AN EPIC STRETCH OF WEATHER....
The Midwest is in the process of recovering from a historic outbreak of cold weather. Every reporting station in my area established daily record lows Wednesday and Thursday morning. In Cedar Rapids and the Quad Cities, all-time record lows were established. Additionally, here in Cedar Rapids we recorded our lowest wind chill temperature ever at -55 degrees.
Another remarkable feature of our weather was the combination of cold and snow that occurred Thursday. Following the 30 below temperatures snow developed within 6 hours. It fell all afternoon with readings in the range of -5 to -10. With snow ratios of 30:1 the flakes fluffed up to 2-5" on a line from Cedar Rapids to the Quad Cities. I've never experienced anything like that 12 hr period in my 6 decades here in eastern Iowa. I'm just blown away by that.
Also for you folks in the Quad Cities, I don't have the official numbers but the Moline climate site has broken the record for all-time snowiest January. If I'm reading the data right 30.2" has fallen breaking the old mark of 26.7 set in the legendary winter of 1979. You also broke the November all-time mark with 18.4". Turning into an epic winter over that way friends!
By now you've all hear that warmer weather is on the way this weekend. It remains to be seen just how warm temperatures will get thanks to the deep snow cover that exists. The most likely scenario is that the warm air flows over the cold snow and surface temperatures and creates a strong inversion. That means the greatest warming occurs aloft (5,000 feet) instead of at the surface. It also means stratus and fog are a certainty along with areas of drizzle or spotty showers. Even so, I look for temperatures to eventually reach into the 30s and 40s north of I-80. A few readings near the southern Iowa border may approach 50 if the existing snow cover is sufficiently melted.
Monday a storm will cross Iowa dragging a cold front southeast. That eventually stalls and another system rolls along the boundary Tuesday/Wednesday. How far south the front gets will determine how much temperatures cool and what type of precipitation develops. As it stands now my area could see a mix that eventually changes to snow. I think a lot will depend on how much snow can melt through Monday. less melting would mean a better chance of the cold air pushing further south than models currently advertise. That in turn increases the chances of frozen precipitation rather than rain. We may not have a real handle in the set-up until late in the weekend. Something to watch.
Once this disturbance departs much colder air makes a return for the middle and end of next week. In other words, the warm-up is temporary lasting only 3-4 days.
Taking that a step further, the EURO EPS weeklies are showing winter going strong well into March. Here's the 46 day mean temperature departures ending March 18th
Here's the mean snowfall forecast for the same 46 day period.
The control is even more bullish. A very snowy look for the central and upper Midwest.
I'll end it on that note. Roll weather...TS