Wintry Mess Ahead
by Kelly Smith, Meteorologist
January 28, 2013 11:13 AM
After an icy weekend a wintry mess will move in Monday.Rain and freezing rain Sunday created havok on many roads in the Sioux Empire. Temperatures in the southeast hovered just above and below freezing allowing rain to fall and freeze on contact in many areas. The warm, moist air stuck around for Monday morning as fog developed and created quite an issue with the morning commute. Visibilities dropped to less than a half mile for a majority of the morning east of the James River but mother nature is just getting started as snow developed west river and is headed northeast.
Snow showers in the initial band were fairly intense with some areas like Hoven recording an inch of snow in only 45 minutes. Areas like Gettysburg, Seneca and Faulkton even reported hearing thunder while the snow band moved through. As the snowband develops and moves east it will encounter slightly warmer air allowing for snowflakes to either partially or fully melt before hitting the ground. Many areas will see ground and air temperatures below freezing allowing for those melted snow flakes to freeze on contact. Because of the threat of ice and snow the National Weather Service issued Winter Weather Advisories.
(Warnings and Advisories as of 8am Monday click here
for the current warnings & advisories)Winter Advisories are issued when winter weather will cause a significant impact on travel. Travel will no doubt be impacted by this next system this afternoon as it will bring a variety of wintry precipitation. Areas of the west behind the cold front are likely to see all snow. Temperatures will gradually become warmer the farther east you head. Areas like Aberdeen, Sisseton and Watertown will likely see a mix of snow and freezing rain. Towards the southeast where the front will take the longest to reach will stay mild with temperatures well above freezing. Areas of light rain and freezing rain will be possible in the southeast during the day Monday.The cold front is forecasted to moves across the state Monday night dropping temperatures behind it. By midnight temperatures should start to cool in the southeast and light rain will gradually transition over to snow.
By sunrise, temperatures will be well below freezing allowing for all snow across the entire state. Snow will start to taper off Tuesday morning with areas of heavy snow in the northeast creating visibility issues.Chances for snow are possible for the entire eastern half of the state however, a narrow band of heavy snow will be possible from the northeast to southcentral South Dakota. Our in-house forecasting model has some fairly good snowfall amounts above 6 inches. However, keep in mind that this would likely be if all precipitation falls as snow, if we get some rain and ice mixed in, totals will be far less than shown.When factoring in precipitation type, we think it is possible for a narrow band of 4 to 6 inches of snow for Aberdeen, Pierre and Huron. Areas outside the main snow band like Brookings and Mitchell could see anywhere between 2 to 4 inches. While the southeast will stay warmer longer, the chances for snow will be smaller. I wouldn't expect Sioux Falls to see anymore than 2 inches of snow. However, keep in mind that warming or cooling by only a few degrees could alter totals significantly. Keep in mind that travel will be impacted significantly and weather conditions in South Dakota can change very quickly.
Behind the cold front, an arctic clipper will dip down dropping temperatures significantly once again. Arctic air will surge south dropping temperatures well below zero Wednesday night and Thursday. Actual temperatures could drop anywhere between 10 to 20 below zero. The yellow line indicates temperatures around ten below zero while the red line indicates temperatures twenty below zero.Temperatures will stay chilly for a few days before leveling out by the weekend.