There is a strong low pressure system over the Gulf of Alaska on Sunday, and it is expected to be just north of the Texas panhandle by Wednesday evening. We are tracking this system with many different forecast models, including the DGEX, Euro, GFS, and the GEM. As of right now, these four models are giving us very different outcomes.
Following the DGEX, the system is forecast to track just west of us, through Iowa and up toward Lake Superior by Friday evening. Temperatures will rise in Northern Illinois with light snow through Thursday night, and possible freezing drizzle into early Friday morning.
The Euro is tracking this system a little further south, through the Plains into Iowa, and continuing through northwest Wisconsin. The Euro is showing Northern Illinois to have below freezing temperatures Thursday evening, still holding on to the possibility of freezing drizzle early Friday morning as temperatures slightly rise.
The GFS presents a similar track as the Euro, however it’s targeting the low to be right over Northern Illinois late Friday evening. There is less moisture being forecast with this system, and it’s being maximized around midnight on Thursday. Temperatures are led to be below freezing, making snow the most reliable outcome. Precipitation minimizes as the system heads northeast over Lake Michigan.
The GEM is the outlier of the four models, and is tracking the system further south. Temperatures are forecast to remain below freezing with enough moisture to give us snowfall and no freezing drizzle. The low is then forecast to fizzle out as it pushes across Southern Illinois and heads into West Virginia by Friday night.
So, what does all of this mean? Although all the models are tracking this system through different parts of the Midwest, they’re all agreeing on two things: snowfall on Thursday and a weakening system as it moves east. Just how much snow we will get will be tricky to forecast until the system moves into California on Tuesday. Right now, it does look like a few inches are possible.
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