WEEKEND RAINS IMPACT FLOOD RISK ON THE MISSISSIPPI...

The next few days the weather looks to be nice and quiet as March goes out like a lamb. That's a good thing after a wet weekend for much of my area and the upper Midwest. In this graphic from the Midwest Climate Center you can see where the rains were most substantial. Large parts of the regions saw 1-2" of rain. Some spots around the Quad Cities picked up more than 4". That, combined with other systems since February 29th has given much or the region north of I-80 into central Minnesota and Wisconsin 1.5 to 2 times the normal precipitation expected during that 30 day period. As of March 29th soil moisture is ranked in the the top 90-99 percent . The ground is in a very squishy state. Heavy

CALMER TIMES AHEAD...

The last month has been a rather active period of time. There's been a lot of rain and some snow and March is running above normal for precipitation. Here's a look at the precipitation (liquid equivalent of rain + snow) for the last 30 days: We've had severe weather, rivers rising, and just a whole lotta days with clouds. We're finally going to see more sunshine and a drier week up ahead. The weather pattern is going to be a lot less active in the Upper Midwest. The first half of the week (through Wednesday) looks dry: There will be a storm system that comes in toward the end of the week, but we'll have to continue to work out the timing. Right now it looks like rain will be most likely on F

314 SEVERE WEATHER REPORTS, YET WE STILL DODGED A BULLET...

Considering the dynamics in place, we got out of a Saturdays' severe weather setup in pretty good shape. Much of my area was placed in a PDS (particularly dangerous situation) tornado watch during the afternoon and evening,...the first of its kind in some spots since 2008. Overall, 18 tornadoes were reported by the Storm Prediction Center...a drop in the bucket compared to the suggested potential. 314 severe weather reports were registered around the country. You will notice below that there was a large tornado reported near Littleton, Iowa in Buchanan, County. Meteorologist Nick Stewart of KGAN and I were on that storm. While we missed the tornado by a few minutes we did arrive in Oelwein,

TORNADOES SATURDAY, WINDY SUNDAY

We had been talking about this risk for a while and it came to a head when tornadoes touched down across the central U.S. Saturday. The strongest of the day was near Jonesboro, Arkansas. Then, storms started rotating in Iowa and Illinois and several tornadoes touched down. Damage was reported around Bridgewater, Oelwein, Hudson in Iowa and there were several tornado reports in Henry county, Illinois. Here's a map of the damage reports from Saturday evening: Now the storms are moving east and winds will be picking up as we head into Sunday. Here's a look at the gusts in the afternoon: On top of the wind, temperatures will be much cooler than Saturday (when temperatures were in the 50s, 60s, a

PDS TORNADO WATCH IN EFFECT...

The Storm Prediction Center has issued a PDS tornado watch (particularly dangerous situation) for much of my area. There is a high risk of tornadoes EF2 or greater in the watch box. A few intense long tracked tornadoes are possible. You can read the details below. Stay weather aware if you are in the watch.. Roll weather...TS

LATE DAY TORNADO THREAT REMAINS SIGNIFICANT...

As of early afternoon a warm front is surging into southern Iowa as low pressure continues to deepen over southwest Iowa. Temperatures near Lamoni in SC Iowa are have reached 71 degrees while instability rapidly increases south of the boundary. Late this afternoon a cold front entering from the west will allow destabilization in the warm sector with rapid development of discrete thunderstorms. A tornado risk is expected to develop, especially near the warm front which will cut through my area. SPC continues with its rare moderate risk of severe weather. SPC says this in their latest discussion... Greatest risk for long-track/significant tornadoes, along with potential for very large/destruct

TORNADO CONCERNS FOR MUCH OF THE AREA TODAY...

If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, we'd all have a merry Christmas. Many times we see things in life (and weather) that look to have promise and potential but in the end fail to meet it, hence the saying above. I sincerely hope that's the case Saturday because on paper we have the makings of what could be a very serious severe weather outbreak. I would highly advise those in the risk area to pay extra attention to any watches and warnings that are issued. A significant tornado threat is a real possibility. In it's latest outlook the Storm Prediction Center continues with a moderate risk assessment for the areas in red including my SE counties. An enhanced risk includes the rest of my count

SERIOUS SEVERE WEATHER CONCERNS TO START THE WEEKEND...

HOW DOES SPRING COMPARE TO NORMAL How do you know when spring has begun? Is it the appearance of the first tiny leaves on the trees, or the first crocus plants peeping through the snow? The First Leaf and First Bloom Indices are synthetic measures of these early season events in plants, based on recent temperature conditions. These models allow us to track the progression of spring onset across the country. Spring leaf out continues to spread northward into the nation, three to four weeks earlier than the long-term average (1981-2010) in some locations. Boston, MA and Providence, RI are 2-3 weeks early, Indianapolis, IN is 4 days early, Pueblo, CO is 1 week late, and Reno, NV is 1-2 weeks ea

THE COMING SEVERE WEATHER SEASON...

This is tornado awareness week in Iowa. It's an annual event the NWS produces to say to the public, it's that time again when severe storm frequency begins to ramp up, do you have a safe plan in place if you are faced with a tornado? Surprisingly, many people don't. As you can see in this data from Craig Cogil of the NWS in Des Moines, tornado numbers in Iowa and the Midwest in general grow dramatically during April and reach their peak in June. May and June account for more than 50 percent of the states twisters. In April of 2001 an outbreak produced 40 twisters, the 4th most for any individual day The majority of Iowa's tornadoes are considered weak EF0-EF2. Even so, they can still produce

STRONG STORM COULD BRING THE WARMEST DAY SINCE FALL...

Winter was certainly easier on us this year than last. Temperatures were well above normal and in most areas snowfall was below average (although a few spots did attain normal levels). Here's the average temperatures for the past 90 days going back to Christmas. The past 120 days (since October 24th) readings have been 3-4 degrees above average. That's a healthy departure and it no doubt saved us some cash with far less heating degree days than we would typically expect! Some places in far southern Missouri and Illinois have seen less than an inch of snow for the entire winter season. These are the snowfall departures. The light green denotes near normal snowfall which encompasses most of my

LOOKING LIKE A WET ROAD AHEAD...

Monday was another chilly day with well below normal highs following Sunday's snow system in the southern half of my area. In case you missed it, the heaviest snows (2-4') fell around the Quad City metro area. Way to go dudes! Here's a closer look at snow totals in my immediate area. Where snow was on the ground, at least into the morning Monday, temperatures were slow to rise and at mid-day looked like this. In some locations readings ended up 10-12 degrees below average. Normal highs now range from 48-53 around my area. All things considered the next 7 days (through the weekend) don't look all that great. A number of weather disturbances will roll across the region with clouds, and occasio

WEATHER STAYING ACTIVE....

Snow fell across parts of the Midwest Sunday and added up in the grass. Luckily snow won't stick around on the ground too long. (But at least it's something pretty to look at!) Here's some of the totals that were in Sunday evening and there will likely be more through the night: Temperatures will be warm enough to melt the snow away Monday afternoon: There will be a system that passes to the south of Iowa Tuesday and brings rain to Missouri, Illinois. It's possible this shifts further to the north and brings more rain to Iowa. Temperatures warm up even more Wednesday ahead of another system - Temperatures will be near/slightly above normal Tuesday afternoon, but we'll be locked in the clouds

A WINTRY START TO SPRING...

It was a cloudy and cools start to the first weekend of spring. Some areas even saw some flakes or flurries on Saturday. Temperatures will be running cooler Sunday and once again below normal by 5 to 15 degrees. You can see an area where temperatures will be running colder than Minnesota... that is where precipitation will be falling. And with cooler temperatures a wintry mix and snow will be likely. The Euro is showing a rain/snow mix on Sunday afternoon/evening. There will be snowfall accumulation with this system, but likely mostly in the grass. Here's a look at the snowfall totals on the Euro: GFS: NAM: And the outlier... the HRRR: The exact placement of the snow will be determined by th

THOUGHTS ON SUNDAY SNOW...

A late season weather system with the potential of producing some wet snow is approaching the area from the southwest. Some important differences remain regarding the intensity, location, and amounts of snow. Saturday's new model runs can be broken down into 2 different camps. You have the major deterministic models (the EURO and GFS) and then the hi-resolution models designed for short range forecasts with higher details. Theoretically the hi-res models should be better but in this case I prefer what the EURO and GFS are offering. The reason I prefer the EURO and GFS over the hi-res solutions is that the system is lacking a well defined surface low and upper air support is weak. Essentially

WINTER KEEPS HANGING AROUND, IT COULD GET FLAKY...

Windy and colder weather returned to the Midwest Friday as our latest spring storm raced out of the Midwest. During its extended stay here plenty of rain fell over the Midwest. 72 hour rainfall totals show much of the area NW of the Quad Cities experienced 1-2" totals with a few spots approaching 3". Much lighter amounts fell in SE Iowa and WC Illinois. Here's a tighter perspective of 24 hour rain totals ending Friday. Some real soakers occurred north of I-80. Where temperatures were significantly colder in NW Iowa snow fell and accumulations up to 6" were found around Spencer You can see how the snow band came out of the Rockies and then cut through NW Iowa and the upper Midwest. That added

THE USUAL SPRING SMORGASBORD...

Well, for some parts of my area the first tornado watch of the year has come and gone. While there were some reports of severe weather in SW Iowa nothing major came to pass. SPC showed this for severe weather reports as of late Thursday night. This is the area the watch encompassed Thursday afternoon and evening. That is 2-3 weeks earlier than normal for that specific area. You can see the wide variety in temperatures that resulted from the warm front that made it as far north as I-80 during the day. Early Friday a strong cold front is blasting a trail southeast. Some lingering rain (and snow showers) are in the process of winding down. Some areas of northern Iowa, mainly near and north of H

TORNADO WATCH ISSUED...

The Storm Prediction Center has issued a tornado watch for parts of my area until 11:00pm this evening. Here is the watch area with the specifics. I still think the threat is greatest south of I-80, especially HWY 34 south in Iowa. Storms are not likely in any part of my area before 5:00pm. Roll weather...TS

STORMS SOUTH, SNOW NORTH, AN UPDATE...

As of mid-afternoon a conditional threat of severe weather remains in effect for my southern counties. The window looks small and confined to the area south of I-80, especially HWY 34 south. The Storm Prediction Center still has an enhanced risk of severe weather for much of my area in Iowa. I believe the enhanced risk is probably too far north and not likely to verify beyond I-80 but that remains to be seen (it's possible it could be cut back in SPC's next outlook due in before 3pm). The big problem I see is cloud cover and the northward extent of the warm front. This is what temperatures are projected to look like at 5:00pm. The really good instability remains in the warm sector over south

STRONG TO SEVERE STORMS A THREAT IN THE SOUTH...

If there is one thing I've learned about severe weather in the Midwest it's the fact that averages can be deceiving. If you can get warm abnormally moist air in place, you can get strong storms any time of the year. Obviously it's much harder to do in January but it can and has been done. Take January 24, 1967 for example. Temperatures and dew points in the 60s combined with a strong triple point set up to create numerous strong tornadoes with significant damage and loss of life over SE Iowa. These are the tracks and intensity ratings from the 1967 tornado outbreak. In northwest Iowa temperatures were in the teens as the tornadoes raced through the southeast part of the state. A summary of t

APRIL SHOWERS AND STORMS...EARLY!

A wet weather system is still slated to bring showers and yes, even thunderstorms to the area over the next 48 hours. The precipitation will come in two distinct waves. The first cuts through the region early Wednesday before exiting late afternoon or evening. This is what the surface pattern looks like at mid-day. Here are some projected rain totals for the first event. The second round of rain (and this time storms) arrives late Wednesday night and brings occasional showers and thunderstorms to the area through Thursday night. Here's the late afternoon surface pattern Thursday The EURO shows this for additional precipitation with this wave. Combined the EURO has this for 48 hour totals. Th

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