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                   Thursday, January 28, 2010 - 1:08AM CST

Major winter storm from Plains to the Atlantic

By DAN ROBINSON
Editor/Photographer
25 Years of Storm Observing
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Winter Storm Forecast Links:
Day 1 Snow: > 4" | > 8" | > 12"
Day 2 Snow: > 4" | > 8" | > 12"
Day 3 Snow: > 4" | > 8" | > 12"
Freezing Rain: Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3
US NAM MODEL SNOWFALL | US GFS MODEL SNOWFALL

Above are the most frequent links I use regularly to keep tabs on upcoming winter storms. "Day 1" means in the next 24 hours, Day 2 means 24-48, and so on. The last two links are commonly-referenced snowfall forecast model outputs. These links update automatically twice a day.

Models have had this system laying down a continuous 200-mile wide swath of snow and ice from the Rockies all the way to the Atlantic, affecting the Plains all the way through the Carolinas and Virginia. There has been a lack of consistency in storm track as well as depth and degree of surface cold air and warm air aloft. What this means is that forecasting precip types and total snow/sleet/ice accumulations for any given area has been next to impossible. What we do know is that along an east-west line somewhere around the I-40 corridor, there will be heavy snow, and south of that somewhere line will be sleet and freezing rain - potentially extreme in some locations.

St. Louis looks to be right on the northern edge of the storm, with our precip types likely staying all snow. A slight deviation in the storm track could mean either a major storm or nothing at all for us here. The other areas I'm monitoring are my old home areas of the Appalachians and the Carolinas - the latter of which could see crippling ice and/or snow over the weekend. West Virginia's impacts should not be anything historic or unusual, with anywhere from 2 to 8 inches of snow in Charleston - but a high-impact event nonetheless. North Carolina/Virginia has the potential to see a significant ice storm south and major snowstorm north.

As for coverage efforts, I'm not planning to do much if at all with this. I've just recovered from a pretty nasty 6-day long cold, and am in no hurry to get sleep-deprived and exhausted outside during a storm so that what's left of the virus can take hold again. St. Louis' impacts from this will likely not be newsworthy compared to what will be happening in numerous locations elsewhere, so I doubt any work I put into the storm would pay off. As always, if I'm feeling up to it, I may venture out to see what's going on for a couple of hours here and there. At the very least, I'll be posting periodic photos and updates from here at home in New Baden.

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