There are crap shoots, and then there’s this week’s winter storm. It’s a storm that is masking itself from the computer models and causing forecaster to pull out what’s left of their hair. If you couldn’t tell by the start of this article, there’s a lot of uncertainty as to what will happen over Iowa and the rest of the Midwest over the next few days.
Let’s focus on what exactly this storm is doing. First of all, it’s not even on shore yet. That will (we hope) provide a little more consistency among the forecast models. The best thinking right now is that the low will bomb south before curving up into the Upper Midwest. New forecast projections put the center of the storm on Thursday possible over northwest Iowa. This, as you can see in the snow probability graphic to the left, would place the greatest threat for heavy snow fall in far western Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. The red indicates the highest probability per current forecasts of 8” or more of snow.
But I want to stress this again, the final track of this storm is still very unclear and we could see further changes in the hours ahead.
And it’s not just the storm’s track that the problem, it’s the storm’s intensity. Most storms strengthen as they pass by the Upper Midwest. Not this one, this one is forecast to weaken. Depending on its timing and location when that happens, it could also greatly impact the final snowfall projections.
There are countless meteorologists and forecast experts who are still leery of even mentioning snowfall totals. And I think that’s the right call. There have been some dramatic shifts in the track of this storm over the last 1-3 days and we are still 3 days away. Not to mention the fact that this storm is expected to bring with it some very strong winds. So even if one area only gets 1”-3” inches of snow, that doesn’t mean it will be terribly manageable for motorists. Either way, everyone… EVERYONE needs to closely watch this storm in the days ahead.
As for another storm system that could wreak havoc on travel next week? Let’s just get through this mystery first.