See how much snow we could get this weekend

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Update: Winter Storm Watches issued in advance of the storm system. Several inches are likely for the Quad Cities, points northward.

Social media is aflutter with the prospects of some wintry weather late this week. If we do get some snowfall, it should be expected this time of year. A few years ago, the first snowstorm of the season brought more than 10 inches to the region on December 1, 2006. While the probability is there that we get snow(and models have been relatively consistent in a snowy solution), the probability is still pretty low from this vantage point.snowmap

If the cold air is significant enough, an area of low pressure could develop in Kansas, tracking eastward. If that occurs, we will see the first snowflakes of the Fall season for the I-80 corridor. Slushy accumulations would be likely with this type of storm track. Bet you’re asking yourself “I wonder how much we’ll get.” Honestly, the answer I would give you is probably an inch or two. But instead of being vague about the possibility of getting more, I am reintroducing an idea I came up with several year ago. Take a look:snowprob

The image above shows the probability of snowfall accumulation depth at the Quad City International Aiaport. The large zero means we have the largest chance we’ll get zero inches of snow. The number 1 is also big which means we’ll have about an equal chance of seeing an inch of snow. Notice how the numbers really get small after that. That means the chance of us getting 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 inches of snow really gets small.

This alleviates the communication issue we have sometimes by putting out forecast ranges. Sometimes we’ll say “3-6 inches possible” where people lock onto that six inch number. When 2.8 inches fall, people see it as an error. This way, we have the opportunity to keep you updated with the real potential of accumulation. And since snowfall accumulation is the most difficult things to forecast. I’ll keep updating this map on Good Morning Quad Cities, weekdays from 4:30 to 7am.

-Meteorologist Eric Sorensen