Current surface analysis shows a weak cold front just entering the far western portions of the state. Radar doesn't really show much of any precipitation with this front, but there could be a brief sprinkle. I know that because I drove through a sprinkle when the front passed my area.
Tonight: Clearing skies behind the cold front. Skies will not clear right away, and the time we actually get clear or mostly clear will determine how much temperatures get to fall. Right now, looking at lows 25 to 30 north and 30 to 35 south.
Tomorrow: The strong cold front will pass through in the late afternoon. This will begin to usher in the true Arctic air. This front is pretty dry, but I wouldn't rule out a snow flurry as it passes through. High temperatures low 40s north to mid and some upper 40s south.
Tomorrow Night/Friday: Progressively colder air works in. The lake effect snow machine will get going on Friday and this will throw snow showers into the area. As usual, the area that has the best chance of seeing impactful snow from this is the NW hills. Temperatures on Friday will depend on who gets the most clouds and snow showers, and we really won't know that until we see where the streamers set up. As far as temperatures that I will forecast, expect low temperatures in the 25 to 30 degree range, with highs within a few degrees of 40.
Longer Term: On Saturday, the cold air will really become entrenched over the area. Highs will only be in the 30s and lows will be in the low to mid 20s.
The main focus of the long term will be a potential accumulating snow event focused on Sunday night into early Monday. One thing to keep in mind is that this is a low-ceiling event, meaning that it isn't going to be a significant snow event, unless a lot of things change. However, it could very well be the first accumulating snow event for those who have not yet seen accumulating snow.
The track of the storm is not yet set in stone, which is typical from this far out. But most models are in agreement showing a track that would be favorable for snow for our area, minus the ECMWF model. This model showed a bias last year with being too strong and far west with many systems. The new upgraded version, although it hasn't been out very long, to me looks even worse with this bias. So the ECMWF will not be used very much for this forecast.
However, even after saying that, the GFS also has a bias of being too far east with systems and may be weakening the primary low too fast. This is more important for what goes on aloft, rather than at the surface. What this could mean is that northern sections get an all-snow event, while southern sections get a period of snow changing to a mainly sleet event, which can still accumulate.
Temperatures at the surface will be pretty marginal, especially along the south coast, where they will be at or just above freezing for most of the event. However, there is plenty antecedent cold air, so the immediate surface will be cold, plus most of this event will occur at night, and snow and/or sleet accumulates well on a cold ground at night, even if the temperature happens to say 33 or 34.
These are preliminary thoughts. Keep in mind, this forecast can and probably will change before "show time". As far as temperatures, highs should be in the mid to upper 30s Sunday and near 40 Monday, but that's after the precipitation pulls out.
Expect fair weather on Tuesday, with lows in the 20s and highs in the 30s.
An Alberta Clipper system could approach the area, with another round of snow and/or sleet, for Wednesday. There are differences in models as to how much moisture this system will have, with solutions ranging from flurries to a measurable accumulation. As far as Wednesday's temperatures, expect highs in the 30 to 35 degree range.
Thursday clears out, with even colder air moving in behind the Clipper. Current progs have Thursday's lows ranging from the low teens to near 20!
Beyond that, a bitterly cold air mass is set to move into the region for the following weekend. A storm system should also approach. There are obviously large differences in the storm track for that one, with solutions ranging from a wave passing off the Carolinas, to a wrapped up monster into the Lakes. Even if the latter happens, I would expect some impactful frozen precipitation before any changeover, due to the amount of cold air in place at the start.
After that storm passes through, yet another Arctic blast gets set to move in! There could be another winter storm threat just before Christmas, then some relaxation in the pattern (it isn't going to be 20 degrees below normal forever!) . However, my personal opinion is that the pattern will relax a bit, then reload further down the line, stay tuned!
Now, let's take a look at a couple graphics showing what's coming up in our world weatherwise. First, let's take a look at the lake effect streamers for Friday.
That's all for now! Have a great rest of your week and stay warm!