First Snow Storm Of 2015

A Happy New Year to everyone! Over the past couple of days we have been telling you about a storm system that will bring accumulating snow to the Midwest. Then yesterday, the models started hinting at a northwest trend with this system, which would then place much of the state in the bullseye.  Today this trend continues to hold, so now we are more confident that moderate snowfall accumulations will be likely across central portions of Iowa.

gfs_z500_uv_conus_1Currently, a closed low continues to sit over the continental southwest. This closed low has been bringing accumulating snow to Arizona over the past 24 hours. Eventually this closed low will begin to propagate to the northeast where it will then begin to impact our weather by Saturday.

gfs_ptype_slp_conus_12As this low continues to move off to the northeast, it will be strengthening. Something that we will also have to watch is the possible phasing of the system to our south and the system to our north. If this were to occur at the right time, it would then translate to a heavier snow over the state.

gfs_tsnow_conus_17The GFS has been the most consistent over the past few days, so it is currently being favored. Going off of the GFS, the best accumulating snow would be across central portion of the state. This is where 3″ to 5″ of snowfall accumulation will be possible.

gfs_6hr_snow_acc_iowa_19Taking a closer look at Iowa using the GFS parallel as shown above, it does a nice job at showing where this more moderate band of snow will be setting up. It does appear that a little more snow will be likely further to the northwest than what the GFS parallel is currently showing, only another half inch to an inch.

cmc_snow_acc_east_16Throwing the GEM into the mix, it is also showing a similar solution as the operational GFS and the GFS parallel. Only difference is it has the more moderate band of snowfall a little more to the southeast. Currently do not agree where it has this moderate band, but of course, something to watch. The NAM is an outlier at this current time as it is the fastest moving, however, it does show a similar track.

euroThe latest EURO is picking up on a more northern track. This is something that we will be watching as it does appear a slightly more northern track is possible than what the current GFS is showing. The ECMWF has a wide area of 3″ to 5″ stretching from southwest Iowa, through central Iowa, and back into northeast Iowa. The ECMWF is depicting as this system moves off to the northeast, it will continue strengthening and will produce higher snowfall totals near northeast Iowa.


Key times with this system will be after 6am Saturday and before noon on Sunday. A light wintery mix will be entering southern Iowa after 6am Saturday. As this low continues to track off to the northeast, it will then span over much of the state. Around noon on Saturday, a wintery mix will still be possible across southeast Iowa with moderate snow falling across central Iowa. Eventually this system will then pull out of the state by late Saturday/early Sunday with a few light snow showers remaining across eastern Iowa during the morning hours Sunday.

gfs_mslp_uv10m_east_23As this system begins to depart Saturday night, a cold front will then move across the state which will then be increasing the winds.  By late Saturday night, winds will be sustained from 20 to 25mph with gusts up to 35mph. This will causing a blowing snow issue by early Sunday morning.

There is still much to be watched with this system as timing and track can always change, and so can snowfall totals. As we mentioned earlier, the things that we will be watching will be the potential for a slight increase in snowfall totals, and a slight shift to the north. We also expect winter weather advisories to be issued in the next 24 to 36 hours. As always, we will continue to bring the very latest details right here on, and more frequently on our Facebook and Twitter pages.


Zach Sharpe

My name is Zach Sharpe. I am the president and forecaster for the Iowa Storm Chasing Network. You can find me on Twitter @Stormchaserzach and on Facebook at:

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: