**This is our Thursday update and while the forecast really hasn’t changed, we dive into more details in our Friday update found below**
As we say goodbye to a quiet December around the Region, we’ll welcome in 2022 with a large storm system that will bring widespread travel impacts to the Midwest and Tennessee Valleys. While the timing of this system lines up with the weekend, many will be travelling back home from the holidays. Whether by car or by plane, widespread travel delays are expected Saturday into Sunday across the eastern US. Let’s dive into the details.
THE BIG PICTURE
An area of energy diving south in the Pacific Northwest will meet up with another area of energy in the southwestern US. As a result, a strong area of low pressure will develop in the southern Plains and head northeast towards the Ohio Valley Friday into early Saturday.
On the southern side of this storm, a large shield of rain and storms will develop as the Gulf of Mexico gets involved. Flooding rains will be possible in the Tennessee and Mississippi Valleys Friday and Saturday. Take a look at the heavy rainfall expected to our south:
On the northern side of the system, arctic air that has been present and hanging out in the upper Midwest will become involved as the low ramps up. As this moisture gets thrown into the colder air on the northern side of this system, an elongated area of moderate to heavy snow is expected to develop from the Rockies all the way through Michigan.
The heaviest snow will set up SOMEWHERE in the Region with amounts over 6 inches likely where the axis of heaviest snow falls north of the low.
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW
What’s NOT set yet is the exact track of the low. A shift of a few miles (which is likely) will change who sees the heaviest snowfall. Remember we talked about that “sweet spot” with that quick hit of snow this week? The path where the rain changes over to snow is where you usually get the highest totals–that path will be in and around the Chicago area as it looks now, but again, that will likely shift over the upcoming model runs.
Take a look at our Thursday morning guidance in terms of where this ends up. As we always preach–DON’T focus on the numbers, just focus on the trend where the heaviest axis of snow is as of now.
The GFS is more bullish and further south:
WINDY AND COLDER SATURDAY NIGHT:
Behind this system, the cold air wraps in and it comes with some wind. Winds could gust over 40 mph at times late Saturday into Sunday morning. This would cause blowing snow and tough travel, especially close to the lake where winds would be strongest. Temps will dive from the low 30s into the 10s as the cold air moves in.
Take a look at the peak winds late Saturday:
We’ll have another update this afternoon as well as a Region Weather LIVE on our Facebook Page later today. Stay tuned!