Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Weekend Storm -- Significant Rain Maker

The track of a weekend storm still looks to target the area late Saturday and through the day on Sunday. This storm has been on our radar since last weekend, and despite varying model differences, our forecast has remained consistent calling for mainly widespread rain into the area.  Unfortunately, even with the big snowpack now, the chance of a white Christmas next week looks very low.  Here is the current picture and my take on how this storm will evolve.  

Upper level Jetstream energy over the Pacific Ocean will parallel the west coast of the United the next 24 to 36 hours.  From there a deep trough will sweep into the Chihuahuan Desert in Mexico.  Into this weekend a powerful storm will evolve, drawing significant moisture from the Gulf of Mexico up into the Great Lakes region.  

Despite a stray radical early model projection of widespread snow, all other models have remained consistent on this being mainly a rain event.  Our forecast has mirrored that and remained consistent calling for widespread and potentially heavy rain.  It's the task of a meteorologist to sift through and analyze immense amounts of data to determine the most realistic outcome based on all data available.  It's important to understand any computer model projection does not equal a sound and well reasoned weather forecast!  

A heavy rain event, with potentially localized flooding will be the main concern this weekend.  I expect light rain showers to begin on Friday with less than 0.25" of rain possible.  After a break in rain early Saturday, steady and possibly heavy rain Saturday night and into the day Sunday is expected.  This may bring 1.0" to 1.5" of rain for rainfall totals during the weekend up to 2".  This combined with current snowpack and a frozen ground may lead to localized flooding.  Here is a projected model ensemble (combination of many models) for anticipated precipitation through the weekend from the WPC (Weather Prediction Center).  

Wintry weather is not completely out of the mix here, I do anticipate late on Sunday that we will turn cold enough for a few hours of snow to mix in.  Best chance of an accumulation would be northwest of Toledo.  Stay tuned for additional updates!

~Meteorologist Chris Vickers
Twitter: @ChrisWTOL