Watching our snow chances for Friday night

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SUMMARY

Our Thursday will be filled with lots of sunshine. It will be a pleasant day, after  a very chilly morning low of 27 here in town. My home thermometer got down to 26. That’s a chilly April morning! Yet another storm system will begin moving in Friday and that will bring a chance of rain by Friday afternoon or early evening. Those showers will persist into the night, with the possibility of some heavier downpours. As temps fall into the low to mid 30s, precip will change to a rain/snow mix, or even all the way over to snow, by Saturday morning. The farther north you live on the plateau, the better your chances of snow Saturday morning. Some models are hinting up to 1/2″ of accumulation on the grass. I’ll keep an eye on that for you.  It just depends on how close to 32 degrees we get. Notice I have a low of 35 on Saturday morning. We would, of course, see no accumulation with that temp, but there are indications that we may drop to 31 or 32 early Saturday morning. It’s something to keep an eye on.

Other than that, Saturday looks  wintry for this time of year. Highs will struggle to reach 40 degrees, with clouds and showers around.

Below is the GFS model’s forecast for Saturday morning. It continues to indicate a mix for us, with heavier snow just to our north.

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DISCUSSION

The most interesting weather we have coming, by far, is this system for Friday night and Saturday. It still looks like enough cold air will work its way onto the plateau to give us at least a rain/snow mix. Should temps drop enough to produce all snow, we could see some light accumulation. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on this very complicated, tricky forecast. Forecasting winter wx on the plateau is never easy, even in the heart of winter. Can you imagine how difficult it must be in April!? ha

Beyond Sunday, the trend will be for below average temps and above average precip. We may even end up with another snow flurry chance or two. We’ll see.

I know it probably seems like a lifetime ago, but the storms we had Tuesday night caused some of us a couple of tense moments. For starters, some media outlets reported that we were under a tornado watch. That was never true. It was always a severe t-storm watch. Severe t-storm watches should be taken seriously, but folks always look at tornadoes in a completely different way than they do severe thunderstorms, even though straight-line winds can be just as destructive as weak tornadoes. Then, something set the tornado siren off in Pleasant Hill just as the storms were approaching. I’m hoping that was an accidental thing and not someone setting the siren off because storms were coming. Those sirens are only for tornado warnings. (I have strong feelings against the use of tornado sirens but I’ll save that rant for another day (ha)). Those things should NEVER be depended upon for your warnings. Never.

The greater concern came when a storm developed just ahead of the line. Those are always a great concern because they can produce tornadoes with little or no warning. They get caught up in the erratic wind fields ahead of the squall line and can sometimes get into a situation where they find themselves in an environment where they can become very severe, very quickly. A storm like this developed in Alabama a few weeks ago with a line of storms they had. It produced the largest hailstone in Alabama’s history.

Other things that concerned me where certain bowing segments and “kinks” in the main line. These are all features we have to watch for because they could indicate rotation and/or very strong straight-line winds. Thankfully, we made it through this event in pretty good shape, especially considering how much worse things could have gotten. And thankfully we didn’t have better wind fields for tornadoes. We got lucky, folks.

Below is a graphic I made that I hope shows you some meteorology that you may not have noticed on radar Tuesday night. We’ll have more of these squall lines as we go through the spring, we can count on that. And, like with Tuesday’s storms, I’ll be right here keeping you posted and answering any questions or concerns you may have.

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