The calm before the storm

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First of all, I forgot to explain to those of you who only get my blog on TAP’s intranet that I added the time banners to the top of the outlook this past weekend. Those of you who follow the blog at meteorologistmark.com got to see it for the first time this past weekend. I highlight weather hazard times and include a word or two about what the hazard is.  I hope you like the addition! Now,  on to the forecast.

One of the many perks to living in the South is that you get these nice breaks from the cold. We’re never really that cold for an incredibly long period of time. If you like spring-like weather today is your day! If you like winter-like weather your day is coming!

With sunshine today we should warm up to 60 degrees. If we can squeeze out a mostly sunny day we might even go a degree or two north of 60! Can you believe how much it has warmed up? This is the calm before the storm, folks.

Tomorrow, clouds will be on the increase and we’ll be dodging some sprinkles and isolated showers. Winds will begin to pick up a bit but they shouldn’t be too bad. As we go through the night Thursday, temps will stay very mild, as we’ll be in a good southerly flow from the Gulf ahead of this next storm system. Rain should be picking up in coverage as we go through the night, as well.

Friday is the day taking center stage.

As we go through the morning on Friday, rain and wind will increase in coverage and intensity. Rain could become heavy at times and winds could gusts to 25 mph or more. Isolated t-storms are also possible, though all storms should stay below severe limits. The arctic front will be progressing through the state as we go through the morning, changing the rain to a wintry mix of freezing rain, sleet and snow. I’ll update as we go through the day as to where the front has progressed to. Once the front passes, temps will drop dramatically. Those of you with digital thermometers will be able to watch the temp drop by several degrees at a time. Within an hour after the front has passed, precipitation will have become a wintry mix (if not sooner).

As for timing for the Cumberland Plateau….I think that as long as you’re home and off the roads by dark you’ll be fine. Timing is something we’ll be adjusting as we get closer to Friday. As of right now, I think we’ll be in plain rain through at least 5:00 p.m.  The wintry mix will likely accumulate a little bit of ice for us, perhaps similar to what we saw Monday morning. You have a clear picture of what a glaze of ice can do, after what we saw Monday morning, so take that to heart. The mix will change to snow. Now, how long it stays a mix is a big question mark, but I don’t think we’ll get anywhere near ice storm criteria. Right now, I think we’ll get a glaze and then we’ll switch to snow. I’ll keep an eye on this.

As far as snowfall amounts, I think we’re looking at a good coating of at least 1-2 inches for Friday night. The heaviest snow should be to our west, especially from around Nashville to Bowling Green, KY to Lexington, KY.  If you have travel plans that take you west of the plateau on Friday, I would strongly advise you to reconsider. Ice accumulations across West TN could reach ice storm criteria, followed by snow accumulation. As cold, arctic winds switch to the northwest, along with an incoming disturbance, we should see light snow continue through at least Saturday afternoon, with additional light accumulation possible. By the time all is said and done, I would expect the plateau to wake up Sunday morning to at least 2-4 inches of snow. That’s the thinking as of now.

As the arctic front passes through our state, an area of low pressure will be developing along that front. Where that low forms and the speed at which it moves northeast are both key to knowing how much snow and ice we’ll get. At this time, confidence is fairly high that the heaviest snow and ice will stay just west of the plateau. That could change and I advise you to stay tuned.

As always, I’ll be here watching it all and keeping you updated. Just plan on travel being disrupted Friday night and on through the weekend.

Again, get out and enjoy this weather today. It’s not going to stay this way for long.

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