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Some Of The Data Showing Snow In Our Region Next Week! Computer Model Fantasy Or Reality?

Today the GFS and EURO computer models both showed snow in our region and it ignited a lot of conversation online. Since the chatter is already started, I felt it was worth a blog on the subject tonight. The computer models are showing snow on Wednesday in our area and I will be addressing if this is a computer model fantasy or realty in tonight's blog.


The Computer Model Runs Getting Attention...


The GFS has hinted at a possible clipper style storm system affecting the Ohio Valley next Wednesday for a couple of runs, but in the prior runs of the computer model it has been moisture starved. Today that changed quite a bit when it showed cold air surge / moisture surge just ahead of the storm. Notice the GFS painting a light snow accumulation Wednesday night and a deeper snow accumulation for central Indiana.


GFS Computer Model Snow Fall Accumulation Next Wednesday Night


GFS Snow


The interesting part is that the EURO computer model flipped and has nearly an identical solution now which produces light accumulating snow in our area next Wednesday. Notice the EURO is spitting out a bit more snow in our area with some light accumulations possible.


EURO Computer Model Snow Fall Accumulation Next Wednesday Night


EURO Snow 1


Is The Data Trust Worthy Or Is This Another Computer Model Fantasy?


This storm is not just far away from us, but it is nearly 4,000 miles away from Kentucky / Indiana. The storm is still in the Bering Sea... yes where they hunt for King Crab, so this is a long distance from our area. Notice Alaska is on the right part of this image.




What makes this even more complicated is the movement of the system in a highly complex jet stream. Let me show you the path the storm has to take to get here in the next 7 days.


GFS Mid Level Disturbances Right Now

Notice the disturbance has not even crashed into Alaska yet, so we are sitting about 4,000 miles away from it right now.




GFS Mid Level Disturbances Friday

By Friday, the GFS has the storm moving into interior Alaska, but still about 3,500 miles from our area.



GFS Mid Level Disturbances Sunday

By Sunday, the GFS shows a highly complex upper level pattern. It breaks a "piece" off the disturbance over Alaska and moves it over the upper level low off the west coast of the US. How these disturbances interact is very difficult to forecast in particular since the storm is out of the US upper air observing station grid.




GFS Mid Level Disturbances Monday

By Monday morning, this disturbance that broke free from the Alaska low is moving toward Montana toward a low over the Great Lakes. This low over the Great Lakes would be the source for the cold air on this storm.




GFS Mid Level Disturbances Late Tuesday

Finally after a 4,000 mile journey, the storm approaches the Ohio Valley on Tuesday into Wednesday with the primary precipitation mode as snow north of the river and rain/snow south of the river on the GFS. The EURO is a bit colder and hints more toward snow.





My Thoughts On Light Snow Potential Next Week...


Could this actually happen? Yes, but it is still a super long shot.


Neither the storm over the Bering Sea in Alaska or the storm off the west of the US can be sampled by our upper air obverving stations. What this means is that we cannot send a weather balloon into the storms to get reliable data to feed our computer models. It makes the uncertainty on this system very high. This disturbance has to break at exactly the right time, ride over the storm off the west coast of the US, then strengthen as it comes down the Rockies, and finally hit the cold air surge on the storms over the Great Lakes perfectly. There are 10 things that have to happen perfectly for this storm to materialize in our area and even more details that would need to be perfect even to produce snow flakes. With that said, the GFS has shown this solution on a few consecutive runs and the EURO is nearly identical. When you have computer model agreement, it does at least raise an eyebrow.


Right now I would say it is a long shot, but we will be monitoring it closely.




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What I found interesting is a few days ago, the GFS was showing CAPE values over 2K in our area and I was looking at the possibility of a severe threat, but the last few runs (like you said) have hinted at more of a wintry situation. Definitely fun to watch and keep our eyes on.

If the GFS does hold up, that "little storm" turns into an absolute beast off the east coast Friday. Then another big storm (970mb Low) over Canada Saturday, it will be interesting to see how that second storm dips into the U.S.

Troy, there is distinct complexity though in how the separate of the Bering Sea low occurs, how it would ride the west coast low, and how it phases with the Great Lakes low. There is a TON of complexity here.

Yeah, certainly don't want to issue the "bread and milk" alert.....LOL. It is fun to watch, though!

Troy, I agree. I just hope someone doesn't turn this into an opportunity for "clicks" or "ratings". This is the time to watch.


Kimberly, I do want to be very clear that I am not forecasting snow.

The crazy part is that the ECMWF has went even crazier! I wonder what this afternoons model run will show.

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