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Ladies and gentlemen, the last few days have been nothing but madness and pure chaos on the weather models. Big changes from run to run and model to model. No discrimination, just wayward solutions across the board. To give you an idea of how bad it's been, these are the last 4 runs of GFS snowfall forecasts. These came out within 6 hours of one another.

The 0z GFS:

The 6Z GFS

The 12z GFS

The 18z GFS. In essence, my area went from feast to famine in a hurry. Easy come easy go...

Particularly amazing was the 6Z GFS last night painting 35 inches of snow in SC Minnesota...12 hours later the 18Z run less than an inch! The deterministic models are having monumental struggles defining and handling the energy stream coming off the Pacific. If data is initialized and plugged into the algorithms wrong, the whole model run goes off the rails. Gotta keep that train on the track!

So what do we know tonight? For one it appears the models are going to a solution next Tuesday which is less amplified and further south than earlier in the week. A little less phasing and digging reduces the intensity of the system which impacts moisture, intensity, track, and a few other key factors. More important to us forecasters, we are getting a general consensus that a wave of energy will generate a storm as it crosses the Midwest Tuesday. We're closer on a solution but we still have some important issues to resolve. The 0Z GFS is weaker with the wave and further south Tuesday evening.

The EURO is a bit more phased, stronger, slightly slower, and further north for the same time period.

As you will see, this makes a big difference in snow potential. The southern GFS has this for snow amounts.

The northern based EURO has this for snow totals.

Again, the models have the same general idea, they just have the snow band in entirely different areas. So we've made progress but are far close on the outcome of where snow falls and its impact on pre-holiday travel. I would tend to lean more EURO with the lack of cold air in place ahead of the system. Still plenty of time to get it resolved but I would not be surprised to see another curve ball before it's said and done.

So after the Tuesday system departs, it's well supported that the western trough digs and amplifies once again. That in turn builds a stout ridge over the central U.S. that will be in place until the end of the Thanksgiving week. That will lead to highs that are near to above average. Holiday travelers should be fine until rain returns at some time over the weekend. At this point no freezing precipitation is expected over my part of the Midwest. Here's the trough ridge couplet forecast Thanksgiving day that should make for an uneventful feast.

This mild period of weather Wednesday-Saturday night lines up well with phase 2 MJO expectations, which is what the cycle.will be in.The EPO is also positive, a good indicator of respectable temperatures.

At the very end of Thanksgiving weekend the pattern is likely to turn much colder the first 2 weeks of December. This type of change is always a bit tricky as it often comes in waves that get progressively colder. The teleconnections remain in place for this to happen. See the MJO going into 7,8, and potentially 1 between December 1st and 7th.

Again, these are the phase correlations for those phases in December.

Then there's the EPO which is shown going deeply negative by that time. This on the GFS ensemble is a strong indicator of cold in the pattern.

In fact, the latest run of the operational GFS came in nasty and it goes to cold in a big way by December 6th. This is the 500mb jet stream flow. A frigid cross polar flow from Siberia.

You can also see a huge Arctic high of 1045mb over Montana driving the cold south. Also note how high pressure bridges from the pole all the way into south Texas. Very impressive if it happens.

Some of the temperature departures are as much as 50 degrees below normal over the high Plains.

Wind chills well below zero are quite common over the entire Midwest.

I do think the cold is coming back hard in under 2 weeks! It's just a matter of how fresh. That will be great news for my guys at Chestnut Mountain Ski Resort in Galena. Thanks to the recent rain and mild temperatures they were forced to move their opening back from this weekend to the 29th, weather permitting! You can bet they will have a nice base going by December 10th (if not sooner) if my expectations work out. We shall see!

Nobody loves snow more than me and nobody appreciates it (and knows what to do with it) more than Chestnut. It only makes sense that this snow season TSwails and Chestnut join forces as partners to share our passion for "the white gold". Here's something I'm really proud to announce. If you purchase a $12 dollar yearly subscription to support, Chestnut will give you $10 dollars off a lift ticket through December 24th. We've got you covered!

We've also put together a special page that we call, the Chestnut-ski through winter planner. This page will keep you in the know with up to date information on snow forecasts, upcoming trends and patterns, as well as the latest weather conditions surrounding Chestnut and many other parts of Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin. You will find the winter planner on under the winter link and the heading Chestnut Mountain. CHECK IT OUR HERE.

If you enjoyed this summary, you would no doubt get into weather school which I will be presiding over January 25th. We'll get into all this hard core forecasting stuff and have a gay old time as the Flintstones say. Space is limited and we are about half way to capacity so get off the fence and sign up. Here's all the details and roll weather!

WEATHER SCHOOL... is offering a very special and unique opportunity for you to learn first-hand the ins and outs of weather forecasting with one of the best meteorologists in the country along with his team of expert meteorologists.

That’s right… You want to forecast right along with Terry Swails, well now you can. He’s teaching weather with TSwails newest program called WEATHER SCHOOL. The opening bell rings this January and you can be a member of the very first graduating class. The one-day forecasting seminar for weather enthusiasts will be held at his home in January. It’s not your typical run-of-the-mill school. There will be no tests, but Terry, Rebecca, and Nick will cram your head with so much knowledge, it’ll be spinning like a tornado before the day is over

You want to know the essential online sites to use for models, radar, and the basic weather tools? DONE! You want to understand the structure of models and the role they play? DONE! You want to be able to construct forecasts from the ground up? DONE!

WEATHER SCHOOL will be presented in a seminar-type format where you'll have the ability to ask questions and dig deep. You’ll get the scoop on data acquisition, model analysis, severe weather, and actual forecasting from the big dog himself, T. Swails. With 43 years of experience and an uncanny ability to break the science down, you’ll open the door to forecasting like never before.

Along with the head master T. Swails himself, meteorologists Rebecca Kopelman and Nick Stewart of KGAN TV will be there to lend their knowledge and experience to the discussion. It will be fun, informative, and factual! This is the day for you to see, feel, and experience what it’s like to be in the hot seat of a meteorologist.

The seminar will be held January 25th and will last from noon until 5:00pm. We have limited seating and the cost is $ 99 dollars per person. A catered lunch will be provided. Again..not a lot of seats so reservations with a pre-payment are required. Sorry, no refunds. If there’s enough interest, a second session will be added in early February. To register or get additional information send an email to

GIVE THE GIFT OF WEATHER. This might be the perfect gift for that hard to buy for person this Christmas. Along with a WEATHER SCHOOL admittance voucher, TSwails will send a special holiday greeting to your weather enthusiast if you give the gift of weather with the TSwails touch!



Purpose: To help weather enthusiasts understand the basics of forecasting and apply the knowledge and techniques learned to construct personal forecasts.


The essential on-line sites for models, observations, satellite and radar images, and general weather data.

Session 2: ANALYSIS:

Determining your objective goals. Short term, intermediate, or long-term. Understanding the process of analysis and its relationship to forecasting.

Model options and choices. What to use and when!

The GFS, EURO, NAM 3k, NAM 12K, Canadian, HRRR, MJO, ensembles, teleconnections, etc.

Locating, learning, and knowing what’s essential to make a reliable forecast.

The art and science of model interpretation: Using and understanding model output. Its called guidance for a reason!

Learn how to analyze key parameters such as:

Surface and upper air data

Vorticity and energy

Precipitation output

Wind and pressure


A simulation of the basic process using model output.

BREAK: A 25-30 minute recess to enjoy a catered lunch…


Thunderstorms, tornadoes, derechoes, and squall lines.

Soundings. What are they and why should I care?

Instability (CAPE) vs (CIN) Critical interaction involving moisture, heating, and forcing.

Uncovering the ingredients of a severe weather set-up.

TVS signatures. What to look for on radar.

Role of SPC vs NWS, and your local TV station regarding the warning process.

Simulated model driven forecast of a severe weather event/tornado outbreak


The key ingredients required for significant winter storm:

How to forecast the rain snow line.

How to forecast snow totals from QPF

Determining totals from snow ratios.

What to look for at the surface and at upper levels (500 and 850mb)

Model bias and determining the storm track

Simulated model driven forecast of a significant Midwest winter storm


An open period for attendees to ask questions regarding relevant topics or issues discussed during the day.


Some final words of inspiration from the events headliners

Once again, to reserve a spot or ask questions send an email to See you when the bell rings! T. Swails

ALSO, PLEASE CONSIDER WHAT YOU'RE GETTING...I hope you are aware of how far ahead of the competition TSwails has been in catching the trends of our early winter weather pattern. It takes a heck of a lot of commitment, passion, and knowledge to do that. This is now my job and that's why I'm asking for a voluntary subscription fee of $12 dollars a year, one dollar a month to keep TSwails going. Together we can create one of the best, most unique, and reliable weather sites in the Midwest. Your contribution of 3 cents a day, allows me to stay free of the corporate world and pour my energy into doing what I do best, forecasting the weather! We hope you see the value and hard work that goes into the site everyday. You support in any way is sincerely appreciated. Thanks and roll weather. To donate click on the secure green box below.

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