A winter weather advisory remains in effect until 10:00 this morning. Snow showers could begin at any time across the plateau, producing a dusting to one half inch of accumulation. For areas from Monterey to Jamestown, on the western side of the plateau, there could be some isolated one inch amounts.
These snow events are what we refer to as “northwest flow” events. This means the snow is the result of northwest winds hitting the plateau, forcing the air to rise. The plateau is oriented from southwest to northeast, so a northwest wind hits us at a 90-degree angle, which is ideal for instigating a rising motion to the air. That air rises, cools, condenses, and forms clouds and snow.
These northwest flow events are tricky to forecast because of their nature. There has to be enough moisture to not only form clouds, but to produce some precipitation. Plus, the precip doesn’t develop until it is right on top of us, since the plateau is the mechanism for getting the air to rise and drop it’s moisture in the form of snow flakes. The winds are northerly, which means they are moisture-starved, but these type of events are a very dry snow and it doesn’t take much moisture to get a little bit of snow when it’s a dry snow.
This won’t be anything like the snow we got on this date in 1935, when Crossville set it’s greatest one-day snowfall of 12 inches! We came close to breaking that with the Blizzard of 1993, but the 18″ total from the blizzard fell from Friday to Sunday morning. In 1935, we got a whole foot of snow in one 24-hour period! That was a Gulf of Mexico storm and those are the ones that bring our greatest snows. Those are the ones I really keep an eye out for!
Like I said, today’s snow showers are the result of northwest winds and they will be quite gusty today! Those winds will be filtering in colder air and temps will fall through the day. We’re down to 35 degrees right now (8:30 a.m) and that will be our warmest temperature of the day. Those northwest winds will make it feel at least 10-15 degrees colder than what it is, so be sure and bundle up! I keep seeing gusts on our weatherTAP station of 20-25 mph.
You all stay warm today and keep your eyes open for some snow flakes!