Although bitter cold has been a part of our winter this year, we've really lacked in the snowfall department. A big reason for the blame lies on the fact that drier air has really eaten away at any snow potential that we have track through Mid-Missouri.
While no two winter events are the same, we can look at patterns and get a better understanding of what we can expect in a given year. While the more recent events this year have seen several thousand feet of dry air above the surface, this upcoming weekend's system will have more moisture with which to work. Model data continues to show Pacific moisture streaming into Mid-Missouri in the mid-levels of the atmosphere, which will give the region a better shot of seeing winter weather. While dry air is still present, it's only 5,000 feet deep and will quickly become saturated as we head into Saturday evening. The top down saturation of the atmosphere will happen a lot quicker than in the past events and will lead to a higher chance of snowfall accumulation across Mid-Missouri.
With wintry weather expecting to arrive into the region as early as Friday night, several counties will be under a winter weather advisory. This advisory is confined to counties along and south of Interstate 70, where low level moisture and a warmer air aloft will likely lead to the development of freezing drizzle. Any freezing drizzle we see through the night will be very spotty in nature and could cause some road impacts. With recent treatment of the roads and warm ground temperatures, overnight will likely remain unscathed. Many roads should remain ice-free, with the exception of bridges and overpasses, while ground temperatures in the middle to upper 30s will keep most freezing drizzle from accumulating. Any freezing drizzle we see through the overnight hours will likely amount to a glaze of ice. Areas north of Interstate 70 will remain dry through most of the night, with the exception of a few flurries in northern counties.
Although the winter weather advisory will expire by Saturday morning, there is a huge possibility that another one will be issued into the evening hours Saturday. Saturday morning into the afternoon hours will remain fairly quiet and frigid, with the occasional spotty freezing drizzle. Any plans you have this weekend that require you on the roadways will best be done into the afternoon hours Saturday. As the evening approaching, the main system begins to track into Mid-Missouri and will bring with it a band of snow showers and freezing rain.
From Saturday evening until Sunday morning, snow and ice will track through Mid-Missouri. Counties along and south of Interstate 70 will initially see a freezing drizzle/rain event that will slowly change over to snow showers. Areas farther south near Interstate 44 will take some time to see the changeover to snow and will likely experience freezing rain the entirety of the event. For counties along and north of Interstate 70, a very brief window will exist for freezing drizzle and then all snow is expected.
While snow is expected north and freezing drizzle is expected south, traffic will likely cause some problems for all of Mid-Missouri. Less ice will lead to higher snowfall totals and more ice will lead to lower snowfall totals, which is what is to be expected across a large portion of the region. Areas along and north of Interstate 70 will likely see anywhere from 1 to 4 inches of snow, with areas south of Interstate 70 seeing flurries to an inch of snow. The opposite is expected for the freezing drizzle/rain, as areas south of Interstate 70 can expect a glaze to 0.15 of an inch near Interstate 44, with areas north of 70 likely seeing very little if any freezing drizzle at all.
Although roads are treated, once ground temperatures fall below freezing accumulation will likely begin to occur. It's extremely important that you remain cautious as we head into the weekend, as winter weather once again sets its sights on Mid-Missouri.
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