© 2019 Terry Swails

A POWERHOUSE WEEKEND STORM....

February 21, 2019

We've had some lean years recently when it comes to snowy winters. 2019 is not one of them. Thanks to a persistent storm track in the right place at the right time snows have come and gone with regularity. Just look at this seasonal snowfall analysis showing the coast to coast extent of this years snow. Much of my area has totals of 40-50 inches.

Tuesday's storm produced these amounts in Iowa.

Some additional reports from around the Midwest.

As of Wednesday morning, 57% of the nation was covered by at least an inch of snow.

Last year only 41% of the country was covered. One of the states that's shown a marked increase in snow cover from last year is Iowa. Currently all of Iowa has snow on the ground. Last year coverage was less than 50% 

 

These are some snowfall departures across the Midwest. The Quad Cities leads the way being 33" above normal on snowfall to date. WOW!

The rest of the week the weather looks kinder and gentler as high pressure holds our next storm out west. Temperatures will be below normal, especially where snow cover is deep. At least we'll get some sunshine, especially Thursday.

From here all eyes in the weather world will be on the intense cyclone that is expected to develop and cross the central Midwest. What we do know is that this will be a powerful storm with snow in the cold sector and rain and even thunderstorms in the warm side. Strong winds of up to 50 mph will also be possible with rapid deepening and tightening of the pressure gradient.

 

What we don't know is the exact track of the storm. Models have a bunch of solutions ranging from central Iowa to central Illinois. This becomes an issue for temperatures and precipitation types. One model has 12" of snow on Cedar Rapids and other 1" or less. Some also point to a freezing rain potential. Of all the models the GFS is currently the furthest northwest. It's contemporaries, the NAM and EURO are significantly further east over SE Iowa or WC Illinois. I like their depiction better as I think they are handling the feedback from the deep snow cover better.

 

Tonight the range of eventual solutions for my area is so great that I just don't think it's worth painting a picture that's not accurate. For that reason I'm waiting another day for better data sampling which should lead to improved consistency. Then we can sketch the basics and start filling in the details. Stay tuned, whatever happens this is going to be one of the strongest storms of the winter. Roll weather...TS

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