The official start to winter comes Wednesday with the winter solstice and Mid-Missouri will be heading into the new season in full force. A late week system threatens to bring widespread snowfall and plummeting temperatures just before the Christmas holiday.
Conditions are already winter-like across the midwest to start the week after deep low pressure slid east over the weekend. This will flatten out the jetstream in the coming days, leading to more generally cloudy and cold afternoons. However, a deep trough cuts through the upper air pattern midweek, leading to a potential winter storm.
Low pressure will emerge out of the Rockies by early Thursday, and as this tracks directly across Mid-Missouri we will be hit with a round of widespread snow and mixed precipitation. Forecast models are not entirely set on this scenario, so changes are still likely.
Initial snow showers are possible by late Wednesday evening, though precip will likely hold off until early Thursday. Expect falling flakes by Thursday morning with precipitation filling in throughout the day. Snowfall could continue into early Friday if low pressure is still in the vicinity.
While snowfall is favored with this system, warming model trends suggest temperatures will be near or above freezing at times on Thursday. This could lead to different precip types across the area throughout the event. As you head north you'll have a greater chance of a snow-focused event, while areas to the south will be generally warmer and may catch mixed precip or even rain.
This discrepancy in precipitation type lends to low confidence in forecast accumulations at this time. Snow totals will suffer if the system is warmer and pumps out more rain, while snowfall increases with colder conditions.
Regardless of the outcome, excessively cold temperatures are likely behind this storm. Friday morning temperatures will likely reach below zero degrees with the wind chill dropping as low as -30 degrees or worse. Mid-MO should recover somewhat by Christmas Day, though likely not enough to get temperatures back above freezing.
WHAT TO DO
You should always have an accessible way to receive weather updates in the cold season, and the Stormtrack Weather App is a good tool to have on hand! Also, be sure to stock up on staple foods and goods for potential outages. Don't forget to keep those faucets dripping with the extreme cold moving in late week!