Wintry Mix Thursday Before The Potential For a Major Winter Storm This Weekend
Good evening, a pretty busy time in the weather department over the next few days. We are watching an area of low pressure that will bring some wintry precipitation Wednesday night through Thursday night, then the potential for a major winter storm for the weekend. But first in the very short term as far as tonight and Wednesday is concern, cloudy skies with areas of freezing drizzle and freezing rain. At this point, we are not expecting anything more than a glaze of ice, but will be enough to cause some hazardous road conditions, especially on untreated roads, bridges, and overpasses, you will see some of that freezing drizzle on FutureCast that will be posted below. As we head into Wednesday night into Thursday, an area of snow, rain, and freezing rain will move through the area. Precipitation should begin mainly as snow for areas north of I-70, and rain south, but as temperatures get slightly above freezing, there could be a period of rain in the afternoon, which will limit snowfall totals. As far as snowfall potential from Wednesday night through Thursday, a general 1 to 2 inches of snow will be possible, may be enough for a Winter Weather Advisory issuance from the National Weather Service, we’ll just have to wait and see.
Heading into the weekend, we will watch another area of low pressure gathers moisture and strength as it nearly follows the same path as the previous weekend’s winter storm. Below is one of the models that we are following on what could happen with the storm. The center of the low will move directly east, moving into the area late Friday night into early Saturday morning. Areas north of I-70 should remain all snow, with the potential for some freezing rain along or just south of I-70. Areas south of I-70 should see just enough warm air so that it will be rain, but as colder air moves in at the tail end, could end as snow. As the storm moves east of the area, the aforementioned cold air will move in, resulting in the coldest air of the season. More on that in a bit, but as far as snow accumulations, it is still a bit too early to determine exact amounts, but areas that could see light, moderate, and heavy snow accumulations is below. At this time, I think portions of central Indiana, just north of I-70 could see the highest snow accumulations, with moderate to heavy snow accumulations possible further north. To the south, there will be a sharp cutoff on snow, with light snow accumulations possible along and just to the south of I-70, but precipitation could mix with freezing rain, sleet eventually becoming all rain, then changing back over to snow before ending. Along and south of a Bloomington-Columbus line, we are expecting mainly rain, it could briefly mix with sleet or freezing rain, before ending as snow. Also, unlike with the previous system, this system could be a wind producer, so there could be some blowing and drifting of snow, along with near blizzard conditions, so I would not be surprised if either Winter Storm or even Blizzard Watches are issued as early as Thursday morning.
Finally, on the back side of this storm, a cold blast will move in and highs on Sunday will struggle to get out of the lower to mid teens, with lows heading into Monday morning likely in the sub-zero category, especially where there’s a fresh snow pack. Below is just one of the models depicting these very cold temperatures.
Finally, a look at the Three Day Forecast for Indy, Kokomo, and Muncie from Saturday through Monday. You will clearly see how the colder air moves in on the tail end of this storm. Forecast highs on Sunday will struggle in many cases to get out of the teens, with lows into Monday morning below zero, with wind chills in the -10 to -20 range. To sum up, there remains a lot of uncertainties as far as final track, where the heaviest snow will fall, which areas will see freezing rain, sleet, and rain. The track will greatly play a role, the further north the low goes, the further north the axis of heaviest snow falls and the more “warmer” air that will feed northward, therefore more areas will see rain. The further south, the axis of the heaviest snowfall will move southward, and less areas will see snowfall. Stay tuned for continued updates and as the models get in better agreement, we should begin to narrow and hone in details of snowfall.