Sunday January 30, 2022 2:42pm EST

Arctic air and periodic light to moderate snow systems that have plagued the region for the last 10 days will end as a warm up greets the area. Temperatures jumping into the 50s and rain will melt the snow and gunk off the road and ground for most areas. So all will be quiet and relaxed, right?  Absolutely not.

The pattern we are in is one that is quite volatile. The Blizzard Nor’easter that ripped through places from New England into the Northeast and the eastern townships of Canada with feet of snow and 80-plus mile per hour winds, will disrupt the Arctic regime for a couple of days. That is the bad (good) news, depending on your point of view. The mid and upper levels are conducive for Siberian, cross polar flow, and when you interrupt the predominant weather pattern, weather often turns chaotic, and potentially violent.  Hence, the Nor’easter.

Heavy Winter Precipitation will create widespread travel issues on Wednesday and Thursday across the Ohio Valley and portions of the Southern Plains with significant ice accumulation as the heaviest snowfall is expected across parts of northern Illinois and Indiana.
So what is going to happen?  As the deep, low pressure exits eastern Canada on Sunday, a broad, southerly flow will develop across the Plains and East. A rapid warm up will occur rooting out the Arctic air.

The major problem; however, is the mean flow in the mid and upper levels is that of bitter, Arctic air so a very intense airmass battle will begin to take shape by the middle of the week, breeding a very intense low pressure across the southern Plains.

As Arctic air begins to move southeast and bumps up against the rapid warm surge, heavy precipitation and wind will break out. I believe two waves will accompany this cold front and full latitude trough, giving rise to a myriad of weather issues.

The first wave with the cold front will deliver the shot of warmer temperatures and modest rainfall. As the cold air begins to overtake the warm air, I think a second wave will develop along the Gulf Coast somewhere between Houston and New Orleans on Wednesday. It is this wave that can spell all kinds of trouble.

As the Arctic air whips down from Canada and collides with the trough, moisture being lifted over this boundary will lead to a large shield of heavy precipitation to break out. This is where track of the low becomes vital.

Right now, the track appears to be from around Houston into Mississippi/Alabama up into the Tennessee and Ohio Valley. The questions of how strong the low will be, where the placement of the low will set up, and the other atmospheric effects will be the determining factor between flooding rain, significant icing, and possibly record level snowfall, not to mention wind.

Specifics are not yet attainable, but the probability of a significant, potentially major, winter storm is high. Being in the Ohio Valley, we will once again lie right in the dissection path. Places South and East could experience flooding rainfall and even severe thunderstorms. The battle zone between low level warmth and growing Arctic air rushing in could see significant icing. Places firmly in the cold air could see significant snowfall that could reach the foot criteria. A distance of 50 miles could be the difference between a ton of wet, a ton of white, and a ton of ice.

We will be glued to this storm and be updating with the latest information to keep you aware of the situation.

☀️ Meteorologist Josh Ketchen
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