Why should hurricanes and tropical storms get all the fun? I suggest that we give names to potential winter storms, making it easier to keep track of them.
In order to avoid conflicts with the common first names used for hurricanes, I propose using fictional TV characters. Let's go with a TV show that is overflowing with colorful characters: The Simpsons.
So here's my list for 2008-2009. Featuring letters A through S, this should be more than enough to get through the season:
So with that in mind, let's look at the first major storm of the season, hereby dubbed "Winter Storm Apu."
The latest discussion from the National Weather Service at Paducah says:
LOOKING MORE AND MORE LIKE A HIGHER IMPACT EVENT WILL BE COMING IN BEHIND THE ARCTIC FRONT MONDAY INTO MONDAY EVENING
"Higher impact event" is an unusual phrase, but it fits. They go on to say:
AS OF THIS TIME...SIGNIFICANT ICING LOOKS LIKELY NW OF A POPLAR BLUFF TO MARION IL TO BOONVILLE IN LINE MON AFTERNOON INTO MONDAY EVENING.
That would just barely include Cape Girardeau. Looking at the discussion from the St. Louis office (it's always good to get a second opinion), they agree that a major storm is coming, but add,
AT THIS TIME THIS WINTER STORM DOESN'T APPEAR TO BE OF THE HISTORIC CRIPPLING VARIETY...BUT IT WILL HAVE SIGNIFICANT IMPACTS INCLUDING MAJOR DISRUPTIONS TO TRAVEL
As usual, it appears that Southeast Missouri will straddle the line between regular rain and freezing rain, with a possible shift to snow at some point as well. If the system shifts north from what the computer models are now showing, we get rain and maybe even thunderstorms. If it shifts south, we get snow. It's also possible that the system could be a total dud (we've seen that many times in previous years).
So here's the current output of the Dartboard Forecasting System(non-tm).
Update 3:45 PM
Here's the latest forecast from the National Weather Service:
MONDAY: FREEZING RAIN OR RAIN OR SLEET OR SNOW LIKELY. HIGHS IN THE UPPER 30S. CHANCE OF PRECIPITATION 70 PERCENT.
I think this one takes the cake for the most vague forecast ever devised! It looks like just about every kind of weather is on the table. Even hail is a possibility Sunday night, with a slight chance of thunderstorms possible.
I don't know if I'll be able to post updates over the weekend, but you can follow the progress of the storm from the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center website. Right now the graphics aren't very interesting because the storm is more than 3 days away, but they will soon have snowfall and freezing rain probability graphics. Those are always handy.