A historic storm is developing now. States of emergency have been declared in several states. Winter storm watches, ice storm warnings and warnings to winter weather advisories are in place over a wide area. Blizzard warning upgrades are possible with blinding snowfall and high winds in many areas.
As the storm winds down over Arkansas, very dry air will be pulled east from the desert southwest and high plains, bringing a full Kansas firestorm risk. in Mexico. 50-80 mph winds, drought, extremely low dew points amid blowing dust will lead to extremely volatile and explosive fire conditions there.
Note how the snow accumulation could almost reach the Gulf Coast and note the damaging ice storm expected in part of Georgia to South Carolina.
Also note the land area that sees +6″ and just significant winter weather. This is the most significant winter storm for the central and eastern United States since 2014 and the most amount of square miles will see +6″ or overall snow since the historic winter storm from January 31 to February 2, 2011. Nearly 90 million people will be affected by heavy snowfall during a main storm – a rarity.
This storm in 2011 brought 8-16″ of snow to our area, up to 6″ of sleet, up to 0.25″ of glaze, winds up to 45 mph and snow thunder, sleet and freezing rain, which paralyzed our region for several days.
The current Alberta Clipper and the southern disturbance merge, then the storm moves eastward, then re-develops into an “Inside Runner” storm that straddles the east coast.
Meanwhile, extreme and dangerous cold is hitting parts of New England (wind chill from -55 to -40 and temperatures from -28 to -20). A little will try to enter here Saturday-Saturday evening on strong northeast winds. However, the cold in the northeast can be deadly, here not so much, but it will be really bitter.
A few lake effect flurries in our northwest and far northern regions this evening will give way to flurries Saturday morning. After these snow showers we are actually seeing a bit of partial clearing with the potential for a few showers. Temperatures drop to 16-24 around 8-9am, then reach 19-25 for peaks in the afternoon.
Winds from the northeast will reach 20 to 40 mph, resulting in wind chills of -1 to 9.
UP TO 1″ is possible in our extreme northwest, extreme west and extreme southwest portion of the region. Elsewhere it will go from nothing to a dusting or coating. Watch for slippery areas in places where there is snow.
Saturday night will be cold with lows of 7 to 14 with wind chills of -8 to 0 with partly cloudy skies.
Sunday looks partly cloudy with a few showers from Lake Michigan in the northwestern counties.
Otherwise, it is this disturbance or potentially clipper that pivots from Sunday evening to Monday morning with a few snow showers. Dusting/coating is possible.
Highs of 26-32 on Sunday will give way to lows in the teens above to lower 20s.
After 28-34 on Monday it will become warmer with south winds on Tuesday with 35-40 with mostly cloudy skies and some showers/sprinkling.
We get colder with a few lake effect flurries on Wednesday, then the arctic front passes Wednesday evening, leading to a cold and windy Thursday with a few lake effect flurries.
We have to watch Friday through next weekend for another potential big storm as a clipper plunges from the north and a southern storm continues from Mexico to Texas and across the south.
We don’t know if it will bring us snow.
Outbreaks in the Arctic will bring temperatures below to well below normal for the eastern 2/3 of the United States for the second half of January.
Other than a brief, strong, and random thaw, the start of February looks quite chilly with more puffs of extremely cold air.
The cold cycle continues from mid-February to the end of February!
Model data describes a thick snowpack here in mid-February.
Bitter cold and deep humidity for heavy snowfall are all available to reverse this snow drought. Temperatures are already down to 5 degrees below normal for our region for the month of January and it will only get colder. We just need to track the storms to the right place to bring us snow. This will happen in this model.
CFSv2 shows a depth of 7-12 inches here in mid-February.
I see this cold, snowy pattern changing after February 24 with sudden warmth and a taste of spring.
Overall, March looks warmer than normal, but watch for late season blows.
I like the analogues of 1940, 1968, 1996, 2018 for the risk of late season snowfall in late March and cold snaps.
It will either be here or very close to our area.
We will monitor.
New data continues to suggest that La Nina could hold on for quite some time. Since this is a double-dip La Nina that begins to approach the cooler version of La Nina (Modoki) a little bit, even when La Nina weakens significantly, her patterns can continue.
We may not completely shake off La Nina’s influence until next winter.
As a result, I’m still starting to feel like I have to turn from a cooler and wetter than normal summer to a hotter and drier than normal summer with another very active hurricane season in the Atlantic.
Also, given the influence of La Nina and the extremely curly jet pattern, this could be a severe 2008 and 2011 style spring with lots of severe weather in the Midwest and South. The South could be particularly affected. Given the La Nina-type drought in the plains, the dry line is moving east. The last time we saw such a dry line change like this was in 2011 and it was a harsh spring here and especially in the South.
2011 was very wet and stormy here from spring to early summer, then a flash drought developed and spread north with hundreds here in July.
My thoughts are centered on a quick return to El Nino spring-summer 2023-24 after a potentially fairly neutral winter in 2022-23.
Winter 2022-23 is unclear, but 2023 could end up being cooler and wetter than normal if El Nino really plays out enough. Given the state of our climate, I would expect El Nino to intensify a little to the traditional, possibly moderate stage in the winter of 2023-24.
This would tend to mean a warmer than normal, drier than normal winter with below normal snowfall for the October to April snow season.