Friday's a mess. Just depends on type of mess we'll see

Don Schwenneker Image
Thursday, January 21, 2016
Welcome to North Carolina sign with snow

Day 3 of watching this storm and Day 3 of working on a forecast.

Over the past couple of days I've tried to let you in on some of the things we look at when it comes to forecasting a big storm like this.

Live chat: Meteorologist Steve Stewart answers your questions on the approaching winter storm

Remember, if you want just a quick hit of what's coming, you can always click here. I update our daily weather blog is every morning by 4:30 a.m.

Now, let's get meteorological ...

First, the storm.

Looking at the water vapor image, we are starting to see some development of this thing over the Texas-Louisiana area.

That area of clouds is the first sign of the storm headed in. By the time it moves through on Saturday, we'll see a very well defined comma shape around this area of low pressure.

Now to the models. First we'll talk ice:

The GFS model is really pounding the ice. I really think this is overdoing it. For us to see up to an inch of ice would be catastrophic.

Next, we look at our in-house model.

Its highest amounts are around 1/2". I think this may be closer to what we see since we'll see a lot of rain working through holding down the ice totals. Here's my forecast for now:

Next, we look at snow. The models are coming more in line with snow returning to the region on Saturday. For the northern part of the Triad, they may see an all snow event without the changeover to ice.

First, the European model.

The Euro continues to shove this system south and wrap more cold air in. As that happens, it keeps the ice out and shows all snow and some MAJOR snow totals. 9" in Raleigh would be 3" OVER our average for a typical winter.

The North American Model (or the NAM) continues to significantly play down the snow totals. It does put down 1/2" of snow for Fayetteville.

The forecast I'm going with tends to keep down the totals in favor of more rain for most of the latter part of Friday, for now.

This forecast is SUBJECT TO CHANGE. I say that, not to cover my posterior, but the track of this storm will be critical into how much snow we see.

If this storm system slows down on Saturday, we could see several hours of snow on the backside of this storm and that will push the totals significantly higher.

Just be prepared as we head into Friday, especially for power outages from ice. Everyone jokes about bread and milk, but you should have some supplies on hand, mainly non-perishable foods that don't need refrigeration or cooking. Make sure you have batteries, flashlights, and blankets. Fill the car with gas today too. You'll have a built in generator to charge electronics.

The end of this week will be a mess. It just depends on what type of mess we'll see. Continuing to watch ...

ABC11 Eyewitness News will be starting at 4 a.m. Friday with live winter weather coverage. Tune in!

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