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White Christmas

11:55 am in Winter Weather by Ted Keller

Various Snow Projections

Odds are against us getting Christmas to be white with snow most of the time but this year we should should see it!

The storm first highlighted last week has actually held together and the timing puts it into the Ozarks on Christmas Eve.  As with most storms, the track is in disagreement among the computer forecast models.  This has not been much of a timing issue however as Friday still looks like the day with some precipitation breaking out Thursday night.

While the precipitation is expected to be primarily snow Friday afternoon, it night start as a bit of sleet Thursday night.

The graph is valid as of about noon Wednesday.  The plot is meant for Springfield. The reddish lines are one computer model, the blueish are another.  The red model favors more snow with totals right around 2″  The blue model is not nearly as enthusiastic about the white stuff.

Now here are some Ozarks maps.  The first is the red model (NAM), the second is the blue (GFS). The NAM has more snow in general and more to the south.  The GFS has snow largely missing the Ozarks except for areas east of Springfield.

NAM snow

GFS Snow

I’m always a bit torn on snow around Christmas because I know folks want to travel to to see friends and family or to do last minute shopping and even a light snow can snarl things up a bit.  On the other hand, if the actual snow ends up in-between these two models. it won’t be too bad and only an over night snow into Christmas Day could be timed out better! 

What we don’t want is a repeat of 2002, which for those of you who don’t recalled dumped a huge snow on the Ozarks on the 23rd, slowing Springfield down to a crawl!  It took me nearly two hours to get from near Battlefield Road to the studio that day!

Tom and Jill will have the latest!  I’m watching this one from home.  Be safe!

Winter Systems

8:42 pm in Winter Weather by Ted Keller

There are two weather systems which will tap into the abundance of cold air in place over the central U.S. this week.  At this writing, neither seems to be a huge threat.

The first slides in Wednesday.  It’s main threat is to produce light showers and drizzle which will fall into sub-freezing morning air on Wednesday.  This then is a potential for some light freezing precipitation.  It may cause somewhat of a hassle if it happens to occur during the morning off-to-work and/or school time.  It is expected to “warm” on Wednesday afternoon to above freezing in the middle thirties which should eliminate the freezing threat for all but the extreme eastern and northeastern portion of the Ozarks.  The light freezing precipitation may make a comeback late Wednesday when cold air comes back around the other side of this system.

Then on Friday, a weak little weather system is shown crossing the southern Great Plains.  If this finds some strength or changes track slightly, it could deliver some snow to the Ozarks, perhaps leaning south?

Both of these threats are in line with the higher index of weather system count I talked about in my White Christmas thread last week.  In the fantasy-land world of computer models, there are still a few weather “systems” between now and Christmas (which by the way looks cold at this point), perhaps 19-20 and again around the 23rd?  As I indicated earlier, the exact dates are not as important as the fact that thet show up and there is cold enough air in supply.

White Christmas?

9:09 am in Winter Weather by Ted Keller

I think our chances for seeing a white Christmas in the Ozarks are slightly higher than average…

This weekend weather system won’t do it even if it does manage to lay down some measureable snow as it will melt pretty quickly.

The basis for my observation comes from just casually glancing at the long-long range models, those that run out 10 days (or more).  Now, no one should ever believe the exact output of any of these models of course.  But I do think you can pick up on some trends if you watch them long enough.

The overall trend for the next several weeks is a progressive pattern of  cold air invasions with storm systems coming out of the northwest and “making the turn” so to speak over the central U.S.  Simply put: there is cold air and storm potential!

As an example, this morning there is a hint at something around the 15th, another near the 18th and perhaps even a third right before Christmas. 

Now, the dates are not nearly as important as number of systems.  While there is no guarantee that any of these will contain the right mixture of cold air for snow or track in a favorable way for the Ozarks, well, how does it go, half the battle is just showing up?  Something like that…

FYI: this is all  in line with what is expected during a La Nina pattern of weather over the U.S.  which puts a precipitation maximum just to our east.

When all is said and done, our ground may end up bare this holiday but hey, this is the season for faith and believe, right?  I’m a believer!

The Big Snow!

12:38 pm in Forecast Discussion by Ted Keller

Winter Advisories

The track of the storm is pretty much set now I believe.  The snow will occur on the west and southwest side of the “S” which forms as cold air wraps in around and south of the low pressure circulation.

One computer model suggests 8-10″+ of snow in a narrow area from Springfield westward to the Kansas state line with the maximum on a Joplin to Warsaw line.

I feel confident with the storm track now and all that remains is when the rain will change over to snow, how much if any mix will be in the transition and the speed of the storm.

I think the line mentioned above on track.  Placing an exact total for Springfield or any specific city is always a bit problematic, especially with such a strong gradient of snowfall heading west.

Ultimately, everyone should be aware that strong winds which will sustained over 30 mph with gusts over 40 mph will affect the area starting this evening and lasting through Christmas morning.  They will start out from the north and switch to a more westerly direction.

The snow changeover will occur to the south and west of Springfield first!  This is because cold air is pulling in to the south of the storm.  Northwest Arkansas and extreme southwest Missouri will see snow by early afternoon.  The changeover in Springfield should be closer to dinner around 6 pm.

I looks like the maximum snow rates should occur sometime between 9 pm and 3 am.

Christmas Storm

11:30 am in Forecast Discussion by Ted Keller

Winter Weather Advisories

Flood Advisories

The Christmas storm is on course to bring snow to probably about half of the Ozarks by Christmas morning!  There is also a threat of heavy rain leading to flash flooding today and tonight in areas from Springfield east.

NAM Snowfall 10:1 Ratio

The morning computer run of the NAM with a 10:1 (1″ snow : 0.10″ rain) snow ratio shows four or five inch totals for area northwest of Springfield.  This will mostly fall late on Christmas Eve and early Christmas Day.  If it works out, it would be about the most traditional White Christmas possible.  Go to bed without snow and wake up with a fresh cover while having it still snowing Christmas morning!

Meanwhile, hail up to one inch might be possible in the area outlined in blue late this morning and early this afternoon.

Radar at 11:23 am

Storm Update

12:57 pm in Forecast Discussion by Ted Keller

Advisories as of Noon 12/22/09

NWS Advisories

Thanks for all who have been following this storm on “Upstream” live each night at 11 pm.  I continue to make improvements to this site including a new software program called “WeatherScope” (thanks Joey for turning me on to this!).   Last night’s show is playing on the site now:

Anyway, this storm has a spring and winter side for sure.  I still feel that snow will be flying in at least a portion of the Ozarks (west) on Christmas Eve or early Christmas morning.  The two primary computer models, the NAM and GFS, still show a snow solution for this time period.

Snow Estimate from the NAM

NAM Snow Estimate

 There is also a slight risk for severe weather on Wednesday.

Slight Risk Area for Wednesday

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