What stormtrack brings the most snow?

149058_10150133028124167_639419166_7835600_7767767_nIt is about that time of year when we should expect our first accumulating snow. Now’s the perfect time to examine which stormtracks produce the biggest snows here in Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin and which bring rain, sleet, and freezing rain.

Stormtrack #1: Track goes west of Rockford. Because the circulation of wind around low pressure is counter-clockwise, a track to our west keeps most of the wind out of the south ahead of the system. This is usually enough to warm us above freezing which makes most of the precipitation fall in the form of rain. There are occasional tracks like this that do produce freezing rain at the beginning (before the warm air moves into the area).

154598_10150133028309167_639419166_7835607_864303_nStormtrack #2: Track goes right over Rockford. This puts us on the edge of the temperature change. For the most part, these types of events are non-events for us. Especially because dry air sometimes gets caught into the center of low pressure which doesn’t allow for us to get into the heaviest precipitation. This is usually a scenario where rain changes to snow around here…but the majority of the precipitation again falls in the form of rain ahead of the system. If temperatures remain too cool at the onset of the storm, this track is one that can produce ice storms (as cold air remains trapped in the low levels with a northeasterly wind). Upper-air winds are out of the south which cause the precipitation type to be rain. The rain then falls onto a sub-freezing layer at the surface which causes the rain to freeze on contact.

150051_10150133028494167_639419166_7835615_378240_nStormtrack #3: This graphic shows the “perfect track” if you’re a snowlover. The biggest snowstorms for Northern Illinois and Southern Wisconsin track from Southeastern Missouri into Northeastern Indiana. If the low is in a developing phase, they are able to easily transport moisture from the Gulf of Mexico right into the system. In any particular winter season we can expect one or two of these snow events. However in the past few winters we’ve seen three and four per season! A good rule of thumb is the heaviest snow occurs 100 to 150  miles to the left of the stormtrack.


Posted under winter storm

This post was written by qni_it on November 29, 2010

3 Comments so far

  1. bub November 29, 2010 6:35 PM

    COME ON #3!!!

  2. weather November 29, 2010 7:43 PM

    weather forecast from GFS,

    snow rain maps

  3. true religion outlet October 10, 2011 12:11 AM

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