© 2019 Terry Swails

THE PATTERN GETS INTERESTING...

March 15, 2018

We had a fine day of weather Wednesday over many parts of the Midwest. After a low of 18 in Cedar Rapids, dry air, stronger March sunshine, and bare ground allowed the temperature to soar 41 degrees to a high of 59.  That's a big change from the past week which has been well below normal around the eastern 2/3rds of the nation.

Hopefully you enjoyed the break as much of the next 2 weeks look chilly with the MJO cycling through relatively cold phases. Here's the temperature departures of the GEFS ensembles the next 15 days.

 

Day 0-5.

Day 5-10.

Day 10-15.

Aside from being cool, the first 7 days of the period look to be active with 2 systems expected to cross the central Midwest. Here's the first Friday night.

The second more impressive system arrives Monday.

With both of these disturbances there's plenty of uncertainty with track, intensity, and precipitation type. Both systems have the potential to produce some freezing precipitation but thermal profiles are such that it's about impossible to predict amounts and placement until 24 hours ahead of the events. 

 

The GEFS ensembles for the 2 storms combined have this for total precipitation.

Combined snowfall looks like this.

It appears to me that system #1 should be in a weakening phase as it crosses my area. I don't think precipitation will amount to much and it should be more of a nuisance than anything else. One thing to watch is a couple models do show a period of freezing rain and you don't need much of that to get some problems. However, with temperatures near freezing and warm ground it shouldn't impact travel much even if it develops.

 

The second system Monday currently holds much more potential. All the major models show a closed upper air low and some healthy dynamics. Moisture also appears to be plentiful so this is the storm that really has my attention. It would not surprise me if a significant band of snow develops in some part of the central Midwest, especially with dynamic cooling involved. However, the 0z GFS operational has made a dramatic shift south and now misses my area. It will be interesting to see what the EURO does later tonight. The 12z run was very bullish.

 

Our data source will improve tomorrow so hopefully I'll have more confidence and consistency in where this event is going. Roll weather...TS

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