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CONSIDER THE VALUE continues to be a leader in catching and forecasting the trends of our extreme weather pattern the past few weeks. It takes a great deal of commitment, passion, and knowledge to stay on top of the swings. 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. Your support in any way is sincerely appreciated. Thanks and roll weather. To donate click on the secure green box below.


Before we get to the weather we have some candles to blow out. Today is momma Roses birthday. She is a very young and beautiful 90 year old woman. Happy Birthday mom and much love to you from all of us!

Now I need to rant about about this pattern. For more than 2 weeks its been giving me fits. One model is warm, the next is cold. Storms show one day but disappear the next A model shows 6" of snow one run and nothing the next. Just as bad, it's not just one model, it's all of them. I can't get a consistent trend from any and that is making forecasts beyond 3-4 days next to impossible. They say the trend is your friend, but if you can't get a solid latch on to life in the weather world is pretty lonely.

I think a lot of the problems are centered around the MJO (Madden Julien Oscillation) and what's happening in the Pacific over the Indian Ocean. Convection there drives the 8 phases of the oscillation which tend to be split between cold and warm depending on the month and time of year, In winter stronger convection in the western half of the Indian Ocean favors colder phases. When convection is more pronounced in the eastern half you get your warmer phases. In December 7, 8, and 1 are keys for cold here in the Midwest. You can see that in the phase analogs.

When the oscillation is 3, 4, 5, and 6 in December the analogs are mild.

Here's what the EURO MJO looks like. Follow the dotted green lines from now to December 24th. While it's not very amplified it does stay in the warmer phases all the way to Christmas.

The US based GFS from NCEP starts similar but quickly diverges heading into 7 and 8, (cold phases) as early as December 17th. That is a significant difference with important implications.

One of the things to watch in the days ahead is whether or not convection becomes dominate east or west in the Indian Ocean. That could tip the scales in favor of cold or warm phases and that will make a big difference in the type of temperatures and weather we experience. There's also the scenario where things remain convectively balanced and that puts the MJO in a null phase (in the middle) and limits its overall influence. That is possible for a time.

As it stands today, we have two camps and the fight rages on between models as to how cold and snowy the Midwest is over the next couple of weeks. Here's a perfect example of the issues that are tied to this stalemate. The operational EURO has this for snowfall the next 10 days.

The operational GFS shows this for the same period.

Yesterday it was just the opposite where the EURO was snowier and the GFS was on the dry side. I think the potential is there for an active and snowy storm track setting up somewhere the next few days but what stream it's associated with and how much phasing gets involved is just a toss up. After Friday all bets are off as far as I'm concerned. I do think next Monday is a time to watch for snow, especially if the GFS has a clue. Slow and steady is the way to go in this pattern. Just call me the tortoise.

Meantime, some of you will be getting up to light snow or flurries associated with a fast moving clipper that crosses my central counties during the first half of the morning. Limited moisture will keep the accumulations light, generally an inch of less. Maybe a few isolated spots pushing 2 inches but that is the worst case scenario and not not many will see that number verify. As you can see in this snowfall forecast, the snow band is barely 50 miles wide so many of you in the north and south won't even experience it.

The clipper is gone by mid-morning and then things look quiet going into Friday. Temperatures will also moderate to seasonal levels so the worst of the cold is over from this particular outbreak. Lots to sort out in the days ahead. Stay tuned and roll weather...TS


GIVE SANTA A BREAK! Christmas is less than 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 and learns here will open up the world of forecasting for years of enjoyment to come. Consider giving the gift of weather. Better hurry, only 8 desks still open. 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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