Wow, I guess we will have to hold off on the T-shirts for now. The winter of 2007-08 is not done with us yet, not by a long-shot. Just think a couple days ago most of our model guidance had highs for us today close to 50 degrees. But this is the same model guidance that simply cannot handle a La Nina pattern which is known for its tremendous ups and downs and big storms to boot. That has been proven throughout this wild and wacky winter. So with a temperature of 34 degrees at 1 p.m. here in Lafayette and the latest model runs showing a big swath of heavy snow moving our way by late tonight and Tuesday, do I give in and believe? Let's turn to the past.
This is a Colorado low impacting us which is a lot different than a Texas or Oklahoma low. So I am turning to climatology or past history of storms like this that have impacted Lafayette. Most "sectional" storms that start off as rain, then mix over to snow coming from the West bring us a nice 2 to 4 inch snowfall about 75% of the time. In extreme and more rare cases it can bring us a 4 to 6 inch snowfall with slightly higher amounts. This happens about 25% of the time.
Is there wild card that could increase our chances of seeing the less likely heavier snowfall band? Well, there are a few. We will have a vicious low-level jet stream punching in from the south at over 60 mph by morning. This will be a very dynamic system and it will have plenty of moisture to work with. This rapidly rising air and deep moisture will mix with cold air wrapping into the system. This means some areas could see an inch of snow per hour for at least 3 hours during our Tuesday morning. This is what meteorologists call "mesobanding of snow". Forecast amounts of snow can double in a heart-beat. It is the anti-dry slot of snowstorms and by the way, I do not see a dry slot for us this time around. The second factor I am looking at is that our storm will be deepening as it moves through the Ohio Valley tomorrow. It will be one of our stronger low pressures of the season. This is always an important ingredient when forecasting heavy snow. Thirdly, all the models have trended farther south on the track which would allow us to change-over to snow sooner and bring that secondary heavy snow band through our viewing area. The verdict: I think most of our viewing area ends up in a 4 to 6 inch band of snow with 6 to 8 inch amounts not out of the question in a thin bullseye.
Tonight, tune in to find out where the 4 to 6 inches may fall and where that 6 to 8 inch band may set up. In the meantime, I will be watching those radars very closely with you. It is still a developing system, which means things can certainly change. This first estimate on snowfall I do have confidence in, despite the model madness. Now we will all wait it out together and see what this La Nina storm has in store for us. Sectional time and a big snowstorm are synonymous with each other and maybe, just maybe nature will come through this time around. But this is the winter of 2007-08 and as we have seen all winter long, it is not a slam-dunk by any means. It is crunch time for the basketball teams and meteorologists and I have my game face on! :) I will check back with you throughout the evening and overnight with the latest. It should be interesting. This time around I am looking to take out nature early with a Live Doppler 18 full court press. Let's go!