A wintry conundrum, that’s for sure!

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Main Threats

Late tonight/Saturday morning: light wintry mix that could cause slick spots on roads

Saturday night: wintry mix that could cause slick roads

Sunday night/Monday morning: Light snowfall that could cause hazardous travel

Summary

(more details are in the Discussion section)

For today, look for cold and cloudy conditions. We may get to 40 degrees but most of the day will be spent in the 30s. Tonight, we’ll see a light wintry mix of snow and sleet  develop from south to north. By Saturday morning, we could be looking at some slick spots around the plateau.

The light wintry mix will change to mostly plain rain during the afternoon and evening. I think precip intensity will remain on the light side. This means you need to be prepared for some cold, light rain during the Crossville Christmas parade.

For the most part, Saturday night looks cold and rainy. By the early morning hours of Sunday, we could see some freezing rain and snow mix in with the rain. Light accumulations are possible so be careful if you’re out driving Saturday night and/or early Sunday morning. (Note: This part of the forecast is still complicated).

By Sunday afternoon we should be above freezing again, so any precip that falls would not cause problems. Colder air moves back in Sunday evening/overnight and that, along with an upper-level disturbance, means a chance for some light snow. Accumulations of 1-2 inches are possible by Tuesday morning.

Discussion

Normally, the forecast gets clearer as we get closer to a winter weather event. In some ways, that has happened with this system. In other ways, it has not. This is probably the most complicated winter weather forecast I have ever seen. Still, there are some things we can feel more certain about today than we did yesterday.

One thing that has become clearer is precip amounts. This is a huge piece to a complicated puzzle. It now looks like precip amounts will be on the light side for the plateau. That really helps us out when it comes to an ice storm threat, which is a threat that looked concerning yesterday. Now, even if all the rain Saturday night were to be freezing rain, it likely would not be enough to cause a crippling ice storm on the plateau. That’s how things look right now and I feel pretty good about that. We could see some icing, yes, but I don’t think the deepest moisture will get far enough north to cause a bad ice storm.

This is really good news, right?! I don’t know of anyone who wants an ice storm.

The other thing that has changed, and this will bring pain to all the snowbirds, is that the upper-level low that will swing through Sunday night is looking much less impressive in model data this morning. Therefore, instead of 2-4 inches of snow, I’m thinking we’ll be more in line with 1-2″. Could this part change? You bet! Upper-level lows are always complicated to forecast and you need to stay tuned. If that low is stronger when it swings through, we would get more snowfall. Upper-level lows are notorious for surprises. Keep that in mind.

Stay tuned to this forecast. It’s an ever-changing and evolving situation. I have a conference call to sit in on later this morning from the NWS Nashville. I’ll update you again with their thoughts when that is over.

The most complicated part of this forecast is the gradient between those who get a lot of precip versus those who get nothing. That gradient has tightened up and that is why it now looks like KY will dodge a big winter weather bullet.

Records

A winter storm struck Middle Tennessee on this day in 1989. At one point, 40,000 customers were without power in Nashville. This was a paralyzing ice storm for much of northern Middle Tennessee. That happened to include the Nashville area.

This winter storm was a big one. It dropped snow across Kansas and Oklahoma, at times dropping over half a foot of snow. However, by the time it reached Arkansas and Tennessee the precip had turned to freezing rain.

Almanac

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Sunrise: 6:37

Sunset: 4:25

Daylight length yesterday: 9 hrs 48 mins

Daylight length today: 9 hrs 48 mins

Daylight length tomorrow: 9 hrs 47 mins

One Year Ago Today

We were chilly this time last year, too. Our high was only 43 degrees, after a morning low of 27. There was no precipitation. The highest wind gust was 15 mph. I bet that felt a bit nippy with that afternoon high of 43!

News

Winter storm warnings (pink) are being issued for parts of the North Carolina mountains for this weekend’s storm. They are still looking at snowstorm that could drop 1-3 feet of snow there! Some places will see a once-in-a-generation snow event.

WARN_REG_SOUTHEAST-WINTER

I’ll update you again after this NWS conference call. You all stay warm today!

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