So what happened to the big potential storm this weekend? The basic answer is the two jet streams some computer models were forecasting to come together Sunday will now stay apart. In order to get a blockbuster snowstorm you need to have the northern and southern branches of the jet stream merge. You can still have a snowstorm with just one piece of the upper flow, but the majority of our largest storms come from when the two merge.
Unlike the storm on Wednesday were nearly all the models agreed what would be happening nearly a week ahead of time, the Sunday storm was never a sure bet. When you have so much variance between all the data we use, it’s not a good idea to forecast any one solution.
As the storm passes our area this weekend, it will throw a cloud shield across the sky. Saturday will be the brightest of the two weekend days. Sunday, with the cloud cover and the chance of snow shower and flurries will be a raw and chilly day. If you are skiing, you will need good goggles to bring out the contours of the slopes from the flat light.
Next week continues cold and dry for at least the first half of the week. Temperatures are running up to 10 degrees under the 30 year average. Averages of course are just a bunch of extremes in this part of the country. In any given year it temperatures in February can be well below zero or in the mid 40s.
The image below shows trend of temperature and precipitation over the next 10 days based on one model. There is general agreement on this trend. What you should notice is the coldest air happens over the next 6 days and then we rise above freezing for the end of the period.
The next opportunity for snow or rain is Thursday. Since the storm is a week away, I am not going to commit to any more specifics, but until then it does appear to be dry and storm free.
The long-term pattern remains cold and favorable for storms. As I always say, the exact track of any developing storm is crucial to how much if any precipitation we receive. February 21st ends the darkest third of the year, ends the coldest sixth of the year, and marks the day when one quarter of our full day length potential has returned. Two more weeks and core of winter is done, not matter what happens after that date, spring will come.
You can tweet me an update @growingwisdom.