Snow Business

Many of you have been begging and pleading with us to please let it snow! Or as Tanner Lawrence asks, “Why does it never snow in Omaha?” Seems like a lot of us have missed out on the snow this year. If we did control the weather, the whole state would of had a white Christmas. However, we keep hoping for a widespread snow where the entire state ends up with snow. Sadly, this system is still not going to make that wish happen. Here is why.

gfs_z500_uv_conus_13Currently a closed low is digging into the lower southwest. This is bringing a chance of accumulating snow to places that you would never expect ending up with snow. Winter storm warnings are out for Arizona, Nevada,  and Texas. In Arizona, 8″ to 16″ of snow is expected in the upper elevations above 5000 feet. Below 5000 feet, 4″ to 8″. Who would have ever thought that Arizona would have a better chance at accumulating snow, than Iowa.

gfs_z500_uv_conus_29By Friday night, a 500mb shortwave will move through the Rockies, which will then allow the low to move off to the northeast. As it does, it will begin to interact with another system to our north in Minnesota. As these two systems begin to come together, or also referred to phasing, this would lead to better chances of accumulating snowfall.

gfs_ptype_slp_conus_17This low will be tracking right across St. Louis, which would place the best chance of precipitation across the southeast half of the state. For the best snowfall accumulations in the central Iowa region, like Des Moines, you would want this low to be tracking to the north of St. Louis. So what does this mean for snowfall totals? As a reminder, the following images are not a forecast, just simply model outputs.

gfs_6hr_snow_acc_east_21The GFS has been fairly consistent with the track of this system. It continues to have accumulating snow across the southeast half of the state. This would include places like Ottumwa, the Quad Cities, and Bettendorf. So yes Shannon Michele Corley, if this model run would verify, you would be able to use your new Christmas sleds just north of the Quad Cities. If you are traveling across southeast Iowa on Saturday like Chad Derby is, you might encounter some slick roads, so you will want to check on the very latest before heading out.

00zThe 00z GFS just came in, and is staying consistent. Comparing the 18z GFS to the 00z GFS, not much has changed.

cmc_snow_acc_east_25Comparing the GEM to the GFS, you can see that the GEM takes this system right over the central potion of the state. However, if you cross compare the GEM to the ECMWF, the GFS is in the middle of the two. The ECMWF has the snowfall staying further to the southeast than the GFS. Because of this, the GFS looks like the best compromise right now. Something to note is that that experimental GFS did look more like the GEM. However, trends will have to be monitored over the next few days because if this system does come in more northwesterly, then a GEM solution could be possible. However, on the flip side, if this system stays more southerly, a ECMWF solution would be more likely. Right now, the waiting game begins. At this point all we can do is watch and see how this system evolves. Until then, continue to check back here for the latest details, as we get closer, we will begin to talk numbers.

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: