Cutting through the hype: Looking at trends in data for weekend storm

We are continue to track several items moving across the Pacific Ocean that are projected to produce a winter storm this weekend.

While computer models had been fairly consistent the last couple of days, starting with Tuesday night’s data, the models have started to not have as much agreement. This continued with Wednesday morning’s runs.

Over the last 24 hours computer models have been chipping away at the higher precipitation numbers from several days ago.  This is to be expected as there are often wild swings from high to low projections.  This is one of the reasons do not mention snow amounts 4-7 days in advance because we know this will happen.

Computer model projection of radar/satellite imagery Saturday afternoon.

That being said, we ARE looking for a measurable – and shovellable – snow Saturday in central Indiana. However, some areas could see a period of rain before changing to snow. A narrow area in between has potential for some freezing rain (ice) accumulation. Where exactly those bands set up is impossible to predict with any accuracy at this point. However, the northern 1/3 of the CBS4 viewing area has the best chance for all snow. It is the southern 2/3 of the area that remains in question.

All forms of precipitation are possible this weekend.

As for the timing, there is a definite trend amongst the forecast data that the storm may arrive 6-8 hours later than earlier thought.  That means instead late Friday night/pre-dawn Saturday it precipitation may begin to arrive mid/late morning Saturday.

So, where are we at right now? We need to be able to launch weather balloons to collect real data from the area of low pressure and the upper levels of the atmosphere where the piece of energy is traveling. This will give us actual data that can be put in to the computer models, versus virtual data being previously being used, allowing them to crunch the numbers and put out a better forecast.

The surface low and piece of upper-level energy are projected to move over land Thursday. While I was hoping Thursday morning’s computer model runs would be able to crunch on data collected by weather balloons launched in the morning, it may not be until Thursday evening’s weather balloon launch to actually sample the items in the atmosphere.

I understand this does not give you answers to all the questions you may have for Saturday’s weather, but it is the truth of where we are in the forecast process. We know there is the potential for a winter storm that will impact central Indiana Saturday in to Sunday morning. Just how much impact it will have, and what the impact will be, is yet to be determined. It is why we say “stay tuned for later forecasts”, not because we want you to keep watching, but because we continue to update our forecasts as more data becomes available.

BOTTOM LINE

  • Computer models are projecting a storm impacting the Ohio River Valley Friday through Sunday morning.
  • Could some in central Indiana see snow? Yes
  • Could some in central Indiana see rain? Yes
  • Could some in central Indiana have ice? Yes
  • Do we know what you’ll get? No
  • Do we know how much you’ll get? No
  • Should you change your plans for next weekend? Not yet, but monitor the forecast closely and start working on plan B just in case.
  • Should you go out and buy all the milk, eggs and bread from the stores tomorrow for a potential storm three days away?  Don’t think you need to do this yet.

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