Tuesday Evening...

>> Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Well, I just finished reviewing the 18z BUFKIT soundings for CLT and GSO....here is what it basically prints out.

On the NAM for CLT, precip begins at 1am Thurs. morning, possibly a rain/snow mix. After 7 or 8am, snow becomes unlikely due to lack of moisture in the snow growth region, and temps then hover just above freezing the rest of the day with rain.

On the NAM for GSO, precip begins at 7am Thurs. morning, probably several hours or snow, then over to either freezing rain or rain, depending on surface temps.

On the GFS for CLT, precip begins at 7pm Wed. evening, probably snow until the wee hours of Thurs. morning. Then freezing rain until 10am, then rain. Taken literally, it shows about an inch of snow and then less than 0.1" of freezing rain, then rain.

On the GFS for GSO, precip begins at 10pm Wednesday evening. The soundings indicate all snow through late Thursday morning, then freezing rain until late afternoon, then rain. Taken literally, this indicates 2-3" of snow and then about 0.15" of ice, then some rain.

As for my thoughts, timing will be everything with this system. The quicker the precip moves in, the better in terms of seeing some snow. It will be critical to watch dewpoints through the day tomorrow and see if the models have a grasp on the nature of the airmass in place. Often times, the air is drier than what the models indicate, and therefore, when precip kicks in, evaporational cooling takes temperatures down colder than what the models indicated. Right now, it looks like the actual dewpoints are very close to the model-indicated dewpoints.

For the Charlotte metro, I still like the chances of a burst or brief period of snow Wednesday night into early Thursday morning. How long the snow lasts is still anybody's guess. I think from I-85 west and north, the potential is there for a quick, slushy inch or two of snow. Then it all depends on surface temps as to whether or not we have icing problems due to freezing rain. I THINK any significant icing problems will be more up toward the foothills, but that will not be evident until we see the conditions as the event starts. I don't think this is a major event, but I do think there is still a decent possibility for a messy commute Thursday morning.

For the Triad, I think 2-3" of snow are possible, possibly a little more, especially west of the Triad itself. Then, there is greater potential for icing of at least a tenth of an inch, more if snow switches to freezing rain sooner than indicated. This event looks a little more significant up in this region, but still, this is not a huge storm. But I do think travel problems will develop as Thursday unfolds.

In short, the better chances of snow and ice accumulation will be the farther west you live in the state. There will probably be an area up in the foothills that picks up 3-5" of snow with this, but the amounts look lesser here in the Piedmont.

I should also add that evaporational cooling is very important in an event like this. The heavier the precip is as it first moves in, the colder we see the airmass become, and therefore, the more wintry weather we wind up seeing. If the precip is on the light side, we obviously see less precip initially, but temps would rise above freezing quicker as well.

Hope this all makes sense. This is a complicated setup, and this outlook might very well need to be refined one way or another as times rolls along. To be honest, I have less confidence than usual in this forecast...quite uneasy.

Thanks for reading!

5 comments:

Dustin 8:44 PM  

Good work matthew, thank you.

Anonymous 8:55 PM  

I appreciate your time Matt, to keep us educated and informed with this evolving storm. One quick question, what does GSO mean, Gastonia? Gaston County? A meteorological term involved w/ winter weather? Thanks again! Hope I wake to a white covered lawn instead of a brown, brittle, dry lawn! It sure would be nice if we got a foot and a half of snow this Winter, that would really help the drought. Anywho, I'm continuing to keep my eyes glued to News 14, and your blog.

Matthew East 9:10 PM  

Thanks....and sorry about that. GSO is Greensboro.

Thanks for watching. Here's hoping for snow!

Anonymous 9:46 PM  

How much of a possibility is there of the precip being more frozen than liquid. How much change does there need to be in the forecast to make this storm more significant?

rampage 10:03 PM  

just some thoughts:
lows past couple of mornings have been colder than forecast.
clouds roll in tomorrow and keep temps upper 30's to near 40 (after upper teens start). evaporative cooling and earlier start to precip plus stronger low development along coast and more pronounced wedge all equal a bust in the forecast and 4 inches plus of snow with some ice at the end.
any chance matthew? thanks and keep the hope.

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