Thursday, Jan. 11, 2018 5 P.M.
Slide from rain to snow begins tomorrow morning
A couple of subtle changes in the forecast models point to some changes in how tomorrow’s winter storm will affect us. First, the timing has accelerated so that the majority of the wintry mix will fall during the daylight hours. That suggests lower snow/ice accumulations than previously expected. Second, the storm development has been delayed. Thus, the storm should not reach full classic cyclone status until tomorrow evening…after most of the snow has ended here. This implies a shorter duration of the icy precipitation.
As usual the models show small differences between each other. But, in general, they stand in pretty good agreement. On the larger scale they have shifted the storm track just a little westward from yesterday. You might think the general agreement among the models means that tomorrow’s weather is well defined. Not so! Freezing rain and sleet are extremely difficult to predict. That’s because they are created only within VERY narrowly defined parameters. Rain and snow can occur under a huge range of atmospheric conditions, but not sleet and freezing rain. In the lower 2000 to 3000 feet above the earth, one half of a degree(Celsius) of cooling can convert rain to freezing rain. Another half degree cooler and it can change to sleet. Another half degree and snow becomes dominant. Computer forecast models are very good, but splitting hairs in near-surface temperatures is a little too much to ask.
So, it comes down to us humans to try figure it all out. This human thinks it’ll work out something like this. Rain showers this evening will become steady rain after midnight. Temperatures fall into the 35-38 degree range by 7 A.M. Cold rain for the morning rush hour. Sleet should begin by late morning and change over to snow around 1-3 P.M. Snow should taper off to flurries by 7-8 P.M.
That’s my timeline. Here’re the results I expect:
Rush hour: rain and cold Roads should get slushy/icy by Noon Afternoon rush hour: Slick, icy roads, snow falling. Temperatures drop below freezing. Night: Windy and cold with snow flurries. Snow should end by midnight. Total Snow/ice accumulation for Louisville area: 1″ – 3″ (Jefferson County and east closer to 1″-2″ while up to 3″ west of Louisville/southern IN)
Note: I still expect a band of heavy snow from western KY northeast to Evansville, Indy and Ft. Wayne. This swath of land should see a 4″ – 8″ layer of snow tomorrow.
Well, that’s what I think will happen tomorrow. Now it’s time to settle back and wait to see what really happens!