Update on Wednesday’s winter weather chances

After a semi-detailed blog yesterday that raised some hopes, it appears that Mother Nature may have pulled another fast one on us. In all actuality, a few degrees really DOES make a difference.

The main change to the forecast is that the arrival of the cold front ushering in the colder air looks to be delayed a couple of hours – instead of about 3am, it’ll be closer to 6-7am Wednesday. That, along with a slight modification to the airmass coming in behind it, means that instead of temperatures dropping into the mid 30s during the morning, it will likely be into the afternoon when they get that low. Precipitation ends by late afternoon. Thus the “sufficiently cold” air that would result in a changeover to a wintry mix is pushed back to closer to when the precipitation departs. It’s the age-old issue here in the South: rain moves out before cold air arrives…

So what does all that mean?  Simply put, Wednesday will likely feature a cold rain with a small chance in the mid-afternoon hours of a bit of sleet or snow mixing in with the rain. With temperatures still above freezing during the daylight hours (though cold), no significant impacts are expected, including to roads. The heaviest rain is likely just behind the front, or during the morning.

The Tuesday mid-day run of the high-resolution NAM model paints precipitation as rain for the event that starts this evening and continues through tomorrow afternoon (loop from 6pm Tuesday-6pm Wednesday). The chances of wintry precipitation are diminishing as we get closer to the event occurring. 

Precipitation should be departing by rush hour with a cold wind continuing, so roads should also dry out in the evening, precluding the formation of most ice overnight. A few areas, like we saw Sunday morning, could have patchy black ice on Thursday morning, but should not affect 99% of travelers/commuters.

You should still plan on temperatures falling during the day tomorrow. It will likely be in the 50s all night with a strong south wind blowing at 20-30 mph and scattered showers moving in this evening and continuing overnight. With the front arriving around 5-6am, steadier rain is expected for the AM commute with temperatures falling quickly through the 40s during the morning and into the 30s in the afternoon (with wind chills in the 20s). We’ll drop to the upper 20s by Thursday morning.

We’ll continue to post the latest information on our social media profiles. For snow lovers, you’ll be happy to know that the longer-range pattern continues to indicate waves of cold air moving through the region over the next few weeks. Maybe one will collide with some Gulf moisture!

Erik Proseus
MWN Meteorologist

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