The "Snow" Word.


Sunday, December 5th 2010, 5:57 pm
By: News On 6


My colleague, Nick Bender, recently posted an excellent blog on snow, or more precisely, the perception that most have when that particular 4-letter word is mentioned in a local weather broadcast. It seems that anytime we mention the word, it conjures up visions of school closings and travel problems among other things.  So, at the risk of firing up someone's imagination, I will mention the ‘snow' word once again. After all, as someone told me at Church one time, if it is going to be this cold it might as well snow.

Now that I have broached the subject, let me put it in the proper context. We have cold air in place at the surface and that air is also very dry through quite a depth of the atmosphere. At the jet stream level, there is sufficient moisture for the mix of clouds and sun we have had today and will have again tomorrow, but those are the very high cirrus-type clouds. This moisture is coming our way from a system currently located off the west coast and this particular system will be moving across the mountains Monday and across our state on Tuesday. Most of that moisture will be wrung out in the passage over the mountains and any additional moisture from the Gulf of Mexico is effectively cut off. Nonetheless, the system appears to have sufficient strength to provide more cloudiness and perhaps even wring out some light snow or flurries by late Tuesday or Tuesday night.

However, given how dry the air is below this moisture layer aloft, most if not all of what falls will likely evaporate or at least very little will actually reach the surface. Thus, the reference to only flurries and no accumulation. Another result is that the evaporative cooling in the sub-cloud layer will act to keep us quite chilly right on through Tuesday night. In other words, barring any major surprises, this is nothing to get excited about.

This will be followed by a brief moderating trend that will extend into the early part of the weekend before another strong cold front and significant cool-down arrives by late Saturday or Sunday. This will keep us quite chilly through the early part of the following week, but at present our precipitation chances appear to be in the slim to none category.

As always, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot