29. After a mild weekend ahead, a possible icy Monday looms.
The models have been vacillating on details, but are consistent enough that everyone's confidence is gradually increasing as the event draws closer. I took this surface analysis map (to the right) from the GFS model (link) initialization on 3 Feb. On top of the map I drew in the path of the low pressure system in light purple with some location/dates for reference.
On 3 Feb the system was far offshore of California. Tonight (5 Feb) the system is spinning over the Sierra Nevada along the Nevada/California border.
By Saturday (7 Feb) the system will trek down the California coast and move into the Four Corner region. From the southern Rockies it will make a bee-line for the Upper Mississippi River Valley on Monday (9 Feb) and Tuesday.
The entire forecast hinges on exactly what the temperature will be. A few degrees one way will produce all rain, while a few degrees the other way will cause the precipitation to be more like snow. Of course, right in the middle would bring freezing rain.
At the moment, freezing rain is the most likely outcome for the northern half of Wisconsin, the UP of Michigan and northern Minnesota.
This part of the forecast is what will likely change a bit between now and Monday evening. The models will continue to track this storm and everyone is watching the models. Only as we get closer to the event will we know precisely what to expect.
The morale of my story is this: there will be a system moving our way the beginning of this next week. Someone will likely see quite a bit of freezing rain.
Just for the fun of it I clipped out the NWS point forecast for my location (to the right).
Some light precipitation is possible on Saturday, but really isn't a big deal.
The interesting part of the forecast (beside the abnormally warm temperatures for February) is that "Freezing Rain Likely" is slated for Monday night.
Since 16 November, only snow has fallen at my location... 60.4 inches so far. This will be the first time this winter that I'm facing the threat of something besides snow.