Looking ahead to a chance of snow next week

Looking ahead to a chance of snow next week

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - Forecast models are hinting at snow again in the Mid-South.

For the last few days, models have indicated another blast of arctic air plunging south into the Middle and Lower Mississippi River Valley intersecting a swath of moisture that builds over the Mid-South and southeastern U.S.

We’ve seen this similar scenario on a couple of other occasions this season, with one producing measurable snow over Northeast Arkansas and Northwest Tennessee two weeks ago.

This time there may be a somewhat better chance for snow over a more widespread area. However, there is still some uncertainty on how much if any accumulation there will be.

The European forecast model has been consistent with snow over the entire Mid-South beginning around or shortly after 10 p.m. Monday night and ending by 6 a.m. Tuesday morning, but inconsistent model run to model run with accumulation amount.

The inconsistency with amount is to be expected this far out. The GFS forecast model, on the other hand, has been very inconsistent model from model run to model run with precipitation type, location, and amount.

In other words, one model run will show rain changing to snow followed by another run with rain changings to mixed precipitation, followed by another run showing little if any rain and snow then developing south and east of the Mid-South. And that to is to be expected with forecast models beyond a 72 hour window.

Here’s what we have to take into consideration, because the event will develop over the Mid-South and then spreading south and east the biggest question is how much moisture will there have been. Then, we have to consider the temperature profile from the surface up and how deep the cold air layer will be as it moves into the Mid-South. Then, once the cold air arrives how much moisture will still be in place allowing for snow development and accumulation. This far out a lot could change.

In my 30+ years of forecasting weather in the Mid-South I’ve seen it often. So, here are my current thoughts on this situation, I’m fairly certain that there will be precipitation that develops Monday evening in the form or rain.

Temperatures that afternoon will be close to 60 degrees. The cold arctic air should spread into the area rather quickly Monday night allowing for a wintry mix to develop but most of the moisture should be rapidly moving east as well which in turn would limit the potential for significant accumulation.

I do think there will be a complete change over to snow at some point late Monday night/early Tuesday morning with temperatures nearing the mid 20s by 6 AM Tuesday. But, at this time I’m still uncertain as to how snow could accumulate.

Based on the current data and how I believe this will play out, I’m inclined to think that there will be a dusting to half an inch over most of the area including Memphis but the possibility of an inch or more along the Tennessee River Valley and into Northeast Mississippi. I do believe that significant snowfall will be more of an issue in Middle Tennessee and North Alabama than the Mid-South.

The First Alert Weather Team will be tracking this system as it continues to evolve through the weekend and through the day Monday. We’ll keep the blog, the app, and the website updated with the latest data. So stay tuned.

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