Potential Winter Storm 2-16/2-18
Alright, its obviously not “early” as I mentioned in my last post but the reality remains the same: we could be looking at a winter storm across the area Friday night through Sunday.
First lets talk about what’s happening: NOAA flew a bunch of planes yesterday to gather up tons of data on the incoming piece of energy that will *potentially* bring snow to our area in the next 48 hours. Over the last week, the models have been bouncing around with exactly what this piece of energy is going to be able to accomplish. Up until mid-day yesterday this looked like mainly a flurry/convective snow shower event for the north GA area, with some possible accumulations across SC/NC. Throughout the day yesterday, however, things started looking differently. The first model to make it obviously apparent we weren’t through yet was the 2z (9PM EST) RAP which dug the energy down into southern NM/AZ and into SW TX instead of keeping it north through the Texas panhandle area. Obviously this could have been a fluke run but since then it has continued to show a very consolidated, strong piece of energy diving into Texas and heading towards the Gulf of Mexico. The 12z NAM was similar but as you can see in the image below, there are still differences especially in the strength of the energy.
As I am typing this the GFS has just came in with large area of 3-5″ snow just over the border of SC around the Greenville area and points just east. Ultimately this is a thread the needle and a track shift of 25-50 miles could mean the difference between 4″ of snow and flurries. ***IF*** the RAP’s placement and strength of the energy verifies it would definitely help increase the chances, though still small, of getting a low to form in the gulf or over north FL and track closer to the east coast, thus spreading precipitation farther inland. At this juncture I think the majority of the snow stays to our east however with the extremely cold air coming in aloft convective snowshowers are possible all day Saturday and into Saturday night. I’ll update again later today with more information.