GO BIG OR GO HOME...
It was another "scorcher here in the Midwest with many locations hitting the BIG 7-0. Multiple records fell across the region and Moline even busted the all-time February high, reaching 74 degrees.
Here are the records from my local area:
Many readings were 35 degrees above normal across eastern Iowa. If this were mid-July, when the average temperature is 85 degrees, and temperatures were 35 degrees above normal..... that'd be a 120 degree day!
A big reason we were able to achieve 70s Sunday afternoon was the amount of dry air. A mid day humidity of 39% led to a big temperature swing in Cedar Rapids. We went from a frosty low of 28 degrees to a high of 70...42 degrees in just 8 hours time.
Now moisture is on the move though, and showers and thunderstorms will be possible Monday afternoon. Here's the surface pattern on the GFS late on Monday.:
The surface low is way up in Canada and that will pump in plenty of warm air and moisture. Check out these dew points - almost to 60 degrees! Incredibly rare in February:
CAPE values are near 300-900, impressive for February, and will be enough to generate scattered thunderstorms.
We could use the moisture considering it's been quite dry. Precipitation has been hard to come by lately with just 2 of the last 25 seeing rain or snow. The total of .27" in Cedar Rapids is far less than the normal of an inch which is more typical of that period.
The rain Monday will be the beginning of a more active pattern that will send several storms into the Midwest. Here's the precipitation the next 10 days on the GFS:
Now these numbers will likely change but there is going to be no shortage of moisture in the long-range. Some of this is likely to come in the form of snow, especially north of Highway 20. Many of us in the central Midwest have been in a prolonged snow drought. The last time Cedar Rapids had an inch of snow in a single day was back on December 17th, Monday we extend the streak to 65 days!
As I mentioned the pattern gets extremely active later this week and rain, snow, thunderstorms, and eventually much colder weather for everyone is on the table. I will address what I expect to be a major Midwest storm late in the coming week in my next post Monday.