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Winter Wx Update: Best/Worst Case Scenario (Issued Sat at 2:00 pm)

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First, let’s start with my current forecast (subject to change).

Round 1:

What: Freezing rain & sleet (up to 1/4 inch of ice)

When: Wintry precip begins shortly after sunset Sunday

Good point: A break in the precip is possible from mid-morning to around noon on Monday. Temps may warm above freezing, melting some of the morning ice.

Great point: There will be little to no wind.

Round 2:

This could be the most serious part of the storm.

What: Freezing Rain (up to 1/4 inch of ice)

When: Monday afternoon and evening

Good point: This comes in the afternoon, when temps are warmest. Just one degree can make a big difference in impacts.

Great point: There will be little to no wind.

Round 3:

What: Snow (up to 2-4 inches)

When: Monday night

Good point: A transition to snow cuts down on ice. Snow is FAR less destructive and easier to drive on.

Great point: Winds will remain light.

Worst Case Scenario:

We don’t get a break Monday morning and precip is more than anticipated. This would take ice totals into the 1/2 – 3/4 inch territory. Even in the worst case scenario, I still don’t see widespread 1″ amounts of ice, like we did in 2015.

Also, even in the worst case scenario I still don’t see us getting gusty winds. That will significantly reduce the damage from the ice.

*In a worst case scenario, we end up with around 3/4 inch of ice and up to 4 inches of snow on top of that. (Chance of this happening at about 20%)

Best Case Scenario:

  1. The storm pulls up warmer air and the afternoon and evening freezing rain potential turns to plain rain. That would nearly avoid an ice storm in the afternoon, although the morning ice would still be troublesome.
  2. The wrap-around snowfall is lighter than expected and we only get one inch-or-less of snow Monday night.
  3. Sleet mixing in at all times, keeping both ice and snow totals lower.

*In a best case scenario, we end up with less than 1/4 inch of ice (below ice storm criteria) and only a dusting of snow on top of that. (Chance of this happening at about 20%)

Additional Information

With a variety of precip expect in the coming days, I thought I’d share a graph showing different precip types. It just depends on the depth of the cold air at the surface. Notice in the freezing rain section that taller objects are closer to the warmer air. That’s what sometimes happens with us on the plateau. Our elevation can help us out, putting us closer, if not within, the warmer air aloft.

Keep in mind that the wintry weather will likely be worse west of the plateau. Folks back around Nashville are expecting significant snowfall. Ice accumulations may actually be worse west of the plateau.

Bottom Line

Finally, I’d be a fool to think this is an easy forecast. It’s not. Could there be surprises? Always.

Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. You can’t go wrong with that philosophy.

It’s always a good idea to have some activities that don’t require electricity that can be done during a winter storm. Cards for card games, puzzles, books to read, magazines, etc can be good past times activities. Make sure battery operated games have fresh batteries.

Go ahead and prepare now. Don’t wait until the storm starts. Being prepared makes winter storms much more bearable. More importantly, preparation keeps you safe.

I’m working hard to track it all! Just keep it right here at Meteorologist Mark!

4 thoughts on “Winter Wx Update: Best/Worst Case Scenario (Issued Sat at 2:00 pm)

  1. We sure do appreciate your hard work and diligence in keeping us informed. YOU’RE THE BEST! Thank you. Praying that this is a very light weather bump.

    1. Thank you, Charlotte! Certainly praying hard!

  2. Thank you for the work you do.

    1. You’re more than welcome, Gary!

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