An approaching low pressure system is going to bring snow to west Texas early on Sunday. We already have moisture in place, as seen by the fog Friday morning. This low, which will be in place across New Mexico tomorrow, will pump in more moisture to our region. Accumulating snow is expected for nearly all locations on Sunday. That probability has prompted a winter storm watch for our entire area, except for Hall County, from 6:00 pm Saturday until 6:00 pm Sunday.
Snow is expected to accumulate up to several inches in our central and northern counties. Road conditions on Sunday will be treacherous. If you have errands to run, please run them on Saturday. Even four wheel drive vehicles will have trouble driving on Sunday with snow and ice covered roads. With temperatures dropping into the teens by Monday morning, this snow and slick roads will stick around through Monday afternoon. We're expected to see sunny skies, light wind and temperatures above freezing Monday afternoon, which will lead to the snow melting. Melting snow will re-freeze Monday night/Tuesday morning.
The big problem, as is usually case with winter storms in west Texas, typically is what kind of precipitation will fall. Well, as you can see in two forecast models above, precipitation will fall as all snow. The speed of the low pressure system will determine the amount of snow that will fall across the region. That will be discussed later. The timing for this event is going to be from midnight Sunday morning, through 5:00 pm Sunday afternoon. Lubbock will likely see the snow begin around 4:00 am Sunday and will last through about 1:00 pm Sunday afternoon. The snow will taper off Sunday from west-to-east, with the eastern counties seeing light snow ending around 5:00-6:00 pm Sunday evening.
There is high confidence in this event actually occurring. I have already been asked several times if we will actually see snow Sunday morning. I am very confident that snow will fall. The amount of snow that each area will get is the tricky part with this system. The speed of the low and location of the heaviest swath of snow is still a bit uncertain at this time. I will get a much better idea of this tomorrow afternoon.
You can see the difference of forecast snow accumulation in just two of the forecast models shown above,. The one on the left shows higher snow totals, especially for Lubbock; 6" is forecast in this model by Sunday evening. The picture on the right is the latest high resolution model updated Friday afternoon. This particular forecast shows lower amounts, more typical to what we see across west Texas. This model forecasts 2-3" of snow for Lubbock.
This is going to be the biggest problem when forecasting for this storm. Several models are showing 6-8" of snow for most of the region. I believe this is unlikely to happen. Will areas get six inches of snow? Probably; especially in the northern and northwestern counties, known as our snowbelt counties. There is about a 50-50 shot that Lubbock sees more than four inches of snow, with a one-in-ten shot (10%) of seeing 8" in Lubbock by Sunday evening. So there is still a lot to decipher with the data coming in.
With everything I have said regarding timing, model discrepancies with forecast accumulation and location of the low, the above photo is my forecast for snow accumulation from midnight-5:00 pm Sunday. Lubbock is forecast to see 3-6" of snow. Some locally higher totals of 6-8" are certainly possible. That means one portion of a county may see three inches, while another location may see seven inches. The southern counties have a shot of 1-3" of snow, with locally higher totals around 4-5". The northern counties have the possibility of seeing 4-8" of snow, with locally higher amounts of 8-10" can't be ruled out.
Remember that a lot can still change in terms of where the heaviest snow will fall, the speed of the low and the timing of this event. This is just broken down from the data available today (Friday). I will provide another blog post on Saturday afternoon breaking down the latest information available then. At that point, we will be approaching the start of this snow event and will have a much better idea of what will happen.
Another note, I will be on KLBK Saturday at 6:00 pm and 10:00 pm, giving the latest forecast and expected accumulations for our area. So check back on my blog tomorrow and watch KLBK at 6:00 and 10:00 pm for all of the latest information!