BLOG POST: Winter returns to the area this weekend; does that mean snow?
The storm system that has brought torrential rain and mudslides to southern California will be responsible for some rain for us, and perhaps the chance of snow, later this week. That all depends on the storm's exact location, though, Friday night into Saturday. Let's discuss...
This low pressure system will draw in a lot of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico. This will allow scattered showers to develop on Thursday, with a wetter day likely on Friday. Notice towards the top of the graphic, though, that there's some colder air moving in on the back side of this system.
This almost definitely means snow for parts of west and Middle Tennessee on Friday evening, and perhaps a little mixed bag of precipitation beforehand.
As low pressure passes east of us and the colder air draws closer, we have to watch and see where the winds fan out (as the warmer and colder air masses collide).
We call this 'fanning out' a deformation zone. This is very typical of winter storms, and indicates an area of strong lift in the atmosphere which would infer heavier snow totals. Where exactly that deformation zone sets up will determine our chance for snow.
As of Wednesday afternoon, four of our main forecast models (aka simulations of the atmosphere's behavior) show this zone of heavier snow located west of us Friday night into Saturday. A slight wobble of 50-100 miles, though, is key. That's why we can't completely a chance of snow for the area Friday night into Saturday morning.
At the moment, the higher probability of an inch of snow or more is in the mountains - especially on the KY/VA line. We anticipate that the higher impacts will be west of here, but we understand the volatility of a 50-100 mile shift in the storm's track. We will continue to watch this closely, and let you know if it means anything more for us than just a light snow event.
In the meantime, we are certain on colder air returning to the Tri-Cities region. By Sunday, some of us may not make it out of the 20s again. Bottle up this warm weather while you can, because clearly it won't last much longer.