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Aside from the fact it's St. Patrick's day, it's also "March Madness"...and I'm not talking about basketball. We are now into that time of year where seasonal wave lengths start changing as extreme temperature contrasts become common place. Take Thursday for example. At 7:00pm in the evening temperatures ranged from the 90s over the deserts of the southwest to the upper teens over the snow covered northeast.

That thermal variance sets up an active spring storm track that batters the Midwest with everything from snow and freezing rain to early summer warmth and severe weather. The positioning of the storm track is essential to what type of weather one gets. However, in general as the jet inches further and further north the chances for winter weather start decreasing rapidly over the central Midwest as you get deeper into March. It's usually NW Iowa, Minnesota and NW Wisconsin that see the lions share of snow after March 21st.

Looking ahead I see one of these powerhouse systems on the models around March 24th. Since we are a week out there are many variables to determine, but the ensembles all point to an energetic storm around that time frame. It looks like this at 500mb. That's the classic bowling ball or cut-off low that's common in spring as we get those changeable wave lengths and the jet begins to gradually weaken from its winter intensity.

At the surface the GFS and EURO both depict a wrapped up surface low which you would expect with an upper air low of such magnitude. Wind will be a factor.

One thing the system is lacking is cold air. That means the wintry side of the storm will be confined to the Plains and upper Midwest. The EURO snowfall forecast looks like this.

The GFS has this for total snowfall. Actually both models are pretty similar in placement which is nice to see at this distance.

I also expect the gulf to open up and moisture should be plentiful. Here is the PWAT (precipitable water) anomalies the GFS forecasts. More than 200% in spots.

There should be enough instability for thunderstorms near the warm front and in the actual warm sector. Some significant rains in excess of 2" are possible where lift is maximized. The GFS has this for 10 day precipitation.

The EURO has this.

With the intensity of the system you can also expect to see a wide range in temperatures. My area should be in the warm sector and that could mean a day of 70 degree highs ahead of the storm. The EURO shows this for max temperatures the 24th.

There's plenty of time to watch things unveil between now and March 24th. No doubt there will be some twists and turns going forward.

Meantime, St Patricks day evokes the luck of the Irish and it should be a decent day in much of the central Midwest. Certainly better than it has been. Here's hoping you find that elusive pot of gold...whatever that is for you! Roll weather...TS

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