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If you are looking for a white Christmas the only place you are going to find it in my area is at Chestnut Mountain resort in Galena, Illinois. The recent cold temperatures allowed the snow guns to fire on all cylinders and now they are 100% open and the skiing and snowboarding is good. They will also be up and running Christmas Day and boy do they have some great holiday deals to take advantage of.

Recently I took the family to Chestnut and we spent the weekend at the resort and were able to learn about what it takes to run a ski resort. From operating the snow guns, making quality snow from water that starts in the Mississippi, to operating the lifts, groomers, restaurants, lodge, and rental facilities, its a complex operation. We shot and produced several videos of the heart and soul of Chestnut Mountain that we'll be running in coming days. I hope you find them as interesting as we did experiencing and making them.


Getting back to the topic of why the central and southern Midwest won't be white this Christmas, you need to look no further than the key teleconnections of the MJO and EPO (eastern Pacific Oscillation). Here's the MJO forecasts of both the GFS and EURO through January 1st. They are very similar and up until December 30th both are shown traveling through the warm phases of 4, 5, and 6

The phase analogs show the temperature correlations to those specific phases in December. This is very reminiscent of what happened last December. Mild across the board.

I also mentioned the EPO. Here's what the EURO and GFS show it doing through the 1st of the year. In general the oscillation is positive and that is a strong signal for mild temperatures too.

This is the type of 500mb and surface reaction associated with the positive EPO. The cold is situated over SE Canada and the Northeast.

You get the MJO and EPO in sink like this in December and that's the kiss of death for snow and cold. We need to get that MJO into the colder phases to drive a negative response in the EPO and get winter back on track. This is what the EURO shows for temperatures in Cedar Rapids though December. 28th. Six days in the 40s leading up to Christmas. That's not easy to do!

To be honest, I don't see any really strong signals of colder MJO or EPO phases in the next 10 days. I'm very concerned about the strength of the pattern and that it might hold well into January. This is not what I had envisioned 2 months ago. Still time to get into the game (much like last year) but so far nothing concrete to indicate that in the long term trends. I'm getting nervous!

Meantime, mild dry weather looks to dominate right on through the weekend. My Christmas gift to those of you who are not fans of winter. 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 6 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

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.

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