Winter Without End?

MONDAY UPDATE: It looks increasingly likely that almost ALL of the snow with Tuesday’s storm will miss us to the south.

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It looks like another round of wintry weather could impact parts of the Midstate this week. At the very least, it will be a close call…and also at the very least, Middle Tennessee will continue to resemble a scene from Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road”:

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The word you’re looking for is “bleak.”

Like the last several chances of snow, it looks like the Nashville Metro is going miss out on the significant snow. The difference is, this time the snow looks like it’s going to be staying to the south of I-40, mostly likely along (or even south of) the Tennessee/Alabama state line.

Don’t be surprised if you see some snow in the air on Monday, across especially the northern half of the Midstate. This is NOT the “main event” for the week…these snow showers are going to be very very light, and it doesn’t look like they’re going to be able to accumulate to anything more than dusting. A dusting can still cause some slippery spots on the roads though, so travel with caution on Monday.

The likelier timeframe for accumulating snow is Monday night into Tuesday. That still 36 hours away, but we can start looking at some snowfall accumulation patterns. (Sorry for the lack of fancy WSMV graphics. I’m working from home today.) The top two images are our in-house Futurecast computer models, while the bottom two images are a couple of the National Centers for Environmental Prediction models:

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Regardless of the specific amounts produced by the various models, the pattern is pretty consistent… The best chance of accumulating snow looks like it’s going to stay in Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia. The southern tier of counties in middle Tennessee (those along the Alabama border) will have the best chances of accumulating snow in the Midstate.

The National Weather Service has already issued a winter storm watch for that southern tier of counties, in effect Monday evening into Tuesday (Lincoln, Moore and Franklin counties are also included, but your forecasts come from the Huntsville NWS office):

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I’m sure your eyes were automatically drawn to the “3 or more inches of snow” wording used on that graphic. This is a case of the National Weather Service emphasizing and preparing people for the worst case scenario, rather then the most likely scenario. I think it’s more likely that those counties would pick up an inch, or maybe two…still enough to cause problems, especially on the roads!

The wildcard in this entire situation is the exact path of the storm system. The past few storms have shown a tendency to drift a little farther to the north than what the computer models initially estimate. If that happens with this storm, the best chance of accumulating snow would move a bit farther north into at least the southern half of Middle Tennessee (possibly even into the Nashville Metro, although we’d still be on the fringe). That’s the part of the forecast we’ll be watching most closely over the next 36 hours, as this entire storm system evolves and moves closer to us.

Bottom line: it’s too early for panic and/or excitement about snow chances this week. The most likely scenario is for the heaviest snow to stay off to our south. But like all forecasts, this one is subject to change…Nancy will have updated details before and after the Olympics on Channel 4 News this evening, and I’ll be on the air dark and early Monday to try to unravel this latest winter-weather riddle.

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Finally, some GOOD news: the long-range computers have been consistently depicting a significantly warmer weather pattern by next week. The long-range models aren’t very good with details, but they’re okay with patterns, so we can hope that things continue to trend in that direction!

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Like I said, we can hope…

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About paulheggen33

Morning meteorologist for WNCN-TV in Raleigh.
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2 Responses to Winter Without End?

  1. Chris says:

    Reblogged this on Yoda Archives, Macro adventures of a Jedi Master and commented:
    Local weather blog. He uses humor and sci-fi references to make this dreary weather entertaining.

  2. juju says:

    I think in this particular scene from “The Road”, they were heading toward the nearest Kroger for bread and milk. And, of course, there is no snow in the picture……

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