Blizzard Conditions Expected This Weekend
by Kelly Smith, Meteorologist
February 08, 2013 11:39 AM
A very potent Winter Storm will be headed our way this weekend and could create Blizzard conditions. The National Weather Service has upgraded Winter Storm Watches Friday afternoon to Blizzard Watches in anticipation of very heavy snow fall and gusty winds. The KDLT Weather Blog
has a great explanation of the difficult forecasting scenario.While there is still a degree of uncertainty with this system as to where the heaviest snow bands will set up and just how cold it will get, there are a few facts that make this system especially hazardous.
The amount of moisture being funneled ahead of the system through strong southerly winds is quite significant, especially for winter. Areas that do see all snow will likely see very high snow fall totals of twelve inches or more. This moisture is already showing itself in the fog and low cloud cover which have plagued the area for a good portion of Thursday and Friday.
While there is still uncertainty in the actual track the storm will take, all the forecasting models predict a significantly strong storm moving within 50 miles of our area in the next couple of days. What is also particularly hazardous is the gusty winds behind the system which will allow winds to gust in excess of 40 to 50 miles per hour. Gusty winds like this would create a very large problem with blowing and drifting snow Sunday night and Monday.
At this point, weather forecasting models are largely unchanged from this morning and last night. There is still some degree of divergence between solutions and this small difference could mean big changes. At this point it still looks likely for the southeast to see a good amount of rain before switching over to snow Sunday afternoon. What will need to be watched over the next day or so will be if the models continue to trend slightly south. Friday morning models were trending slightly south which prompted Blizzard Watches to be issued. A jog of 25 miles or so could adjust snow totals dramatically especially in the Sioux Falls area and south.
We will keep you updated on any updates as soon as we get them and will continue to update the KDLT Weather Blog with new snowfall graphics, warnings and explanations.