January 3, 2020

The latest runs are in and the major operational models continue to produce a swath of snow that spreads from NW to SE across the region tonight. Snow should get going up in the NW by 5 and reach Cedar Rapids by 7 and then hit my far southeastern counties 8-9 pm. The EURO is the most bullish showing totals in the 1-3" range, especially southeast of a line from north of Waterloo to NE of Cedar Rapids and then close to the Quad Cities.

The GFS is a little lighter on qpf and has totals more in the range of 1-2" but is still focused in that same general area. 

The NWS offices from Des Moines and the Quad Cities have these story boards in effect for the event. It would not surprise me if they eventually put out winter weather advisories at some point.


I'll get one more look at new data later this afternoon and then snow will begin to develop over the northwest towards evening. I'm already seeing some development in NC Iowa

Temperatures will be near freezing with the onset of snow and then gradually fall into the mid to upper 20s by the time it ends later tonight. Winds should not be a big player reaching 15-20 after midnight. Any blowing would be minimal in the open country. That's all for now. Nice to see a little white gold back in the area. Roll weather...TS


STILL A HANDFUL OF WEATHER SCHOOL SPOTS AVAILABLE...BETTER HURRY 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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September 22, 2020

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© 2019 Terry Swails