It’s all coming together in dramatic fashion today as record snowfall threatens not only such places as Chicago (where they’re accustomed to heavy snowfall), but places like Houston and perhaps even Corpus Christi where measurable snowfall is a rarity. Accompanying the snow are strong winds and frigid temperatures where in the South especially, temperatures will not just dip low, they’ll dip low and stay there for several days. Wind chill readings of -20 and colder will be common across the Plains today. Over the next several days, three low pressure systems will combine to bring serious winter from the Plains, to the Gulf Coast, to the Mid-Atlantic to New England.
Our ImpactWeather StormWatch video is now online and, on the subject, just a reminder that we’ll be hosting a free 20-minute webinar next Tuesday the 8th, our last Winter Weather Outlook Update. This will be a quick but thorough look at what we expect the remainder of the 2010-2011 winter season to bring. Get more information and register here. And another reminder: you can read (or re-read) our winter weather safety tips here.
Onto the weather! The phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words” comes to mind so let’s take a look at today’s StormWatch graphics “pictures”:
Though there will likely be some sun across the South tomorrow, mid- and high-level clouds will move in later and, combined with cold northerly wind prevent any significant warming for most areas during the second half of the week. Image: ImpactWeather StormWatch.
The snow expected from Texas to Pennsylvania depicted here will arrive courtesy of a low pressure area taking shape in Mexico tomorrow then move into the Gulf of Mexico Thursday. Image: ImpactWeather StormWatch.
Today's low is moving across the Middle Mississippi River Valley on its way to New England by tomorrow evening. Image: ImpactWeather StormWatch.
Midday Tuesday: High pressure over the Northern Plains pumps frigid air southward, all the way to Mexico. The packed yellow lines (isobars) between the low over eastern Arkansas and the high over western Nebraska indicate very strong winds of 30-35mph with higher gusts. Blizzard conditions and numbing wind chills are the result. Image: ImpactWeather StormWatch.
Midday Wednesday. The low pressure center is making rapid progress northeastward with heavy snow pushing into New England. "Phase Two" is taking shape in Mexico - the next low pressure center that will continue to draw cold air southward while tapping warm, moist Gulf of Mexico air over the next few days. This is the perfect scenario for South Texas and Coastal Texas snow. Image: ImpactWeather StormWatch.
Midday Thursday. Mid- and high-level clouds return to many southern areas by Thursday, keeping the sun at bay while cold air (and some snow) continues to dominate. Image: ImpactWeather StormWatch.
Midday Friday. Yet another low pressure area moves onto the StormWatch map, this time sweeping across the Canadian border. More snow, more wind, more cold. Regarding the low in the Gulf, confidence is growing in a significant snow event for Coastal Texas. Image: ImpactWeather StormWatch.
Midday Saturday. The Gulf low quickly moves to the Mid-Atlantic coastal region (taking on nor'easter characteristics) and pumps abundant Atlantic moisture into the the Northeast where it combines with the Canadian low over the Great Lakes. Significant snowfall is expected for many areas that have thus far been too far west of the tracks of the previous nor'easter storm systems. Places like Upstate New York, Vermont and northern New Hampshire should finally get their due. Additionally, the usual snow belts of the Great Lakes' lake-effect system should expect significant snow. Image: ImpactWeather StormWatch.