Snowfall is officially underway as the Stateline begins to deal with the impacts of the third winter storm system the region's seen in as many weeks! This one's certain to last much longer than each of its two predecessors, and is likely to achieve top billing with regard to the amount of snowfall it produces. That said, its impacts on travel here may very well be the lowest of the three storms.
Snow is likely to continue over much of the area for the remainder of the overnight hours, and flurries or light snow showers may linger as the sun rises Thursday. Total accumulations by Thursday Morning will likely be in the neighborhood of one inch. With temperatures slightly below freezing for most of this initial activity, there could be slick spots on may roads in the morning, so extra time should be allotted to get to work or school.
While the possibility for occasional flurries or light snow showers can't be discounted at any point during the day Thursday, dry hours appear likely to outnumber the snowy ones. Should any snow occur during the daytime Thursday, any subsequent accumulation wouldn't register much above a dusting.
A more impactful round of snow comes our way Thursday Night into early Friday Morning. This round will have the capability of depositing another inch or two of snowfall area-wide in the hours leading up to Friday's morning commute.
Similar to Thursday, a good part of Friday's daytime hours are to be dry. The next round of meaningful snow, and perhaps the strongest of the three, appears on track to arrive late Friday Afternoon, continuing through a good chunk of Friday Night. Temperature profiles become a bit more iffy at that time, so it's possible a mix with rain or freezing rain could occur in spots. However, in many areas, the precipitation will remain strictly in the form of snow. Right now, it appears as though one to three inches of snow could take place Friday Afternoon into Friday Night.
One last burst of snow is possible early Saturday, adding an additional half inch of snow, at most, to our total tally. By then, we expect a total of 3 to 6 inches of snow to have fallen throughout the course of the storm, though a few isolated 7, and even one or two 8 inch tallies aren't to be entirely ruled out.
While this storm's showing signs of being potentially the most prolific snow producer of this rather anemic snow season, the overall travel impacts are not expected to be quite as significant as those we experienced during the last two storms. There are three principle reasons for that being the case.
First of all, the snow's not to come all at once. Crews have a much more difficult time removing heavy snow that comes in bursts over a short amount of time. Oftentimes, plow drivers will tell me that's like fighting a losing battle. You plow a road, and just a few hours later, it's completely covered again. That won't be the case this time around. The fact the snow is to be spread out over such a long period of time will make it much more manageable for all of the crews out there
Secondly, the air and pavement temperatures will prohibit any significant snow or ice accumulation. With air and pavement temperatures both expected to be around or even slightly above freezing for most of this event, salt will be extremely effective in prohibiting there from being a ton of slick spots. Instead, roads will likely be more wet and slushy than anything else.
Thirdly, wind will not be a major factor at all during this storm. From now through Friday Night, winds will remain below 10 miles per hour. Saturday Morning, a few gusts nearing 15 miles per hour will be possible, but given the heavy, wet nature of the snow, blowing and drifting will hardly be a concern.
By the time the storm's last snowflakes are wrung out of the clouds, many areas will have picked up several inches of snow. However, due to the aforementioned temperatures, it will have likely settled considerably over the course of the storm, and some melting is also likely to take place as well. As a result, though many areas may very well pick up a half a foot or more of snowfall, it's entirely possible that only a few inches will still be on the ground by the time the storm is finished.