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Major Winter Storm Heading This Way

by Kristen Cornett

KMOV.com

Posted on January 29, 2011 at 11:05 PM

Updated Saturday, Jan 29 at 11:33 PM

Wow..some very interesting wording from the National Weather Service tonight:

SLU ANALOGS COMPARE THIS UPCOMING WINTER STORM TO THE 1982 SNOW
STORM THAT MANY REMEMBER IN ST. LOUIS AS THE BLIZZARD OF 82...AND
THE JANUARY 30 2006 ICE AND SNOW EVENT THAT LEFT NEARLY 500000
PEOPLE WITHOUT POWER FOR DAYS ACROSS EASTERN MISSOURI AND ILLINOIS.

THIS WINTER STORM HAS THE POTENTIAL TO PRODUCE CRIPPLING AMOUNTS OF
SLEET AND SNOW...IN EXCESS OF 12 INCHES...AND ICE ACCUMULATIONS IN
EXCESS OF 1/2 INCH. ICE ACCUMULATION OF THIS MAGNITUDE WOULD LEAD
TO POWER OUTAGES FROM DOWNED TREES AND POWER LINES.
 

I just dug into the latest models and they're giving me about 2" of liquid precip (rain) with this storm.  Now generally, 1" of rain = 10" of snow...so you do the math!  Here's the thing though...this isn't going to be all snow.  We'll also see freezing rain/drizzle and sleet.  But what percentage of the 2" is devoted to each precip type?  You can see why forecasting a winter weather event with mixed precip is so difficult. 

The exact track and strength is yet to be determined, but I can tell you this...regardless of who gets what and how much, it still looks like a pretty debilitating storm.  Where there is more snow, there will be less ice, and where there is more ice, there will be less snow.  They both will make travel treacherous.  But once you pick up 0.50" or more of ice...that's when areas usually start to lose power.  

Here's how it looks to play out of now...

Monday morning we start with light freezing rain of drizzle.  Then sleet will start to mix in sometime between late Monday night and midday Tuesday.  At some point between midday and late afternoon Tuesday we change over to all snow...and it could be heavy at times. 

While I'm not updating my snow forecast, I will tell you that I just checked the latest models and one is giving me about 11" of snow for St. Louis and the other 17"!!!!!  And one is also giving me about 3/4" of ice...which would be a real mess.  Stay tuned!

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