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Rockford Scanner » Mother Nature Is Bringing A Strong Storm System to our are on Friday. Mother Nature Is Bringing A Strong Storm System to our are on Friday.

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Our opinion on what allegedly may have happened,
Based on the current information that has been provided to us.

We continue to monitor a strong storm system which will move into the region later Thursday night and Friday. While the potential for winter weather impacts is increasing, particularly across northern Illinois, uncertainties in storm track continue. A farther north track would bring mainly rain to the region along with an increased threat for thunderstorms and heavy rainfall/flooding, while a farther south track would shift the axis of impactful snow more into Indiana. Temperatures will only be in the 30s, leading to a wetter/heavier type snow where it is cold enough to accumulate, with ratios likely less than 9:1.

Issued at 228 PM CST Tue Feb 28 2023

Thursday through Tuesday...

Primary forecast concern and challenge is a potential winter storm
to impact the area on Friday.

Low pressure is expected to develop over the southern Plains 
Thursday and rapidly deepen as it moves across MO Thursday night 
and into central IL Friday morning. Even with the similar tracks 
of the low from the 12z GFS/NAM/ECMWF, there is still large 
differences in the expected precipitation types/locations. 

Thermally, there isn't much cold air aloft initially. While some
cooler air advects into the area, the colder temps aloft that 
arrive later Friday are probably in part, driven by the expected 
moderate/heavy precip intensity cooling the column enough to turn 
the precipitation to snow and this could be in a fairly narrow 
axis. An axis that will be highly dependent on the track of the 
surface low. The lack of colder air also makes for a difficult air
temperature forecast. Temps may remain in the lower/mid 30s 
Thursday night into Friday morning and then may remain steady on 
Friday for much of the area. This also makes for a difficult 
precip type forecast. Freezing rain is certainly possible if temps
were to be cooler and stay in the lower 30s but confidence is too
low to have any freezing rain in the forecast from this distance.
Precip intensity and cooling aloft could allow for some sleet, as
shown by the ECMWF in particular, but confidence for duration and
timing is too low to have sleet mention either. So have 
maintained rain/snow as precip types and for the most part, most 
of the area is in a rain/snow mix for much of the event. There 
does appear to be some consensus that as the precip begins later 
Thursday night into early Friday morning, it will start as rain 
south of I-80 with perhaps a mix into the southern metro by 
daybreak Friday morning. Much of Thursday evening is looking dry 
for the cwa.

While this time period, through 00z Saturday, is now in the 72
hours of QPF and snowfall amounts, the snowfall forecast is highly
uncertain. Currently, the highest snowfall amounts are generally
along and north of I-88. While this matches the current possible
track, the axis of heaviest snow could shift further south. Given
the temperatures, the snow may end up being fairly wet, with low
snow/water ratios, possibly keeping snow amounts lower.

There is also the potential for heavy rain, wherever rain occurs,
currently expected across the southern half or third of the cwa. 
Rainfall amounts may approach an inch. Given the current wet 
ground and higher river levels, this amount of rain will likely 
cause additional minor flooding and if rainfall amounts are higher
and/or more convective, leading to short duration of moderate/ 
heavy rain, then flooding concerns will need to be monitored.
There is a chance of thunderstorms, mainly in the far south and 
convection into the cwa, will also be dependent on the track of 
the low.

Finally, the winds, blended winds were solidly into wind advisory
levels, for Friday. Lowered these winds some in coordination with
our neighboring offices but given the strength of the surface low,
wind gusts into the 40-45 mph range certainly look possible but
confidence from this distance is low. The winds will shift
northerly Friday evening as the low departs and then slowly
diminish into Saturday morning.

Another system may move across the area later Sunday night and
Monday bringing a chance of mainly rain showers to the area with
temperatures near or above normal for the weekend and early next
week. cms

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