Very few changes this morning, as cold air looks to take over the state. We still have some minor moisture holding over the northern half of the state, but we think snows will be lighter and have less coverage than our look yesterday. Temps will hold near the mid-30s this afternoon from I-70 northward, and generally, you have to go north of US 6 to see temps struggle to hit the freezing mark. This means we can’t rule out some sloppy wet snowflakes from US 24 northward, and they may trigger a coating to an inch at most. The exception will be near Lake Michigan because we do think there can be some lake enhancement through the day. Farther south, between US 24 and I-70, we can’t rule out spits, sprinkles or flurries from time to time today, but action will be limited and minor. South of I-70, clouds will be the biggest story of the day, and even those can break up, particularly this afternoon.
Cold air continues to intensify tomorrow, and we likely reach our peak of cold tomorrow afternoon, where a large part of the state struggles to hit freezing. We do expect some sun, though, and winds will turn to the southwest for Thursday. This will allow temps to moderate again for the last part of the week. Temps Thursday will be near normal, and then on Friday temps go above normal thanks to sunshine and that strong south flow. Now, winds at 15-30 mph will mean we still feel a pretty good chill, though, even though actual air temps may run toward the lower to middle 40s again. This surge and a strong wind set up will be in advance of our next system, which still looks strong.
Rains kick off Friday night and we are making no serious changes to our forecast. The best rains may hold off until later Saturday afternoon and linger into Sunday, a delay of 12 hours or so, but still, the overall pattern remains the same. We are putting rain totals still at .25”-1” with 90% coverage. The thing to watch with this event will be the speed at which rains exit. Up north, we see things ending rather quickly, and sharply. In the south and southeast, these rains may linger through the entire day Sunday. If that happens, we may have to raise the upper end of the forecast range for rains across the state. Right now, we are leaving them alone. Cold air does not catch the precipitation, though, up north. That means we just get cold with no snow potential to finish the weekend and start next week, which is an improvement.
We still won’t rule out some lake effect snow for next Monday (29th) over north central and northeast Indiana, with minor accumulation possible, but the flow and moisture look less impressive this time around, so we are not going to talk this up a great deal at this point. And, the rest of the state should see clouds give way to sun, and the strong NW winds will keep temperatures sub-freezing statewide. Cold air holds through next Tuesday.
We finish the 10 day period with the wind shifting back to the SW for midweek next week, which will allow temps to moderate some for Wednesday, the 31st. We do not expect a big move above normal, but a return to normal for Wednesday is likely. A clipper races through next Thursday, and brings a quick burst of snow, along with colder air.
The extended period brings another strong system up from the SW out of the central plains for the 3rd and early the 4th. This system has liquid precipitation potential up to 1.25” and coverage at 100% of the region. This system may have some rain to start, but its current projected track would signal that we need to be on the lookout for some significant snow as well. Time will tell. Behind that event, we put together several dry days but could see another strong system for the 6th into the 7th, bringing the potential for snow. This would be the start of a potentially very active month of February