Icy Mix Wintry Event Possible Shortly After Christmas

December 18th, 2012 at 11:46 pm by under Chad's WLFI Weather Blog


It appears a wintry event may bring sleet, freezing rain & snow to the area shortly after Christmas.  This would most likely occur the day after Christmas.  Given the active storm track, moisture-loaded subtropical jet, strong polar jet embedded with jet streaks upstream , their area of merger to our southwest & the cold surface high bleeding in dry, cold air into our region, 1-2 wintry events certainly look possible December 26-December 31.

Exact details are vague, but my confidence is reasonably high on some sort of winter weather event.  However, I do not know how much accumulation of sleet, freezing &/or snow will occur yet.  Certainly, the amount of moisture & dynamics of the system look pretty impressive enough for substantial amounts.  However, my current thinking is that the significant snowfall will occur just northwest of our area with a good percentage of this being icy precipitation in the form of sleet & freezing rain.


The European model is most aggressive on a significant winter weather event on the 26th in the form of an “Inside Runner” system of heavy snowfall here.  GFS has a system on Christmas itself & an “Inside Runner” just east of us with heavy snowfall December 26-27.  NOGAPS brings significant snow to the area Christmas Day with “Inside Runner” type system.  Japanese model (JMA) has low developing on the Gulf Coast of Texas, similar to NOGAPS, GFS & European with an “Inside Runner” type set-up for substantial snowfall.

All said, per analog data, I like more of a mix AFTER Christmas & don’t really like models going with this heavy snow track.  This is because of high pressure entrenched to the southeast, which will tend to force system more to the northwest.  I also currently do not like an earlier track for right on Christmas.

Stay tuned………….much could change with precipitation type, timing & the strength of the system.   This will be monitored over the next week.


7 Responses to “Icy Mix Wintry Event Possible Shortly After Christmas”

  1. Chad Alenduff says:

    Hey Chad E.,

    I was watching the BAM People this evening online and they were saying the same thing. They showed the European model, and it suggest a very tight low pressure gradient over the region and with the other ingredients that were being shown, it is suggesting that the event the day after Christmas could possibly bring very blizzard-like conditions. That, of course, would create a major problem. They are saying they are relying on the European Model more now, because it hit the nail pretty much exactly on the head with this latest system and also the GFS has been wanting to bring snow and extreme cold in here for weeks, and of course we all know that hasn’t happened, as it has been awfully warm around here. Said top that the European Model suggested that the storm system affecting this part of the country now was going to form about this time of the week, and it was showing up on the European Models as such around last Thursday or Friday, and it pretty much has followed that exact track.

    They think also that this storm will really change the dynamics, as the PFA or something around that has changed and become very positive with this latest system, and that will be ushering the record cold air they have been seeing up in Canada in here with this latest storm starting Thursday when the major cool down is supposed to take place, and it will be sticking around a while. Because of that, models and all tend to favor quite a bit of snow development. Also, some of the models are wanting to bring the Arctic Isolation that is up in West Central Canada in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Alberta in here, and if that is the case, temps will become very cold and likely we will see highs only in the teens. That would be a hard dose of reality setting in and pretty much slapping us in the face with brutally cold air after we have encountered a very warm December so far. Warmer then average. Nonetheless, this is something to keep an eye on, as you said, and I know I will be watching it as well.

    Lastly, I am not sure if this was emphasized in your previous posts, but the wind that is accompanying this latest system coming in Thursday and Friday is very ferocious: Winds could be 40-50 mph sustained with over 60 mph gusts. These kind of gusts are the kind that accompany Severe Thunderstorms, and thus are very capable of causing some damage to weak structures, tree branches, and all, as well as the potential for widespread power outages, as the power lines will not be able to handle the kind of stress the wind will be applying to them for such a long duration as is predicted. Because of the wind, people need to bring in or tie down any loose objects if they have not brought them in already, just in case the winds would get out of control like this. Because of this as well, wind chills on Friday Morning will likely make it feel like it is in the single digits. Also, depending on how much moisture accompanies this storm system, there will be some pretty good flash freezing which will then have the potential to cause the formation of “black ice”, so please be careful on Friday Morning going to where you need to go people!

    Also suggest that because of what the forecast models keep putting out for this latest storm, if anybody here is going anywhere in this part of the country, especially up in Illinois into Wisconsin and Michigan, it is urged that you use extreme caution and maybe leave a little earlier then you originally planned. Also, this weather is looking more and more like it could dump 4-6″ of snow potentially on the Chicago area, which is a major commercial aviation hub in this part of the country. Due to that fact, if you are leaving for the holidays and flying out of Chicago O’Hare or Chicago Midway Airports Thursday or Friday, I highly suggest that you contact your airline, because with this kind of a system, especially with as strong of winds that are being predicted that will accompany it, planes are likely going to be grounded and flights are going to likely be cancelled. It may even temporarily close Midway or O’Hare. In other words, air travel out of the two major Chicago Airports is going to likely be a complete Nightmare Thursday and Friday, so contact your airline! Better to be safe and do it before you get up there, then to be sorry and not find out until you are up there after driving 2-2.5 hours and end up stranded with hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of other passengers at the airport because of the weather!

  2. Chad Alenduff says:

    Mainly making the travel suggestion especially for people who are flying to contact your airline if you are flying out of Midway or O’Hare, because it is a lot better to call ahead and contact your airline and find out your flight and all is cancelled and your plans have to change, and thus you are able to stay at home and sleep in your own nice, warm bed, then it would be to find all those things out after you travel 2-2.5 hours to Chicago to the airport and end up having to instead share the terminal with thousands, if not millions, of passengers and having to sleep on chairs, benches, cots, or even air mattresses or nothing at all on the cold floor of the airport terminal because all of the hotel rooms are full. Just saying and I know I would prefer to sleep in my own bed at home then to do that…..just my preference :p ;) lol

  3. Chad Alenduff says:

    Sleeping in the terminal is very unpleasant…lol

  4. Ryan H says:

    Good potential still……

  5. Josh says:

    The 12z model for after Christmas looks impresive

  6. CHEBON says:

    Josh, what is the 12z model showing and how can a person look at it?


  7. Josh says:

    It’s showing a good size storm for right around Christmas. I use coolwx models and ready forcast models. U can google them and get to them like that

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