Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Hastings, NE

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FXUS63 KGID 021147
AFDGID

AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE HASTINGS NE
547 AM CST TUE FEB 2 2016

.SHORT TERM...(TODAY AND TONIGHT)
ISSUED AT 502 AM CST TUE FEB 2 2016

WELL HERE IT IS...THE LONG-AWAITED WINTER STORM THAT HAS BEEN ON
THE FORECAST "RADAR" FOR OVER A WEEK NOW. ALL THINGS
CONSIDERED...EXPECTATIONS FOR MOST OF THE CWA SEEM TO WORKING OUT
FAIRLY WELL SO FAR...AS WE ARE NOW ENTERING THE ROUGHLY 6-HOUR
"WINDOW OF HEAVIEST SNOWFALL" THAT IS EXPECTED TO OCCUR THROUGH
ROUGHLY 10 AM (ESPECIALLY IN NEB ZONES). OF COURSE...AREAS OF
LIGHT TO MODERATE SNOW WILL CERTAINLY CONTINUE BEYOND THAT WELL
INTO THIS EVENING...BUT THE MAJORITY OF STORM-TOTAL ACCUMULATION
FOR MOST PLACES WILL LIKELY OCCUR DURING THESE NEXT 6 HOURS OR
SO...SQUARELY CENTERED ON THE MORNING COMMUTE TIME FRAME. EVEN AS
SNOW LIGHTENS UP THOUGH...NORTH WINDS WILL REMAIN QUITE STRONG
THROUGH THE MAJORITY OF THESE NEXT 24 HOURS...LIKELY KEEPING AT
LEAST LIMITED BLOWING/DRIFTING ISSUES PERSISTING WELL INTO TONIGHT
EVEN AFTER FALLING SNOW ENDS.

AS FOR THE HERE-AND-NOW AS OF 10Z/4AM...THE LATEST REGIONAL RADAR
MOSAIC SHOWS AN INCREASINGLY-ORGANIZED SWATH OF PRIMARILY SNOW
GRADUALLY SHIFTING NORTHWARD FROM THE KS/NEB BORDER COUNTIES. AS
WAS EXPECTED AS A POSSIBILITY OVER THE PAST FEW DAYS...THE EXTREME
SOUTHEAST CWA (NAMELY MITCHELL COUNTY KS) HUNG ONTO RAIN AS THE
DOMINANT PRECIP TYPE LONGER THAN ANY OTHER PORTION OF THE
CWA...BUT SHOULD NOW BE TRANSITIONING TO SNOW IF IT HASN`T
ALREADY. OF COURSE...THE COMBO OF THIS SLOW CHANGE-OVER AND ALSO
A RAPIDLY APPROACHING DRY SLOT STILL APPEARS TO REALLY CUT DOWN ON
SNOW TOTALS IN THIS AREA...BUT MORE ON THAT LATER. AS FOR THE BIG
PICTURE OF THE MID-UPPER LEVELS...WATER VAPOR IMAGERY AND SHORT
TERM MODEL DATA CLEARLY SHOW THE POWERHOUSE...CLOSED MID LEVEL LOW
CHURNING INTO SOUTHWEST KS...WITH CONSIDERABLE UPPER DIFFLUENCE IN
THE EXIT REGION OF A 130+KT UPPER LEVEL JET POKING NORTHEASTWARD
FROM OK RESULTING IN WIDESPREAD LARGE-SCALE LIFT/PRECIP OVER THE
LOCAL AREA. ALSO SUSPECTED AS A POSSIBILITY THE PAST FEW DAYS...A
FEW LIGHTNING STRIKES DID IN FACT OCCUR IN THE MITCHELL COUNTY KS
AREA...AS THE MAIN AREA OF WEAK THUNDERSTORM ACTIVITY REMAINED A
FEW COUNTIES EAST OF THE CWA. AT THE SURFACE...A 994 MILLIBAR LOW
IS CENTERED OVER SOUTH CENTRAL KS...WITH STEADY PRESSURE FALLS
RESULTING IN A CONSIDERABLE INCREASE IN NORTHEAST WINDS ACROSS THE
CWA...WITH WIDESPREAD SUSTAINED SPEEDS 25-35 MPH AND GUSTS AS HIGH
AS 40-50 MPH.

HERE ARE A FEW QUICK COMMENTS ON WHAT WE KNOW AND WHAT WE HAVE
QUESTIONS ABOUT/CAVEATS:

WHAT WE KNOW/HIGHER-CONFIDENCE:

1) AN IMPACTFUL WINTER STORM WITH WIDESPREAD MODERATE TO HEAVY
SNOW AND VISIBILITY UNDER 1 MILE AND AT LEAST HIT-AND-MISS
BLIZZARD CONDITIONS WITH 1/4 MILE OR LESS VISIBILITY IS ENTERING
ITS PEAK INTENSITY PHASE ACROSS THE CWA. HAVE DECIDED TO LEAVE ALL
INHERITED BLIZZARD/WINTER STORM HEADLINES INTACT...ALTHOUGH AS
MENTIONED HERE LAST NIGHT...DON`T GET TOO CAUGHT UP IN THE
TECHNICAL BLIZZARD CRITERIA...AS EVEN SOME OF THE WINTER STORM
WARNED COUNTIES IN THE SOUTH WILL MOST CERTAINLY HAVE AT LEAST
BRIEF BLIZZARD CONDITIONS. CERTAINLY THE "WEAKEST" COUNTY IN THE
WINTER STORM WARNING APPEARS TO BE MITCHELL COUNTY...BUT WILL LET
THINGS RIDE FOR NOW AND RE-ASSESS LATER. AS FOR THE END TIME OF
THE HEADLINES AT MIDNIGHT...WILL ALSO LET THIS RIDE FOR NOW...BUT
IF ANYTHING SUSPECT LATER SHIFTS WILL EITHER CONSIDER CANCELLING A
BIT EARLY OR POSSIBLY CONVERTING SOME COUNTIES TO A BLOWING SNOW
ADVISORY.

2) FOR MOST OF THE CWA...STRONG WINDS WILL CONTINUE TO BE A MAJOR
ISSUE NOT ONLY THROUGH THE DAY BUT ALSO WELL INTO TONIGHT...AS
UNFORTUNATELY SPEEDS NO LONGER LOOK TO DROP OFF QUITE AS FAST AS
PREVIOUSLY EXPECTED. EVEN IF SNOWFALL TOTALS FALL A BIT SHORT IN
SOME PLACES...VISIBILITY WILL BE HAMPERED CONSIDERABLY...AND AT
LEAST SPORADIC POWER OUTAGES COULD CONTINUE.

3) WE KNOW THAT THE OVERALL-HEAVIEST SNOW SHOULD FALL DURING THESE
NEXT 6 HOURS OR SO...WITH INTENSITY/ACCUMULATION RATES DROPPING
OFF THIS AFTERNOON AND THEN WINDING DOWN TO VERY LITTLE IF ANY
ACCUMULATION AFTER DARK THIS EVENING...AND EVEN THEN MAINLY WITHIN
THE EASTERN HALF OF THE CWA.

WHAT WE DON`T NECESSARILY KNOW/POSSIBLE FORECAST WEAKNESSES:

1) SNOW TOTALS. OBVIOUSLY THIS IS THE NUMBER 1 THING ON
EVERYBODY`S MIND. BASED ON ONLY LIMITED GROUND-TRUTH SO FAR...WE
BELIEVE THAT AMOUNTS CURRENTLY RANGE FROM NEXT TO NOTHING IN THE
EXTREME SOUTHEAST...NO MORE THAN 1-2" IN THE FAR EASTERN/NORTHERN
CWA...3-5" IN CENTRAL AREAS INCLUDING THE TRI-CITIES AND
NOTICEABLY HIGHER TOTALS IN THE 7-9" RANGE IN FAR WESTERN COUNTIES
SUCH AS FURNAS/GOSPER/DAWSON. GIVEN THE INTENSIFYING SWATH OF
PRECIP PUSHING NORTHWARD INTO NEB...ACCUMULATIONS WILL CONTINUE TO
ADD UP ESPECIALLY OVER THESE NEXT SEVERAL HOURS. GOING FORWARD AND
CONSIDERING ONLY NEW SNOW ANTICIPATED BETWEEN 6 AM AND THE END OF
THE EVENT...WE ARE AIMING FOR AN ADDITIONAL 3-6 INCHES ACROSS MOST
OF THE CWA...BUT AS LITTLE AS 1-2" AT MOST IN THE EXTREME
SOUTHEAST...AND POSSIBLY AS MUCH AS 8-10" IN COUNTIES NORTH OF
INTERSTATE 80. THE NET RESULT IS OFFICIAL STORM-TOTAL FORECASTS
CALLING FOR 9-15" ACROSS MOST OF THE CWA...BUT MUCH-LOWER AMOUNTS
OF NO MORE THAN 2-3" IN THE FAR SOUTHEAST (MITCHELL COUNTY AREA).
GUT FEELING IS THAT THIS FORECAST MAY END UP A FEW INCHES
OVERDONE FOR MOST OF THE CWA...BUT DON`T WANT TO GIVE UP ON THE
FORECASTED TOTALS TOO SOON WITH PLENTY OF PRECIP YET TO FALL
WITHIN THE DEVELOPING DEFORMATION ZONE.

2) SNOW ACCUMULATION EFFICIENCY. POSSIBLY ONE THING THAT COULD BE
HOLDING DOWN TOTALS A BIT IS SOME SLIGHT MELTING/COMPACTION OF
THIS RATHER WET SNOW. TEMPS ACROSS THE CWA ARE NOT EXACTLY IDEAL
FOR HUGE ACCUMULATION RATES WITH TEMPS RIGHT AROUND 32/FREEZING.

3) WIDESPREAD BLIZZARD CONDITIONS? ALTHOUGH A FEW AUTOMATED SITES
HAVE CONFIRMED OCCASIONAL 1/4 MILE VISIBILITY...THE WETTER NATURE
OF THIS SNOW IS LIKELY NOT BLOWING AROUND/DRIFTING QUITE AS MUCH
AS A DRIER SNOW WOULD...SO ALTHOUGH CONDITIONS HAVE BEEN/WILL BE
VERY POOR...IT LIKELY COULD BE WORSE. NO MATTER...WILL MOST
CERTAINLY KEEP THE BLIZZARD WARNING GOING.

4) THE DRY SLOT MOVING INTO THE SOUTH: RADAR TRENDS SUPPORT MODEL
DEPICTION OF THE LARGE CENTRAL KS MID LEVEL DRY SLOT POKING UP
INTO MAINLY OSBORNE/MITCHELL AND JEWELL COUNTIES THIS
MORNING...AND QUITE POSSIBLY DIMINISHING OR SHUTTING DOWN PRECIP
FOR SEVERAL HOURS BEFORE ADDITIONAL...MAINLY LIGHT SNOW WRAPS BACK
IN FROM THE NORTHWEST AROUND MID-DAY INTO THE AFTERNOON. THIS AREA
WAS ALREADY EXPECTED TO RECEIVE NOTICEABLY LOWER SNOW TOTALS THAN
COUNTIES FARTHER NORTH...BUT WE MAY STILL BE OVERDONE. GIVEN THE
VERY WINDY CONDITIONS IN THIS AREA THOUGH (ESPECIALLY LATER TODAY)
WILL LET WARNING HEADLINES RUN FOR NOW.

WITH THE MAIN POINTS COVERED...HERE IS A BRIEF OVERVIEW OF THE
LARGE-SCALE SITUATION OVER THESE NEXT 24 HOURS:

THIS MORNING: BY MID-DAY...THE NEARLY VERTICALLY-STACKED MID LEVEL
AND SURFACE LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM WILL MOVE INTO NORTH CENTRAL
KANSAS (CENTERED NEAR MITCHELL COUNTY). AS THIS OCCURS...WINDS
WILL REMAIN STRONG AND SLOWLY BECOME MORE NORTHERLY THAN
NORTHEASTERLY. RIGHT NEAR THE LOW...THE AFOREMENTIONED DRY SLOT
WILL BRING A LULL IN PRECIP AND A TEMPORARY DECREASE IN WINDS.
HOWEVER...FOR MOST OF THE CWA...WIDESPREAD MODERATE TO HEAVY SNOW
WILL PERSIST.

THIS AFTERNOON: THE PARENT SYSTEM REACHES THE NEB/IA BORDER BY
DAY`S END. WHILE SNOWFALL SHOULD GRADUALLY DIMINISH ACROSS THE
CWA...NORTH WINDS WILL REMAIN QUITE STRONG WITH GUSTS UP TO AROUND
45 MPH.

THIS EVENING (AFTER SUNSET BUT BEFORE MIDNIGHT): ALTHOUGH
ADDITIONAL SNOW ACCUMULATION SHOULD RANGE FROM ONLY DUSTING UP TO
MAYBE AROUND ONE-HALF INCH (MAINLY IN THE EASTERN CWA)...THINGS
WILL REALLY START WINDING DOWN AS THE MID LEVEL LOW LIFTS TO THE
IA/MN BORDER AREA. FORTUNATELY...OUR WINDS WILL BEGIN A VERY SLOW
DECREASE...BUT EVEN AT MIDNIGHT...SUSTAINED SPEEDS OF AT LEAST
20-25 MPH WILL REMAIN COMMON.

POST-MIDNIGHT: MAYBE A LINGERING ROGUE FLURRY IN THE FAR
EASTERN/NORTHERN CWA...BUT ANY POTENTIAL FOR MEASURABLE SNOW IS
LONG-OVER AS THE PARENT LOW TRACKS INTO WI. ALTHOUGH WINDS WILL
NOT DROP OFF QUITE AS MUCH AS PREVIOUSLY THOUGHT...SUSTAINED SPEEDS
BY DAYBREAK WILL AT LEAST BE EASED DOWN INTO THE 10-20 MPH RANGE.

.LONG TERM...(WEDNESDAY THROUGH MONDAY)
ISSUED AT 501 AM CST TUE FEB 2 2016

SNOW WILL HAVE COME TO AN END BY THE START OF THE EXTENDED ON
WEDNESDAY AS THE WINTER STORM SYSTEM LIFTS INTO THE GREAT LAKES
REGION. THE MAIN CONCERN FOR WEDNESDAY IS WHEN THE GUSTY NORTH WIND
SPEEDS WILL SUBSIDE IN ORDER TO AID IN SNOW CLEANUP EFFORTS.
ALTHOUGH NOT AS STRONG AS ON TUESDAY OR TUESDAY NIGHT...WIND SPEEDS
OF 15 TO 25 MPH ARE STILL EXPECTED IN THE MORNING...WHICH WILL THEN
GRADUALLY SUBSIDE DURING THE AFTERNOON AS THE SURFACE GRADIENT
RELAXES WEST TO EAST. WINDS WILL BE NOTICEABLY LIGHTER WEDNESDAY
NIGHT (UNDER 10 MPH) BEHIND A SFC TROUGH.

THE EXTENDED PERIODS ARE LOOKING PREDOMINATELY DRY IN A GENERAL
NORTHWEST FLOW REGIME. TEMPS ARE EXPECTED TO AVERAGE BELOW SEASONAL
LEVELS FOR SEVERAL DAYS WITH MONDAY LOOKING LIKE THE COLDEST DAY OF
THE EXTENDED WITH THE POTENTIAL FOR AN ARCTIC AIRMASS TO ARRIVE.

&&

.AVIATION...(FOR THE 12Z KGRI/KEAR TAFS THROUGH 12Z WEDNESDAY MORNING)
ISSUED AT 547 AM CST TUE FEB 2 2016

BOTH KGRI/KEAR ARE IN THE MIDST OF THE FIRST MAJOR WINTER
STORM/BLIZZARD OF THE SEASON...WITH HEAVY SNOW AND STRONG WINDS
GENERALLY SUSTAINED AROUND 30-35KT AND GUSTING 40-45KT PRODUCING
VLIFR VISIBILITY AND MAINLY LIFR CEILING. THE WORST OF THESE
CONDITIONS WILL OCCUR DURING THESE FIRST 4 HOURS OR SO...AFTER
WHICH THE SNOWFALL INTENSITY SHOULD GRADUALLY DIMINISH BEFORE
COMPLETELY ENDING THIS EVENING...ALTHOUGH BLOWING SNOW WILL
CONTINUE.

TOOK A RATHER SIMPLISTIC APPROACH DESPITE THE COMPLEX
CONDITIONS...FOCUSING ON TRENDS FOR EACH 6 HOUR BLOCK OF THE
PERIOD. WINDS WILL REMAIN QUITE BREEZY EVEN TONIGHT BUT WILL
GRADUALLY SUBSIDE WITH GUSTS EASING BELOW 30KT LATE IN THE NIGHT.
THERE IS A CHANCE THAT THE LAST FEW HOURS LATE TONIGHT COULD BRING
A RETURN TO VFR CEILING...BUT FOR NOW WILL HANG ONTO MVFR CEILING
AND LET LATER SHIFTS TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT THIS TIME FRAME.

&&

.CLIMATE...
ISSUED AT 501 AM CST TUE FEB 2 2016

ALTHOUGH WE ARE FROM CERTAIN EXACTLY HOW STORM TOTAL SNOWFALL
WILL VERIFY (MEASURING WIND-DRIVEN SNOW CAN BE A VERY SUBJECTIVE
MATTER AFTER ALL)...WE STILL ANTICIPATE THE MAJORITY OF THE CWA TO
END UP SOMEWHERE IN THE 8-15" RANGE. SPECIFICALLY FOR OUR TWO
PRIMARY CLIMATE RECORDS SITES /GRAND ISLAND AND HASTINGS/
SOMETHING AROUND 12-14" COULD STILL OCCUR. SHOULD THIS
OCCUR...OBVIOUSLY THIS WOULD RANK UP THERE AMONG THE BIGGEST
2-DAY/48-HOUR-OR-LESS SNOW EVENTS OF THE LAST FEW DECADES. BELOW
ARE THE TOP-5 BIGGEST 2-DAY SNOWS AT HASTINGS IN THE LAST 20 YEARS
(SINCE 1996). UNFORTUNATELY...THE DATABASE FOR HISTORICAL GRAND
ISLAND SNOWFALL DATA IS EXPERIENCING A GLITCH THIS MORNING AND IS
UNAVAILABLE.

..HASTINGS (TOP-5 TWO-DAY SNOW EVENTS SINCE 1996)..
1) 20.3 INCHES...MARCH 19-20, 2006
2) 17.4 INCHES...OCT. 25-26, 1997
3) 14.6 INCHES...JAN. 4-5, 2005
4) 11.9 INCHES...JAN. 30-31, 2002
5) 11.0 INCHES...JAN. 9-10, 2011 AND FEB. 3-4, 2012

&&

.GID WATCHES/WARNINGS/ADVISORIES...
NE...BLIZZARD WARNING UNTIL MIDNIGHT CST TONIGHT FOR NEZ039>041-
     046>049-060>064-072>077-082>085.

     WINTER STORM WARNING UNTIL MIDNIGHT CST TONIGHT FOR NEZ086-087.

KS...BLIZZARD WARNING UNTIL MIDNIGHT CST TONIGHT FOR KSZ005-006.

     WINTER STORM WARNING UNTIL MIDNIGHT CST TONIGHT FOR KSZ007-
     017>019.

&&

$$

SHORT TERM...PFANNKUCH
LONG TERM...FAY
AVIATION...PFANNKUCH
CLIMATE...PFANNKUCH


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