Wind here, rain for Chicago, and snow for Birmingham and Tupelo?

A developing area of low pressure across the Tennessee River Valley has Winter Weather Advisories posted for Memphis, Huntsville, and Birmingham, Alabama tonight for a dusting to a few inches of snowfall. A Winter Storm Watch is in effect for the purple shaded areas including Tupelo, Mississippi. This will be one of the earliest snow events the south has seen in decades! Even though only a few inches of snow will fall, this may be classified as a “winter storm” based on certain criteria from National Weather Service offices in the area.

Even though these areas to the south will receive snow overnight, we will have rain close by on Tuesday. Areas east of I-55 in Illinois from Bloomington to Joliet and Chicago could see some healthy doses. Points east will have the potential of seeing 1-2 inches of rainfall (shaded in yellow). Why are snowflakes flying 600 miles south of here when rain is possible this far north? As the low pressure deepens, it is able to intake cooler air from higher altitudes. In addition, the system will be producing heavy amounts of rainfall initially, which will end up cooling the atmosphere. Because areas like Chicago will be on the fringes, rain is the primary threat with some mixing possible during the nighttime hours. Note: There is no reason to panic looking at western Michigan’s snowfall at this point. Our model is putting down more than a foot of snow in this area! That’s a huge stretch at this point…

For us, our big story will be the strong wind in response to a strong ridge of high pressure to our west and this low pressure moving northward into Ohio. We are projecting peak wind speeds to exceed 25mph Tuesday afternoon with some wind gusts above tropical storm force (43mph). By nightfall Tuesday, the wind chills will dip significantly with a low wind chill around 14° Wednesday morning. So, get ready for a windy, cold day Tuesday! -ES

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Posted under rain, weather geek, Wind, winter storm

This post was written by qni_it on November 28, 2011

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