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PLEASE CONSIDER THE has been far ahead of the competition in catching and forecasting the trends of our extreme weather the past few weeks. It takes a great deal of commitment, passion, and knowledge to do that. Now that I'm no longer in television, this is my job and that's the reason 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.


When it comes to our weather here in the Midwest, you need to consider the source. And by that I mean the source of our winds and the air masses they bring. A couple weeks ago we had a connection to northerly winds aloft and unseasonably cold air. No more. The next 2 weeks the dominate flow will be westerly and without that Arctic connection, Pacific air masses will rule keeping temperatures mild relative to average, especially in the day 6-11 period when departures look like this.

This is the 500mb jet stream flow that delivers the more moderate brand of weather December 8th. The big ridge that had been anchored off the west coast has been essentially destroyed for the time being

The driving force behind the change is the MJO (Madden Julien Oscillation). It's set to soon move into phase 2 and from there could run the table through the warm December phases of 3,4,5, and perhaps 6 the rest of the month.

That's a mild MJO signal and quite frankly, very similar to what happened last December except for one factor, the amplitude is less than last year and that could temper the warmth considerably. I'm sure hoping that's the case because phases 2-6 are the holy grail of mild weather in December. Generally bad for snow in the central Midwest.

Two other factors which argue strongly against significant and prolonged periods of cold are the EPO and AO oscillations. Both teleconnections are shown positive into mid-December and beyond. Just like the MJO signal, that implies limited access to cold air.


The AO

Combine these 3 drivers and it's 3 strikes and you're out for much in the way of winter weather.This could also be problematic for snow at Christmas if (like me) you like yours white. My hope is that once we get past this bump in the road things line up again for the remainder of winter like it did last year. I can tell you this much, I'm a tad distraught at what I'm seeing the next 2 or more weeks if the trends continue to hold. Maybe we'll be rescued by the impending strat-warm? Fingers crossed.

The last issue on the table is the storm system that brings scattered showers to my area Friday through Saturday night. In the upper levels this energy is really impressive with a closed 500mb low tracking across Iowa and Illinois. That means the significant snow remains in Minnesota and Wisconsin where some nice totals are expected. Down my way the cold core comes directly over my area Sunday morning and that's when some snow showers are likely to develop. In most areas accumulations of an inch or less are anticipated. There could be a few spots north of HWY 20 where some 2" totals are found, especially near the Minnesota border. The EURO has this for total snowfall through Monday morning.

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and that you survive Black Friday with your bank account intact. Roll weather...TS

WEATHER FANATICS! Christmas is only a month away. Are you looking for something special for that hard to buy for person? Maybe you just want to treat yourself for being on the nice list! Well, here's an idea that can "give" any weather enthusiast a lifetime of pleasure. It's called WEATHER SCHOOL. What a person experiences here will open up the world of forecasting for years of enjoyment to come. Consider giving the gift of weather. Better hurry, only 15 seats left. You can get all the details below. is offering a very special and unique opportunity to learn first-hand the ins and outs of weather forecasting with one of the best meteorologists in the Midwest 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! Roll weather...T. Swails

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