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WxBlog / 20100209A

2010's "Big One?" Begins

0845ET Water VaporAccording to the time lapse camera I have set up looking out my office window downtown, the snow began downtown shortly after 4am today. At my house, we had 1.4" by 8am. The storm is beginning to organize itself.

The upper level low (the center of the whirlpool-like feature in the 0845ET water vapor image at right) has moved to the central Iowa-Missouri border. It has tapped into the big pool of upper level moisture (the lighter shades of gray indicate greater moisture) over southern Texas and Louisiana. The upper level low is also detectable as the pool of colder air (the magenta colors) in the 1000ET surface analysis (bottom image at right).

The surface low is visible in the water vapor image as the bend on the western edge of the very moist air stretching from Ohio down into Alabama, and the closed surface low shown on the surface analysis. Over the last couple of hours, the center of this surface low has jumped from the Gulf Coast to along the Kentucky-Tennessee border.

So, the merging of these two systems appears to be well underway. We can only hope that this merger will concentrate the snow-making energy over northern Indiana before moving east and blasting Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey.

1000ET Surface MapHere's the latest statement from the NI WFO earlier this morning…

URGENT - WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE NORTHERN INDIANA
426 AM EST TUE FEB 9 2010
…WINTER STORM WARNING IN EFFECT THROUGH WEDNESDAY EVENING…

.A SURFACE LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM OVER MISSISSIPPI AND AN UPPER LOW ACROSS IOWA WILL MERGE TODAY OVER THE OHIO VALLEY REGION. SNOW ASSOCIATED WITH THIS SYSTEM WILL OVERSPREAD THE AREA EARLY TODAY AND THEN CONTINUE INTO WEDNESDAY. LAKE ENHANCED SNOW SHOWERS WILL BOOST SNOW AMOUNTS DOWNSTREAM OF LAKE MICHIGAN LATE TONIGHT AND WEDNESDAY. STORM TOTAL SNOWFALL BY LATE WEDNESDAY IS EXPECTED TO BE GENERALLY 8 TO 12 INCHES…WITH 10 TO 15 INCHES LIKELY OVER FAR SOUTHWEST LOWER MICHIGAN INTO NORTHWEST INDIANA. NORTHWEST WINDS WILL INCREASE TO 15 TO 25 MPH WITH 30 TO 40 MPH GUSTS LATE TUESDAY NIGHT AND WEDNESDAY RESULTING IN BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW WITH NEAR BLIZZARD CONDITIONS POSSIBLE.

A WINTER STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 7 PM EST WEDNESDAY.

  • TIMING…SNOW WILL CONTINUE THROUGH TONIGHT…BUT THEN DIMINISH TO LIGHT SNOW SHOWERS WEDNESDAY. NORTHWEST WINDS WILL INCREASE TO 20 TO 30 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 40 MPH LATE TUESDAY NIGHT AND WEDNESDAY. TOTAL SNOWFALL BY LATE WEDNESDAY SHOULD RANGE FROM 8 TO 12 INCHES…WITH SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER DRIFTS.
  • MAIN IMPACT…HEAVY SNOW WILL CAUSE HAZARDOUS TRAVEL CONDITIONS THROUGH WEDNESDAY. INCREASING NORTHWEST WINDS WILL CAUSE CONSIDERABLE BLOWING AND DRIFTING SNOW LATE TONIGHT AND WEDNESDAY…RESULTING IN NEAR BLIZZARD CONDITIONS AT TIMES AND SOME IMPASSABLE ROADS IN RURAL AREAS.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS…

A WINTER STORM WARNING FOR HEAVY SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW MEANS SEVERE WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED OR OCCURRING. SIGNIFICANT AMOUNTS OF SNOW ARE FORECAST THAT WILL MAKE TRAVEL DANGEROUS. ONLY TRAVEL IN AN EMERGENCY. IF YOU MUST TRAVEL…KEEP AN EXTRA FLASHLIGHT…FOOD…AND WATER IN YOUR VEHICLE IN CASE OF AN EMERGENCY.

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