What a day Tuesday was. From Omaha, Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, the Quad Cities and Chicago, highs hit or exceeded 60 degrees. Even Duluth, Minnesota with 22" of snow on the ground hit 41. Sunshine accompanied the warmth in many areas making it extra nice. Below you can see a sampling of 4:00pm observations.
In Cedar Rapids, we soared to 64 which tied the record for the date. Last year we had our first 60 February 17th (72 degrees). The year before that February 27th, (64 degrees). That's well ahead of the typical first date which is March 7th.
Wednesday will be a day of transition as a cold front sinks south through the Midwest. It will settle into Missouri and then turn stationary. You can tell where it resided by looking at Wednesday's projected highs.
The surface depiction at 6:00pm looks like this. Notice the low that's developing in Missouri. That's the next storm that will bring rain to the central Midwest by Wednesday night.
The details of this system have been consistently muddled by whether or not there will be phasing between the northern and southern branches of the jet. If you can get the cold from the north to merge with the warm moist air to the south you have yourself a healthy storm. Models have been on and off with this process with the latest trends more off than on.
In fact, the latest runs of the NAM and GFS have come down with rainfall amounts in my area and virtually eliminated any chance of significant snow. Here's what the 0Z GFS shows for total precipitation from the system. A few days ago amounts were in the 2-3" range.
The NAM has this.
With regards to snow, it now seems a near certainty that accumulating snow will be east of my area.The phasing process necessary for dynamic cooling looks to take place in eastern Illinois sparing my area much in the way of snow. Maybe a quick transition to a mix or some brief light snow at the tail end of the event. The GFS has this for accumulations.
The NAM has this. I highly doubt the amounts around Dubuque unless it's an elevation thing on some of the higher terrain. I've seen a situation where the bluffs had 5 or 6 inches but in the city which is lower there was nothing more than a rain snow mix. Actually it was kind of cool, like being in the Rockies. Frankly I just don't see it.
That said, the party is over for springlike warmth over my area, at least for now. Cooler and somewhat wetter weather is on the way. Nice while it lasted! Roll weather...TS