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The upper air pattern for much of the last 5 weeks has not been conducive to allow much in the way of cold air to penetrate the central Midwest. Any incursions have been meager and short in duration. Aside from that, storminess has been minimal. Most of the precipitation that's fallen the past month has come in one day! Not very exciting from the perspective of a meteorologist.

Despite the MJO being in less than a favorable position to deliver and Arctic shots. we are in the coldest time of the year and cold air due to its dense nature likes to push. That being the case it looks like a western trough, eastern ridge couplet will develop that puts the active storm track right over the central United States the next couple of weeks. With that type of pattern the the cold air will remain marginal by January standards but their should be at least enough around for some snow chances, especially for parts of the area this weekend.

This is what the EURO storm track looks like in 10 days January 16th. I see possibilities for winter there.

Fpr the jet to get that look it will take several days of energy entering the pattern off the Pacific. The first system to help carve and push the western trough further east is on the way this weekend. You can see a nice compact piece of energy with a near negative tilt pushing advancing through Missouri.

That will ignite a surface low that is projected to track from Oklahoma and up through the Ohio Valley Saturday.

A solution like that brings chances for some snow to the NW half of my area Friday night, with rain or snow changing to all snow in my southeastern counties. The system looks to be a wet one for some with total precipitation southeast of the Quad Cities pushing an inch on both the GFS and EURO.

How soon any rain transitions to snow will determine how much falls in that part of my area. As it stands now the EURO shows this for total snow. Actually 2 bands with a small split in the middle.

The GFS has this.

The concern I have is the depth of the cold air. If the push is not strong enough Friday it would mean more rain and that could take a bite out of accumulations. It could also alter the track and that means all kinds of headaches. Some models even keep the far NW part of my area almost void of snow. Assuming things go as they look now, the snow ends wherever it falls by Saturday morning in my NW counties but could linger into Saturday across the southeast (all depending on how the deformation band sets up and moves). The general range for snow at this point is 1-3"...perhaps 4" in a few spots. I'm sure there will be some twists and turns as we are still 4 days away. Whatever happens, the weekend will get off to a sloppy start.

Also Interesting, before the weekend storm we have some swings to deal with in terms of temperatures. With a front passing out of the area today readings will turn cooler and highs Tuesday and Wednesday hold in the 30s. Winds back to the south Thursday and we see a nice warm-up that will get highs in the 40s, maybe close to 50 from I-80 south. That's going to be short lived as a front veers winds back to the north Friday pulling in colder air and setting the stage for the wintry weather of the weekend. Stay tuned...

A FEW SPOTS STILL AVAILABLE FOR WEATHER SCHOOL... 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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