Thursday, February 14, 2013

Next Week Storminess


1:45 PM Saturday Update... with the little snow last night over northern Arkansas. Harrison picked up .5 inches.  This changes the ballgame with the winter weather contest.  The seasonal total is up to 31.1 inches.  This means Paula Smith is atop the leaders board. Does she have this locked up with only 2 weeks to go?  Not so fast my friends.  The picture for next week is becoming more clear and I'll have a new post soon.

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Before I get into next week, I wanted to give you a quick update on this weekend.  Remember, I have been following the GFS temperature output for days as I have thought it has been too warm handling this quick shot of cold air.  Again, nothing we haven't seen before, but it's interesting.  Now that we're in the short term, we can use the NAM as well.  The GFS has a high Saturday of 48 and the NAM 46.  I still think it's entirely possible not to get out of the 30s.  The most likely locations for this will be central, northern, and northeastern Arkansas.

Also, as far as the snow potential is concerned.  As I have maintained all week long, we could see a few light snow flurries or snow showers.  This will not be anything significant. This shot of cold air will be very brief.

Now onto next week. The previous blog post looked at 2 storms: one late Monday and another Thursday.  The early week storm system looks like rain and a few rumbles of thunder.  The Thursday system looks more significant, but what will it produce is a big question.  This is more than a week away and I expect quite a bit of model volatility.  Almost all the pieces of data I have examined this morning indicates a good chance for rain and strong/severe thunderstorms.   So is that the forecast now?  Not yet.  Just yesterday, the Euro showed a northern Arkansas snow/ice storm.  I'm NOT saying that's going to happen, but dealing with a storm 7 days out, there will be more flip flops in the models.

Check it out below

This was the early run of the Euro Wednesday valid Thursday February 21st at noon.  The 32 degree line is located over northern Arkansas giving that section of the state ice and snow.  The rest of the state is a cold and miserable rain.

The next run of the Euro offered a different solution.   It still has the storm system, but has a more northerly track with the surface low and pumps in warmer air and pushes that 32 degree line further to the north.  This solution would bring heavy rain and thunderstorms.
The Global Forecasting System (GFS) shows a very potent storm at 500 mb located over the plains.  This would place Arkansas in a risk for strong/severe thunderstorms depending on instability levels.
At the surface, the low is located over northeastern Kansas with a trailing front through western Arkansas at noon Thursday the 21st.  Again, this is a threat for heavy rain and storms.
In summary... It's a week away and this will flip flop all over the place.  With that said, I would place a bet right now on the warmer solution... rain and storms would be a threat.  Can that change? Yes!  This time of the year, you can see some very, very wild swings in the weather around here.  Remember, there's a back side to these systems and plenty of cold air available.  So it's entirely possible to get the storms with wrap around moisture bringing in wintry weather too.  Not saying that's going to happen, but this time of the year and given the pattern, it's possible.

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