Get ready for a storm that could be a doozy.
Next week, likely starting Tuesday, a storm is expected to bring rain, ice and/or significant snow to the central U.S. Flooding rains are even possible.
The type of precipitation for any given locale, from all rain to all snow or something in between, will depend on temperature. Omaha and Lincoln are near the rain/snow line, according to AccuWeather, The World-Herald’s weather consultant, so the type of precipitation in those cities is especially uncertain. To the north, heavy snow is likely, and to the south, rain.
One thing that’s certain: The storm will be carrying a lot of moisture.
“All eyes are on this system,” said Becky Kern, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service. “It’s going to have a big impact for the region midweek. The main story for anyone who has travel plans is to really keep an eye on this.”
The storm is likely to stretch from northern Texas to the Great Lakes, she said.
Kern said this storm will differ from this week’s ferocious blast of snow and Arctic winds.
Winds aren’t expected to be as bad, although they could ramp up as the system moves out. It will move slower. Instead of a single day, it’s likely to last from Tuesday through Wednesday and possibly into Thursday. And there’s the moisture.
This week’s snowstorm, for all its fury, dropped only about 0.05 of an inch of precipitation in the Omaha area, according to the weather service. This storm could drop an inch or so, Kern said.
Meteorologists will have a much better idea of what’s going to happen by late Sunday, she said.
Brett Rossio, a meteorologist at AccuWeather, said Omaha could get anything from all rain to all snow.
“It’s still too far out to get into the nitty-gritty details,” he said. “But it looks like a rough commute Tuesday evening and again Wednesday morning. A lot of people will be tempted to travel because of the new year, but think about avoiding travel on Tuesday and Wednesday.”
For people with long commutes, say between Omaha and Lincoln, Rossio said monitoring the forecast and planning ahead will likely pay off.
Cold weather will follow in the wake of the storm, with highs in the 20s and lows around 10 degrees.
There’s a sliver of good news with this storm. It is expected to move out by early Thursday, so the weather should be good — cold but not snowing — for New Year’s Eve, including Omaha’s fireworks show.