Snow Cover Update... Rain On The Way

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Updated: 2/15/2012 9:48 am
Wednesday, February 15, 2012: 45% of Continental US Snow-Covered (Yesterday)... Now, Milder, Rain & A T-Storm Tonight / Thursday AM

Good Wednesday morning, everybody.  We're making progress through the workweek, and temperatures are recovering. 

Before looking ahead at the forecast details, I wanted to show yesterday's National Snow Cover Analysis from NOAA.  Yesterday morning, 45% of the continental US was covered in snow.  I haven't been watching every single day, but this is the most widespread snow cover, on a national level, I remember this winter.



Courtesy: NOAA


Today, melting will continue across the Ohio Valley as temperatures climb back above average by mid to late afternoon.  In and around Lexington, we'll peak near 50°.  After about a week of below-average temperatures, we will warm back up about 4 or 5° above our average high of 46° today.


The next storm system will arrive overnight tonight, with rain that will continue into Thursday.  The latest WRF model forecast indicates that from the Tennessee State Line to the Ohio River, most of our area should receive between 0.25" and 0.75" of rain.



Courtesy: Penn State Univ. Dept. of Meteorology


While most of the event will feature regular rain showers of the stratiform (non-convective) variety, there may be an isolated thunderstorm or two embedded within the larger batch of rain.  Instability will be very, very limited as far north as Kentucky tonight (see the Lifted Index forecast from the NAM / WRF), BUT, the dynamics will be relatively strong.  A low-level jet of 50-60 mph will be screaming from the south, about 5,000' overhead.  That will help to feed some moisture-rich air into the region, and this should promote at least a few isolated thunderstorms.




Courtesy: Penn State Univ. Dept. of Meteorology


The system will exit to the east during the second half of Thursday, and we'll transition back to dry and seasonably chilly weather for Friday under partly sunny skies.  Highs will be near 48° on Friday, within a degree or two of average.


A larger storm system will pass to our south this weekend.  There is still some uncertainty regarding the exact track of this storm, but it looks like the northern edge of the system may pass close enough to produce a rain / snow mix in southern Kentucky, late on Saturday into early on Sunday.  Here is the latest GFS forecast for Saturday night, between 7 PM and 1 AM (Sunday morning, technically).



Courtesy: Penn State Univ. Dept. of Meteorology


Stay tuned for details regarding the weekend.  In general, the farther north you are, the more likely you will be to stay dry.


Have a great day!


Geoff

 

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