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High Plains Drifter


disclaimer:  "The meteorological views/forecast thinking expressed are those solely of the author of this blog
and do not necessarily represent those of official National Weather Service forecast products,
therefore read and enjoy at your own risk and edification!"

January 30, 2011

Central U.S. Winter Storm and Cold Air Outbreak 2011 February 1-2 [2]

Filed under: 2011 Feb 1-2 — Mike U @ 3:07 am

An I-44 & Ohio Valley Special! The Feb 1-2 storm coming up will be rather impressive.  Actually really impressive.  It’s a classic meet-and-greet of very cold, arctic air and an unrestricted, rich Gulf of Mexico moisture source.  A true “Clash of the Airmasses”.  (Yes, this is the worst pseudo-meteorological idiom ever).  At any rate, this storm is interesting enough to me to blog about, despite it not really affecting Southwest Kansas much.  I usually only blog about the western Great Plains storms, but given the dearth of winter precipitation events out here this season, I was itching to write about something.  At least we’ll see the cold air component here in Dodge City (as was the focus of post #1 of this series), and perhaps an inch of snow.  But the real story will be farther east…where areas like Tulsa, Springfield MO, Saint Louis, Indianapolis, and Cincinnati will see some rather phenomenal winter precipitation whether it be heavy snow, sleet, or freezing rain (or a combination of the three to some degree).  There should be a 50-100 mile wide swath of potentially very damaging icing from eastern Oklahoma through northern Arkansas into portions of southeastern Missouri and then northeast along the Ohio River (give or take).  This is the classical corridor for major ice storms.  Immediately north of the sleet/freezing rain, both the NAM and GFS indicate the potential for heavy snow accumulation of 15 to 24 inches.  It is interesting that, even at 60-72 hours out, both the models show a similar storm total snow axis and magnitude.  See Figures 1 and 2 below.  In Figure 3, I created a composite chart using IDV (Integrated Data Viewer) and GFS grids showing the forecast warm layer aloft, centered roughly around 850mb (the salmon and red shading area) along with surface temperature isotherms of 22, 28, 32, 35°F which reveals the forecast overlap of these fields indicating the best area for sleet/freezing rain (model uncertainties at this time frame understood, of course).  It looks like my friends and family in Kansas City will be on the northwestern fringes of this storm, but it wouldn’t take much of a shift to the north… and for the storm to mature faster… to bring Kansas City into play for some serious accumulating winter precipitation.

NAM run total snowfall from the 00z/Jan30 run
Figure 1.

GFS total snowfall through 00z/Feb03 from the 00z/Jan30 run
Figure 2.

Composite chart showing ice storm potential from the 72-hour GFS forecast valid 00z/Feb02
Figure 3.

1 Comment »

  1. Living very near the southern edge of the “major, damaging ice storm threat, if prog perfect” region, i dislike. None the less, I will go get some gas for the generator and prepare “just in case”
    The 2009 ice event is still fresh around here.

    Comment by Jeff Wielgos — January 30, 2011 @ 4:23 am

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