Gusty winds, blowing snow, dangerous travel all among hazards for winter storm

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The talk of the town of the past week has been the winter storm that is impending for Friday evening through Saturday. It is eerily similar to a system that moved through last weekend as far as timing goes but that’s about where the similarities stop. The fact of the matter is that total forecasts have been popping up all week long and it’s not helpful at all. It’s time we stop talking about 4 inches versus 12 inches or somewhere in between and we start talking about impacts because at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.

TIMING:
While the timing may be similar to last weekend’s there are some slight differences there as well. The snow last weekend didn’t start until after midnight and it lasted for most of the day Saturday but this storm is shifting that earlier. We will likely see snow arriving by sunset for our northern and western hometowns after that arriving into the metro area by 7-8pm followed by widespread snow by 9-10pm. The good news? Snow likely comes to an end by 7-8am Saturday morning giving crews plenty of time to clear snow for the rest of the day.

IMPACTS:
Throwing around numerical forecasts can be helpful at times but often times it just causes more frustration and confusion than it’s worth. Winter weather is a beast that is constantly evolving. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. You don’t start off a marathon running in an all out sprint, you take it slow and change your game plan as you go along as needed. That’s what winter weather is like. The forecast even within a 24 hour period can change dramatically as a system develops. This is why it is much more productive to talk about impacts versus totals. 

One of the biggest differences from last weekend to this one? The wind. Winds will be gusting close to 30 miles per hour and that is going to create blowing and drifting snow. Blowing snow occurs when winds are kicking snow at least 8 feet in the air creating very low visibility and drifting snow creates problems as snow is blown onto the roadways keeping them from being clear and allowing snow to cover roads quickly. This means overnight travel and early travel Saturday will be very, very difficult. If you do not need to be on the roads then don’t be.

This snow will also not be as wet & heavy as last week and that will make it easier to clear your driveway and sidewalks. The fluffy snow also makes it easier to drive on as you get better traction but it is still not great so drive extra slow when you do have to be out. 

Still wanting numbers? Okay, you win. 

AMOUNT:

We will likely see around 6 inches in the metro area which is similar to last weekend’s snow but the highest totals will be north of I-80 instead of south like last week. Isolated areas of up to 7 or 8 inches is possible and north of Highway 30 we will likely see some spots with localized 9-10 inches. 

Like I said earlier, this forecast is EVOLVING. The models have not agreed all week long and they still don’t completely agree. That means things could swing in either direction but we will know more and more as the system gets closer. Check back often online and on-air as we watch this system closely over the next 24 hours.

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