tomorrow. The storm on Friday could be more of a problem.

RELATED: Bundle up again today! DOT preparing for wintry weather

The biggest problem for us right now is trying to decide the track of a storm that is still a long ways off. First, here's what we know.

We know we're going to see some wintry precipitation on Friday and Saturday. We know we're going to see rain mixing with it and it could be heavy. That is what we KNOW.

Now, let's look at some of the things we don't' know, and how we're trying to figure it out. We'll begin with snowfall from the various models. THESE ARE NOT THE FORECAST. I can't stress that enough, it's just what we are looking at to help make our own forecasts.

The European model has been aggressive with the snowfall totals from the get-go. It shows over 6" of snow in the Triangle.

The reason for this is a more southerly track and more cold air wrapping in. So far, this is worst-case scenario, or what we like to call, Snowmageddon. Next, the GFS.

The GFS, or Global Forecast System, has changed a bit over the last 24 hours.

It has upped the totals a bit and has changed the track of the overall storm.

It does bring more snow to the region and pushes the snowfall further south than it did Tuesday.

We couldn't look at this one Tuesday, because it didn't go out into the future that far, so today is our first look at it.

It really knocks the totals down, especially when we compare it to the Euro. But there's a reason for it. It also shows a chance at some significant ice accumulations.

Notice, it gives parts of Chatham, Orange, and Durham counties a shot at over a 1/2 inch of ice. Yikes!

That could bring tree limbs down and several power outages.

A 1/2 of ice would add up to 500 extra pounds of weight to area power lines. This model also shows a significant ice storm for much of the viewing area. That's not good.

Finally, there's the possibility that it stays more on the rain side, and less in the way of frozen stuff.

Some of the liquid available for this storm could equal 2" of rain. That would bring back flooding concerns, especially along some of our area rivers. Nobody wants that!

These models update with better information every 3, 6, or 12 hours (depends on the model).

We'll continue to check them as they come in and adjust the forecast by Friday.

Plus, I wouldn't be surprised to the see the National Weather Service issuing some watches/advisories/warnings sometime later Wednesday, or certainly Thursday.

There's still a lot to look at, and we're 2 days away from the wintry mix starting to fall. At lease we still have 2 more days to get our milk and bread.

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