Sunday, February 7, 2010

Chicago Blizzard Tuesday?? (2.9.2010)

    The weather geek in me always peaks whenever I see a significant weather event coming together. Tuesday's (2.9.2010) potential snow storm in Chicago is no exception. As it looks now two low pressure systems (one heading south southeast from Manitoba, Canada and one from the southwest US) are to merge somewhere over north central Missouri some time Monday evening (2.8.2010). The exact track of this storm is not written in stone, but given the right scenario (i.e. the storm tracks through southern Illinois, north Kentucky) Chicago has the potential to receive 6 to 10 inches of snow. To potentially add insult to injury, lake effect may play a part in this storm as well. As the slow-moving mesocyclone shifts east a strong east, northeast wind will develop. With the cold wind howling over the relatively-speaking mild, 34-degree Lake Michigan waters heavy snow squalls could form buffeting Lake, Cook, DuPage and even McHenry counties with even more snow (at this point in time the National Weather Service is predicting 8 to 12 inches in the aforementioned counties.) 
    From what I have witnessed over the past 33 years (yes, I have been a geek this long) this merging of two mesocyclones (aka low pressure systems) to form one blockbuster storm is a rare occurrence. Even more amazing is how the massive blizzard that recently nailed the central Appalachians two days ago is so similar to what is about to occur here in the Midwest! This weather scenario too was a culmination of two mesocyclones merging which were further intensified by strong jet streaks (areas of very strong wind within a given jetstream). On the edges of these jet streaks are areas of intense lift. Within a given winter storm these jet streaks create incredible snow amounts due to intense, vertical lift (Dulles International Airport's very recent record of 32.4 inches of snow over a two day period! This massive amount of snow shattered their January 7, 8, 1996 two-day snow record total by 9.2 inches!!).
    If you are reading this, live in Chicago, or anywhere near Chicago (Winter Storm Watches are popping up more and more all over the Midwest, Ohio Valley, Pennsylvania, Maryland [yes, potentially Washington D.C. again]) please keep abreast of what is inevitable - A BIG ONE!!
Take care everyone,