top of page
thumbnail_1 ts baner, future in your hands.png


Merry Christmas everybody,

Despite the "beautiful" weather preceding Christmas Santa made the rounds and has returned safely to the North Pole. Overall, the word out of mission control was that it was one of the slowest trips on record due to the unusual warmth that is covering much of North America, especially the Midwest.

The average speed of 150,000 miles per second was the slowest in modern times due to the extra water breaks necessary to keep the reindeer hydrated and properly fueled. In this image you can see how much of the Northern Hemisphere was above normal at the time of the flight.

Santa's team did spend two extra seconds in the mountains of northern Arizona where some fresh snow fell giving everybody a much needed burst of refreshment. Overall, snow was a limited issue over the United States as you can see below. To be honest, Rudolph flew with his nose on low most of the way!

As everybody regroups up at the pole today, we are again reminded of how much the weather changes from year to year. If you just look at the averages, a typical Christmas in my area sees a high near 30 and a low around 14. This year we live the high life with max temps. expected to reach near record levels. Some spots in SE Iowa and WC Illinois could give 60 a serious run, particularly south of I-80. The GFS has this for highs Christmas afternoon.

These balmy readings are a good 25-27 degrees above normal.

Here are the records for some major cities in my area that will be challenged later today.

Holiday travelers will have no reason for concern on the roads through Saturday as the weather remains warm and dry. This is the total precipitation forecast through Saturday on the GFS.

Things will get a little more interesting towards the end of the holiday weekend as a storm brings rain that some models show changing to snow before it ends Saturday night or Sunday, Best chances for snow would be in the NW half of my area. There's still plenty of uncertainty in how (or even if) the threat of snow plays out. We'll keep you up to date on the trends in coming posts. My current take is little if any accumulation in my area.

For now, it's time to enjoy family and friends and this fantastic time of year. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday and I thank you for making TSwails a small part of your life. Merry Christmas from my family to yours! Roll weather...

A FEW WEATHER SCHOOL SPOTS STILL AVAILABLE... 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

bottom of page