Update 4 – 4:47 AM ET 1/8/2011
WOW ! Where to begin ? Information Overload … oberloa .. cverl …
From my 2nd update[below], I mentioned concern of this winter storm being more of a freezing rain / icing event for my area. Well, after the latest models runs, my concerns are coming to fruition. Of course things can change, as we are still 24-36 hours out from the storm hitting my area. Still, the models are in good agreement at this time, having sampled data since the surface low is now over land. Still remains to be seen what they do with it once if moves off shore into the gulf of Mexico and strengthens into a low pressure system.
One of the problems with models, sometimes they have a hard time determining what type of precipitation is actually falling through the different layers of the atmosphere. The closer you get to the storm impacting your area, the better the models do as well.
Anyway, at this time, it appears my area is in for more of an Ice Storm. There will be some snow according to the latest Bufkit GFS run, maybe a couple of inches. The majority of the precip. at this time appears to be in the form of Freezing Rain, Ice Pellets or sleet as we call it. If this holds true, there may be anywhere from a quarter to a half inch of ICE accumulation.
Here is the most recent sounding from the bufkit. It shows the temperature at the bottom in Celsius. The numbers on the left represent height of atmosphere in thousands of feet. The red line is temp, Green line is moisture, and on this sounding the blue line is icing and the tiny pink line represent a snow zone. The ZR with the red dot, Freezing Rain.
Basically what this is showing is, frozen precip in the upper atmosphere, thawing slightly as it falls through the atmosphere although still frozen, re-freezing, thawing again and freezing on surface contact where the temperature is below freezing. It is hard to tell what it will actually be when it hits the surface. In this case it may be more Ice Pellet/Sleet than Freezing rain as the skew shows 32F from about 12,000 ft., to the surface where it is even colder. As stated though, things can change and they usually do. Models are only used to predict. At this time it predicts Freezing Rain and or Sleet, and the amounts at this time are really anyone’s guess.
KCSG is Columbus, GA.
Check back for updates and as the Winter Storm arrives, Observations from my area. Of course the obs. depend on whether the power stays on or not. 😉
Update 3 – 7:47 AM ET 1/7/2011
Just a quick update showing the NAM-06z Snow Map from earlier this morning. If this plays out, I could see the 4-7 inches of snow I was talking about earlier. My location is in an area that is showing a 8-9 inch accumulation.
Check Back for updates….
Update 2 – 1:30 AM ET 1/7/2011
Will stick with my previous thoughts from Update 1 below.
Thinking is still on track for a major event to unfold in the deep south. Will begin to focus more on my location. That being said ….. Still expect 4-7 inches of snow. Now concern leaning towards more ICE / FREEZING Rain than initially thought. Still .. with the system 3-4 days out, will continue with earlier thoughts on all amounts.
As mentioned, storm 3-4 days out, things change. Some model runs support liquid conversion of 20:1. For those that don’t know, that would be 20 inches of frozen precip to 1 inch of liquid/rain. Others have this as low as 7:1.
Looking at the Canadian model [CMC], it starts with sleet in my area and continues an icing event for the duration of the storm. Not Good. Would like to have some snow first, as a coating of snow and then sleet or freezing rain would make roads more manageable. We all know what it’s like driving on ICE. Well, some of us do. But this is only one model. Other models, the GFS and NAM show a scenario similar to my earlier thinking; beginning with rain/sleet mix transitioning to rain/snow then all snow ending with ICE. So will stick to that for now.
Latest BUFKIT GFS/NAM model runs for Columbus still support the event as stated above. Snowfall rates range from 2-3 inches an hour.
The map from update 1 still looks good, however, in this one, have narrowed the area of ICE in the north towards the Atlanta area and southward. Also narrowed the heavy snow area on all boundaries. Will not worry about rest of U.S..
More as models and storm progress. Check Back for updates….
Update 1- 3:45 AM ET 1/6/2011
Latest model runs slow the system down somewhat. Sunday into Monday or mostly a Monday event. Still shows strength, cold, and copious amounts of precip. Upper levels supporting some ICE. My forecast looks like this: beginning with rain/sleet mix transitioning to rain/snow then all snow ending with ICE. Feeling at this time, up to a quarter to half inch of ICE on top of anywhere from 4 to 7 inches of snow for my general area. That’s being conservative!
I sure hope I’m wrong, but I have a bad feeling with this system. If we get as much ICE as currently predicted by model outputs, this will cause power outages. Couple that with the cold, we could see loss of life. If this does pan out, please check on your neighbors, especially the elderly. Also check on your pets if they’re outside, make sure they have water, food, and a warm spot.
I will know more as models progress and I have time to study them. Check Back for updates….
My thinking as of 1:00 AM ET 1/6/2011:
For #ColumbusGA. as this is my focal point when looking at weather events:
If things hold as of now [9:30 PM ET 1/5/2011] areas of the deep south could get as much as 10+ inches of snow, and as little as 6 inches at a 10 to 1 ratio. This will begin, again if the GFS holds true, on Sunday morning January 9 at around 1AM, and continue until around 7PM Sunday.
Other models are also showing this varying in track, intensity, and timing. With that said, folks in MS, Al, GA, SC, NC, and TN should watch as this system develops.
There is also the hinting of freezing rain/sleet at the beginning and end of this storm. I will know more as time goes as this is still 5 days out, and changes will occur, but as of now, this looks like a major event for the southeast developing in the coming days.
I will add, model runs after this show more chances of winter precip in the following week. One thing is also apparent, it will be cold. Colder than many have experienced for some time. Especially in the deep south. Check Back for updates….