Snowstorm May Travel South Before Heading Back East, Bringing Potential of Snow to Unlikely Places

Posted: January 13, 2022 11:53 am

While the big weather story for the last few days in the Midwest and Northeast has been the frigid air, it will be the snow that will have people talking to close out the week.

More Wintry Precipitation in Store as Far as the Southeast

A storm that is now setting up in Saskatchewan is forecast to drop down to the Southeast in the coming days, bringing a whole host of winter precipitation to the Upper Plains and Midwest later this week. This precipitation will move farther to the south and east by the weekend, affecting a large swath of the nation.

The cold temperatures that gripped the Upper Plains, Midwest, and Northeast to start the week will start to ease up for a bit on Wednesday. However, a new blast of cold air will make its presence known later in the week, preceding the precipitation coming down from Canada. Temperatures will be back in the single digits by Friday throughout the northern tier of New England.

Temperatures will be more moderate on the southern side of the jet stream with the mercury rising into the 40s through the central Plains states. This contrast in temperatures will fuel the storm as it arrives, encouraging it to grow in size and intensity.

Saskatchewan Screamer

Rather than the typical Alberta clipper that distinguishes the normal weather pattern for this time of year, this particular storm is what experts refer to as a Saskatchewan screamer. This type of storm gets its name from its origination in the Canadian province of Saskatchewan. While storms that originate in Alberta tend to move at a faster clip with a limited amount of moisture, those coming from Saskatchewan can pack a bigger punch when it comes to precipitation.

Path of the Screamer

As the jet stream dips farther to the south, it will clear the way for the storm to affect more of the nation. The system will first affect the northern Plains beginning on Thursday evening and into Friday. The storm is forecast to travel from the north to south over the Plains and through the Mississippi Valley as the week ends, setting up a potentially messy weekend.

A heavy band of snow will stretch from the eastern Dakotas and into Minnesota before falling to the south and dropping significant accumulations in Missouri and possibly into northern Arkansas. After dropping to the south, the system will begin to track to the east.

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The heaviest snow will be located in the eastern and northern edges of the system. Cities such as Fargo, North Dakota and Minneapolis will see the first of the flakes. The snow will begin to move into Des Moines, Omaha, St. Louis, and Kansas City later in the day and night on Friday. People living in this region should be prepared for adverse travel conditions.

This system could bring the first accumulating snowfall to the city of St. Louis. The Arch City has been devoid of measurable snowfall this season despite averaging about 17 inches of accumulation in a normal year.

It is too early to predict what the accumulation will look like in areas such as Chicago and Indianapolis. These areas may escape with merely a light dusting depending on the track of the system as it moves to the east.

There is also the possibility that cities as far south as Nashville and Lexington pick up a few more inches in addition to what they saw with last week’s major snow maker.

Icy Mix Also a Possibility by Saturday

Where the storm tracks will also determine if an icy mix develops across the northern portion of the Gulf Coast region. Meteorologists are already cautioning that the northern tier of Mississippi, Alabama, and Georgia may see an icy mix on Saturday. This ice could stretch into parts of the Carolinas and into Virginia.

The greatest chance of this icy mess will happen on Saturday night and into Sunday. Cities such as Atlanta, Charlotte, and Richmond may be under the gun for this wintry precipitation in their backyard by Sunday morning.

It has been about four years since Atlanta has measured significant snowfall. This system may pull them out of this snow drought.

If the system slows down through the course of the weekend, there is a decent chance that it could intensify even further, giving it the strength to bring in more moisture to its circle. This could translate to significant snowfall for parts of northern Georgia and up into the Carolinas and Virginia.

Potential Tracks of the Storm

Weather experts are warning that there is also the possibility that this storm may keep chugging along at a steady pace and turn to the north along the mid-Atlantic coast. Should that happen, it could bring the possibility of a major storm in place for the mid-Atlantic and New England starting late Sunday and continuing into Monday. There is also the chance that the storm simply continues its eastward trajectory and moves out to sea, sparing the Northeast a chance of a major weather maker to start the week.