Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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                   Thursday, December 11, 2008 - 11:00PM

Snow/ice event Thursday night - Friday morning

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Update 11:00PM Thursday: I'm awake for the night and shooting this event, so I might as well post about what's going on. This is one heck of a complex system and I'm really not sure exactly what to expect tonight, even as the event is under way. We may see 3 inches of snow, we may get a glaze of ice, we may stay above freezing and get nothing - or any or all of the above for various spots. Driving around the region is yielding a wide range of temps and conditions. Precip types have been going back and forth for the past hour - I've seen it all already - sleet, snow, rain/snow mix, now it's back to rain. A burst of sleet covered some roads on the hilltop areas around town (including up at my house). Sleet accumulates quickly even with surface temps above freezing - the coating happened even though we're at 33-34 degrees now. Still 34-36 in the valley with nothing on the roads or bridges yet. Points west of town are already reporting ice on the roads. Huge precip/snow/ice shield is over us and will be for most of the night, so I expect there will be plenty of road problems by morning. Another long night in store.

Right now I'm out the door to check on I-79 north, then watch this next mass of heavier precip come in from the west.

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Update 1:05PM Thursday: The models still waver back and forth on what is in store tonight. NAM snowfall totals as of the 12z run are 5 to 6 inches, with the GFS maintaining at 2 to 3.

It will all depend on how fast the cold air pushes in later. Some of those snow totals shown will be less if the expected frozen precip falls in the form of freezing rain. We're sitting at 36°F now with areas to the north and west experiencing freezing rain for much of the morning. So we're not too far away from something starting here.

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2:18PM Wednesday: I have hesitated posting about this, as the way models have been handling this complex system have been a little strange. However, it's getting harder to ignore now. We've got a slug of precip that will be hovering over us for the next two days, and on Thursday evening, a shot of cold air is shown pushing in and changing the rain to snow and/or ice. Before today, no one but the HPC has been officially calling for this to happen, because all along the cold air was expected to hold off until the precip was long gone. Even as it is, there is a narrow window for this to take place, and it could be an all-or-nothing situation.

There's not much more I can say about this other than take a look what the NAM snow totals and GFS snowfall totals are shown by early Friday.

Just as I was getting back on a normal sleep pattern.

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