Winter Storm on Sunday Increasingly Likely

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Updated: 2/17/2012 9:49 am
Friday, February 17, 2012: Sunday's Winter Storm Is Increasingly Likely

Good Friday morning, folks!  The snow geese are honking.  Those of you who have been wanting snow have good reason to be excited - with at least a "cautious optimism" - for the second half of the weekend.  There is decent agreement among the computer models that an accumulating snow will fall on Sunday morning, through midday, after a period of rain.  This could easily become our most significant storm of the winter, potentially by a longshot.

Today will be pleasant with partly sunny skies and highs near 50°.  Clouds will increase from southwest to northeast tonight, and we'll fall to near 34°.  Saturday will be mostly cloudy with highs in the lower 50s, and some rain showers will spread north from Tennessee on Saturday evening (southern KY) and Saturday night (into the Bluegrass).  

As low pressure passes to our south and eventually southeast, rain will change to snow, and we will see a significant period of snowfall across most of the area on Sunday morning through midday.  While snowfall will be on the light side to the north and west of Lexington, a significant accumulation is likely in southeastern Kentucky.  

We are still 48 hours away, and the run-to-run differences in the computer models are still significant enough that it is too early to make a county-by-county numerical snow forecast.  However, here is a general preview.

   

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Here is one of the more reasonable-looking ensemble member forecasts for precipitation type at 7 AM on Sunday.  At this time, we will be changing from rain to snow across much of the area (earlier to the north, potentially later to the south and southeast). 

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Courtesy: Penn State Univ. Dept. of Meteorology

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Massive disclaimer for the following two maps:  I will now post two computer model-generated forecasts for snowfall, from the GFS and then from the NAM.  These are not our official ABC 36 forecasts, nor should they be taken literally.  There will be changes between now and Sunday regarding the specific track as well as thermal characteristics of the atmosphere. 

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With that said, here is this morning's GFS forecast of snowfall.

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Courtesy: http://www.wxcaster4.com

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... and this morning's WRF model run...

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Courtesy: http://www.wxcaster4.com

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STAY TUNED... we'll have a full update at noon on ABC 36, after the 12z data finishes processing.

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Geoff


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