Sunday, February 5, 2017

Tuesday Storm: All You Need to Know

Typically with a big winter storm, the jet stream starts in the Northwest, dips down into Texas and the Southeastern states, and then curls back toward the Northeast along the coast. This is the classic U-shape in the jet stream over the continental US that generates nor'easters and blockbuster storms.

For Tuesday's storm, we will have that same U-shape jet stream. Unfortunately, this jet stream will set up much farther to the west. The south-to-north flow will take place over the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes, not along the coast.

This means that warm air is going to pour into our area once the storm really gets going and any frozen precipitation will change to rain.

But, there are two very appealing aspects of this storm. The timing is great and there will be enough cold air in place for the storm to begin as snow.

Snow will start after midnight on Monday but before the morning commute on Tuesday. We will see a few inches of snow before sleet mixes in. We will likely also experience a period of freezing rain before the changeover to all rain in the afternoon on Tuesday. Right now we expect to be something along these lings: snow from 3 AM to 8 AM; sleet from 8 AM to 11 AM; freezing rain from 11 AM to 1 PM; all rain after 1 PM. These times could easily change, and we could some stopping and starting to all of this mess as the latest models show the storm may not be as tightly organized as forecasters originally thought.

That's a lot of precipitation expected for our area on Tuesday. We're just outside that .83 zone.
The expected amount of liquid precipitation for this storm is high--around .75 inches. If this were to be an all snow event, we would see 8-10 inches of snow. But because of the changeover, we only expect a 2-3 inches.

The further north you go, the longer the frozen precipitation will hold on.

So, the million dollar question: a snow day for Tuesday? Tuesday has been our lucky day this winter. That's working for us. Also, the threat of ice usually doubles or even triples our chances for snow days. If the storm does what it's supposed to do, we will see widespread snow days on Tuesday given the excellent timing of the storm. The chance for a full snow day will be higher for schools north of I-90. Also, because of the forecast for sleet throughout the day, we think Superintendents will call in a snow day or nothing at all.

The staff is gathering to watch the big national cultural event this evening so it's unlikely we'll post later today, unless, of course, Southern Berkshire calls in the Tuesday snow day tonight. But we will have plenty of information to share tomorrow.

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