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It would be fair to say our weather has been fairly "extreme" the past 48 hours. The temperature has gone from a balmy 54 at 2:00 AM Sunday to a refreshing 24 Monday evening. The winds have switched from the south to the west with gusts to 40 mph. The rain has changed to light snow and with a wind chill of 8 we have gone from spring back to winter. How lovely! Nothing like a little whiplash.

On the satellite you can see the powerhouse storm that has brought the change. Its cold front now exiting the east coast and extending into Florida.

We were fortunate to be on the warm side of the system for most of its precipitation. These are the snowfall totals in the 10-20" category from central Nebraska into the eastern Dakotas and NW Minnesota through Monday 6am. Around Jamestown, South Dakota 26" fell with winds over 40 mph. Nice...

Here's some 6-7 foot drifts that closed I-94 near Fargo.

Rain was the big story around here. Many places were headed for one of the driest Decembers (if not the driest on record) and then came the rain. Much of my area saw 1 to as much as 1.5". Instead of a well below normal month, many places ended up above normal. Just 24 hours was all it took. The Quad Cities 1.28", Cedar Rapids 1.04", and Dubuque 1.11 set daily rainfall records for December 28th.

Going forward the pattern does include another storm but not until after the New Year. Quiet conditions will usher in 2020 all around the Midwest along with seasonal temperatures of 30-35.

Clouds will be back on the increase Thursday and Thursday night a low pressure will push across Missouri towards WC Illinois. Temperatures in much of my area (except the far NW) will likely be warm enough for rain to initially fall Thursday night. As the system passes colder air is drawn in changing the rain to snow. How soon that happens determines how much snow fall. The potential is there for 1-3 inches, especially over eastern Iowa and the NW tip of Illinois. The track and intensity of the system remains in doubt so we'll need to see how that's resolved in future runs to determine the the amount of snow. Systems with rain snow transitions such as this are very difficult to time and a change in the onset sooner or later can make a couple inches difference. Right now this is a low confidence forecast.

By the way, weather school is set for January 25th. I still have 4-5 spots out of 50 left. If you want to learn more about forecasting and working the models yourself, this is a great deal. 3 meteorologists will be presenting including myself along with some really compelling case studies.Get the scoop below. Roll weather...TS

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

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