Snow is coming for North Georgia
Well, there’s pretty much no question as to whether or not we will see flakes in the next week, so the question now turns to how much.
For the past week and a half or so, the weather world has been abuzz with the talk of an upcoming pattern being shown on the models. This modeled pattern is one that hasn’t occurred during winter in the past two years, and is also one that is highly supportive of snow in the southeast and eastern United States. To begin with I was quite skeptic of the pattern as the models have shown it, only to have it fail to come to fruition, several times this season, but as we draw nearer they aren’t backing down. All signs are pointing towards a gorgeous western ridge, a strong block in the NE, and a strong shortwave moving in early next week, preceded by a potentially decent system this weekend. Lets get started looking at these threats one at a time.
***Sat/Sun Snow Threat (3/2-3/3)***
There are still a lot of unknowns heading into this weekend, partly due to model inconsistencies. For example, I have included below the 18z GFS/NAM and circled the area of interest only 48 hours from now.
Obviously, they aren’t anywhere near agreement, and to top it off the European model is different from both of these as well. So it comes down to “what do you think?”. Personally, I think this system will be a good chance for those well to our south (south of ATL) to cash in on some snowflakes, and for those north of I-20 this could easily turn into a decent event with a swath of 1-3″, with some areas possibly receiving more than that. Of course, it could go the other way too and be nothing but flurries for everyone, but at this juncture you have to bet on at least some light snow for a big portion of MS/AL/TN/GA/SC/NC.
***Tue/Wed Snow Threat (3/5-3/6)***
This is the second system I have my eye on at the moment. Throughout the day today, the models have trended up and down with potential for this timeframe, but one thing has remained the same: the set-up. By hour 144 (next Monday) all major models are showing a -NAO block, western ridging, and a strong shortwave diving into the Pacific NW. After this time, they diverge into several different solutions. Ultimately none of them show snow for the SE, but it is my personal belief that this will change.
Below is the hight “anomalies” (departure from normal) over North America.
The two black “H”s are the high pressure systems acting as “blocks” over the North American continent, and causing a lot of cold air to be dumped across the SE. These “blocks” also determine the storm paths, and right now the models seem to be ignoring that. The GFS and Euro both have shortwaves that move due east instead of “digging” southwest as one would expect given the locations of the blocks. Both models start off with the energy digging towards the SW then abruptly turn it east and move it due east all the way across the nation. This is a highly unusual track and leads me to shy away from believing these models. They may have some merit with this track in that they do break down the blocking some as we head towards next Tue/Wed, but IMO this is just models rushing a pattern change as they seem to do a lot.
What does this mean? Well, time will tell if I am right, but IMO this system could end up being the “big dog” we have been waiting for all season. The “players are on the field” as we like to say, now its just time for them to play ball.