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                   Friday, March 19, 2010 - 4:09PM CST

Spring may win east; slim STL chase chances

By DAN ROBINSON
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25 Years of Storm Observing
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Although winter is poised to slam the Plains and parts of the Midwest with one more major snow event, models show warm air winning out in the eastern US as this system moves east. From the St. Louis area eastward - including in most of the Appalachians - temps should remain above freezing, keeping the precip as all rain. By Sunday, the models show the low will entrain warm air from the south and east into its circulation, which will wrap all the way around to what would normally be the 'cold' western half of the storm - keeping precip as rain even in the higher elevations east of the Mississippi.

After this storm, warm temps should make a major surge back north, quickly melting any snow that has fallen in the Plains and Midwest. At this point, models do not show any major cold surges south of an I-40 latitude for at least the next week or more, which could mean the true end of winter weather season for much of the lower Midwest and central Plains.

As for opportunities, the NAM and GFS models show possible weak convection south and east of St. Louis tomorrow afternoon, thanks to low-level convergence along the finally-slowing cold front. I don't expect this to be much more than some light showers due to nonexistent instability, but since it may be forming right overhead at home, I'll be watching it.

As for the next big event(s), the GFS and Euro models have both been showing an active pattern beginning toward the end of the month, with several troughs moving through the Plains and Midwest. It's too early to say much about these, especially since there has not been much consistency/agreement on their timing and placement. The important thing is that the active patterns are showing up, offering some hope to possibly get back out on the road again.

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