A low pressure system in the Southern Rockies will push into the Southern Plains on Monday and into Southern Kansas by Tuesday Morning. The system will then rapidly pull to the Northeast Tuesday across the central Mississippi River Valley and be centered across the Great Lakes by Wednesday Morning. The northern and western of side of this system will produce a significant snow storm across for the Central and Southern Rockies, the Central Plains, the Upper Mississippi River Valley and into the Western Great Lakes.
Snowfall amounts could be significant and with strong winds, especially in parts of the Central Plains, Blizzard conditions are possible. The NWS WPC snowfall probabilistic forecasts indicate a large area of a higher confidence (lighter blues and oranges in the graphic below) of at least 8 inches of snow for Colorado east into Kansas and Nebraska through Tuesday evening.
For the 48 hour period of Monday evening until Wednesday evening the higher area of confidence for 8+ inches of snow extends from North Central Kansas to Southeastern Nebraska and into Iowa.
The main area of concern for blizzard conditions extend from NorthCentral Kansas and Southern Nebraska, into Iowa, and Southern Minnesota for Monday night into Tuesday Night.
Storm total snowfall amounts through Tuesday evening will range from 2+ feet in the higher terrain of the Rockies to widespread 8 – 12 inches from the Colorado Plains east into Kansas, Nebraska Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Northern Michigan.
While in the temperature transition area there may be some locations that see freezing rain and sleet, at this time significant ice accumulations are not expected.
For a Comparison to other winter storms, the Saint Louis University Cooperative Institute for Precipitation Systems (CIPS) website when using the 48 hour forecast from Atmospheric Models form this morning’s analysis (Sunday 1/31/16) that Jan 19, 1988 and Feb 22, 1994 storms are the top two storms to correlate to this storm from an atmospheric perspective. Those storms both produced a broad area of 8 to 12 inches over a 72 hour period. The graphic below shows the top 5 winter storms to correlate to this current storm with areas shaded in peach and pinks noting locations that received 8+ inches of snow.
As a result of the forecasts significant snows and potential blizzard conditions, the NWS has posted Blizzard Warnings and watches, Winter Warning and Watches and Winter Weather Advisories across much of the southwestern US, Central Plains and into the Great Lakes.
For those in the Blizzard Warning and Watch areas, plan to remain indoors during the height of the storm. Travel will be extremely dangerous as white out conditions will cause you to loose perspective of your location. If you must travel, double check your car’s winter safety kit. Ensure you have extra water, food, and blankets for your entire family including any pets that are with you in case you become stranded. If you can take a route that allows you to avoid the winter weather, that would be a better option.
Also, double check your home storm kit to ensure that you are prepared if you lose power. Also, if your home is heated by electricity, do you have alternate sources of heat which may include logs for a fireplace?
For the recent blizzard on the East Coast, the Washington Post provided some excellent tips of how to prepare which are applicable no matter where you are located.
If you are a ranchers or dairy operator, the recent Christmas blizzard in New Mexico and West Texas was a harsh reminder of the impacts of a winter storm, consider proactive measures to reduce the impact on your cows.
The team at WxIntegrations will continue to provide relevant information and resources to help you better understand and prepare by incorporating weather impacts into your planning and response.