ROCKING DOWN THE HOUSE...
A powerful spring storm continues to pound the Midwest with rain for some, snow for others, and high winds for everyone (rocking down the house). You can see the massive scope of the storm as it spreads clouds from coast to coast Wednesday night.
After spending Wednesday spinning over western Kansas the system is projected to kick northeast and head for northwest Iowa by sunset Thursday. This sets the Midwest up for another active day of weather highlighted by winds that will gust into the range of 40-50 mph. Here's some forecast gusts in kts Thursday morning. They translate to wind speeds of 45 to 50 mph.
The storm will track northwest of my area which typically means warmer temperatures. However, in this case the storm occludes (weakens) meaning the warm air that would advance northward (in a maturing storm) gets pinched off by the eastward advancing cold front. The real warmth does not get any further north than I-80. You can see the evolution of the process in the animation below.
The hi-resolution 3k NAM has this for temperatures at 4:00 pm Thursday.
The GFS shows a much warmer outcome showing 70 to Cedar Rapids. The 3k above has only 48. I definitely prefer the colder solution due to the strong east winds drawing cold air in off of Lake Michigan. This time of year I've seen these lake enhanced boundaries hold tight over and over again until the water loses its winter chill late in spring.
This boundary is important because it should keep the strong thunderstorm threat ahead of the cold front confined to the area south of I-80 from extreme SE Iowa into Illinois. In this area there is a chance a few of the storms could go severe. This is the simulated radar at 7pm Thursday on the 3k NAM.
SPC does have this area highlighted for severe weather potential Thursday afternoon. This graphic will be upgraded by Thursday morning so use it with caution.
Once the cold front passes Thursday precipitation will come to an end but clouds, cool temperatures, and blustery conditions will linger into Friday.
The next system to impact the Midwest is due in Sunday. This time it's far eastern Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, and SE Wisconsin that are under the gun. The track is still somewhat in question but a low looks to pass through SE Illinois during the day. That puts the eastern half of my area in the cold sector meaning snow or a rain snow mix is possible. Some models are even showing accumulations over SE Iowa into northern Illinois and SE Wisconsin. We should have a pretty good idea on how things will play out later Thursday so stay tuned for that. Roll weather...TS