Saturday, December 19, 2009

Travel Heads Up

I am continuing to watch a possible winter storm for midweek/Christmas Eve. There are still a lot of question marks as to where, what will fall, and how much. One thing is fairly certain (if the forecast models are to be believed), it looks like someone in the central U.S. is going to get whacked with a winter storm.

If you plan to travel midweek you should be keeping a close eye on the forecast.

Unfortunately, right now it is too early and too difficult to know exactly what is going to happen. The computer models we use to forecast the storms are all over the place. There hasn't been much consistency yet with their output. So we are in a "wait and see" mode.

The National Weather Service office in St. Louis seems to be thinking the same thing. Forecasters from that office issued a Special Weather Statement this afternoon warning travelers to pay attention to the forecast over the next couple of days.

Below is the text of the statement from the NWS.


SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE ST LOUIS MO
410 PM CST SAT DEC 19 2009


...WINTER STORM TAKING AIM ON THE CENTRAL U.S. TUESDAY NIGHT
THROUGH THURSDAY NIGHT...

A WINTER STORM APPEARS LIKELY TO BE IMPACTING PARTS OF THE CENTRAL
U.S. HEADING INTO THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAY. THE TIMING OF THE STORM
IS SUCH THAT IT MAY HAVE A SIGNIFICANT IMPACT ON HOLIDAY
TRAVELERS...THEREFORE IT IS IMPORTANT FOR THOSE PLANNING TRAVEL
THROUGHOUT THE CENTRAL U.S. TO CAREFULLY MONITOR FORECASTS OVER
THE NEXT FEW DAYS.

FOR THE PAST SEVERAL DAYS...WEATHER DATA HAS SUGGESTED THAT A
STRONG STORM SYSTEM WILL BE PUSHING INTO THE CENTRAL U.S. WITH MANY
FAVORABLE CONDITIONS FOR A WINTER STORM COMING TOGETHER IN THE
TUESDAY THROUGH THURSDAY TIME FRAME. ADVERSE WINTER WEATHER NOW
APPEARS LIKELY SOMEWHERE ACROSS THE NATIONS MIDSECTION.

THE INITIAL STAGES OF THE STORM ARE EXPECTED TO BEGIN IMPACTING THE
PLAINS ON TUESDAY...THEN SPREAD INTO THE MID MISSISSIPPI VALLEY
TUESDAY NIGHT. THE STORM WILL CONTINUE ITS INFLUENCE OVER THE AREA
WEDNESDAY AND INTO THURSDAY...BEFORE EXITING THE CENTRAL U.S.
ON CHRISTMAS DAY.

HOWEVER...IT IS EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO POINT OUT THAT IT IS STILL
MUCH TOO EARLY TO TELL EXACTLY WHEN OR WHERE THE MOST DANGEROUS
WEATHER CONDITIONS WILL OCCUR. WHILE THE FORECAST DATA HAS
CONSISTENTLY POINTED TO STORM DEVELOPMENT...THE EXACT TRACK AND
TEMPERATURE PROFILE OF THE STORM HAS BEEN VARYING A GREAT DEAL.
THESE ARE KEY UNKNOWNS...SINCE A SMALL CHANGE IN TEMPERATURE OR
STORM MOVEMENT OFTEN HAS A TREMENDOUS IMPACT ON THE AMOUNT OF
WINTER WEATHER A GIVEN LOCATION RECEIVES.

IT IS ALSO QUITE POSSIBLE THAT SOME LOCATIONS WILL HAVE CHANGING
PRECIPITATION TYPES...WITH SNOW CHANGING TO RAIN...AND THEN BACK TO
SNOW. EVEN SOME FREEZING RAIN AND SLEET ARE NOT ENTIRELY OUT OF
THE QUESTION.

WE EXPECT NUMERICAL WEATHER DATA TO BEGIN TO CONVERGE ON A PREFERRED
SOLUTION OVER THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS...SO AGAIN...HOLIDAY TRAVELERS
ARE URGED TO CAREFULLY MONITOR THE LATEST FORECASTS ON THIS STORM.

$$

TRUETT/TES

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