More Snow, Then Arctic Cold

Chief Meteorologist Shane Smith breaks down snow chances for Tuesday and the cold weather that will follow.

 Snow forecasting in Eastern Kentucky, always an adventure and sometimes an effort in futility.  I love winter weather forecasting, it's some of the most challenging weather to try to predict not just in the mountains but across the entire country.  However at times, it's almost impossible.  

Tonight as we are about 12 hours from the start of snow here in Eastern Kentucky, the forecast for how much snow we will see is very low confidence.  Here is why, the computer models we use to help us forecast are all over the place.  When we forecast we tend to look for consistency and agreement between the models.  What I mean by that is we like to see the models showing the same thing run to run for consistency.  For agreement we like to see all the different models we look at showing something at least similar.  Tonight there is no consistency and very little agreement.  Let's do a model breakdown looking at some the major models we use to forecast.

Let's start off with the NAM model.  Here is the last 3 runs of it.

Morning NAM:

Afternoon NAM:

Evening NAM:

So as you can see 3 runs of the same model, and 3 very different solutions.  Here's the other major made in the USA model, the GFS model:

Morning GFS:

Afternoon GFS:

Evening GFS:

As you can see it's a little bit better than the NAM in consistency, but there are some differences in amounts.  And just for fun two more of the major models I look at on a daily basis, the European and Canadian models:

European Model:

Canadian Model:

So as you can see the models are all over the place.  Not only that, but all these models assume a 10:1 Frozen to liquid ratio.  That means that for 10 inches of frozen precip, you'd get one inch of liquid.  The problem is that as the cold air punches into this storm, it will start as 10:1, but may end as high as 20:1.   All this together makes for a very difficult forecast.


At times like this as a meteorologist you have to lean on your understanding of the atmosphere and past experience.  So using that, here's a look at my snowfall forecast.  This is something that may change a bit, but this is the best forecast I can put together as of now.

After that check out the arctic chill that is coming into the Mountains.  Here's a look at your 7-Day Forecast:

As always we will keep you updated on the snow and bitter cold.  Until next time, take care! 

-Shane Smith


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