By Jeff Ray

(CBSDFW.COM) – We are less than 24 hours away from what could possibly be the best snow chance for the Metroplex in the last five years. Yes, I said five years.

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The Metroplex is currently in its biggest 5-year snow drought in our 121-year history. Over this time period the biggest one-day snow at the DFW airport was a measly .20″.

Here are the snow amounts predicted tomorrow by the National Weather Service office in Fort Worth:

Most of the forecast models agree on at least two areas of heavier snow in North Texas, one large area in the southwestern quarter of our area and another smaller area in our southeastern counties. These areas have the potential to have 4″ to 6″ of snow with isolated areas getting as much as 8″. That would be a significant snow event that would block roads for the day and night into most of Monday.

 

 

For the Metroplex there are mixed messages from the forecast models. The most important thing to know is that temperatures could stay ABOVE FREEZING for this entire event, only drawing down to just freezing by Monday morning. “Just” freezing would be cold enough to ice over untreated bridges and overpasses. We expect daytime temperatures Sunday to at least climb into the mid 30s. Temperatures are very important as we weigh possible road impacts and school closures.

How much snow for the Metroplex? I would say somewhere between 1″ to 3″ are possible with the higher amounts in Parker, Tarrant and Johnson counties (2″-3″ with some spots maybe at 4″). Not all of this is going to stick; there will be times when there is a rain/snow mix falling and we end up with accumulating “slush” on the ground and roads. Anything that stays on an untreated road would freeze overnight.

WINTER STORM WARNINGS are out for the western and southern counties that are expected to bear the brunt of this winter storm tomorrow. The precipitation will be mostly snow in these areas through the event. Where there is a WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY (most of the Metroplex) we expect less of a travel impact due to temperatures and the mix bag of precipitation.

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ALL THIS IS JUST A FORECAST. THINGS CHANGE QUICKLY.

One of the processes that forecast models have trouble with is the cooling that goes on when frozen precipitation starts to fall. While the forming of the ice in the atmosphere is actually a WARMING process, as it falls as frozen precipitation it starts cooling and dragging down the air with it as it falls to the ground. This is how rain suddenly turns to snow and can stay that way for the rest of the event.

Scott Padgett and myself will be in studio most of the day Sunday keeping you updated. We will have four storm chasers out spread across North Texas to show you pictures. We will have our own radar and the NWS radar out of Spinks Airport in Fort Worth to follow the event and the change over to frozen precipitation. We plan to be broadcasting on CBSN across the afternoon and early evening.

 

As far as WHEN this event starts, the snow will arrive around daybreak at our western edge in the morning. It will then slowly spread east as the day goes on. Many areas from Wise County down to Bosque County and east will first see a rain/snow mix, if not just start with a cold rain. The transition to a snow/rain mix and then snow will occur as the day wears on.

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