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The strong winter storm for the weekend appears on track and the NWS has begun to issue advisories. Much of my area is now under a WINTER STORM WATCH starting Friday and ending Sunday. Snow or mixed precipitation will change to snow with heavy accumulations likely in much of the area. Significant icing is also possible in the southeast before the transition to snow. Travel is expected to become difficult.

Some parts of the area, mainly southeast of the Quad Cities could also see locally heavy rain before ice and finally snow. This is going to be a very complex and multi-faceted storm. It has lots of moisture to work with and total precipitation on the EURO looks like this.

Two waves of precipitation are expected. one Friday night and following what should be a short break Saturday morning, the main event arrives Saturday afternoon and evening. Best chances for mixed precipitation which could include freezing rain and sleet will be in the southeast half roughly SE of a line from Ottumwa to near Iowa City and on to Freeport, Illinois.

As for snowfall, that will be tricky due to the timing of precipitation transitions but it appears the best chances for the heaviest snow would be from about the Mississippi River on to the NW. This is still a bit in doubt and could fluctuate east or west depending on the final track of the storm. That is why a watch is in effect as opposed to a warning at this time. Here is what the EURO shows for total snowfall, which in spots could include accumulations from Friday night.

It's important to note this is just a model and often they over estimate the amount of snow. I would guess these are several inches too high. Even so. this could still be a big snow producer with the potential for a band of 5-10" totals. Perhaps a few spots with locally more in banding. In general, a lot of my area should see amounts of 4-7". I'm just showing the model as a guide to potential amounts and the placement of the primary snow axis. Other models have different interpretations. My feeling is eastern Iowa has the best chance of seeing the highest snowfall accumulations.

Here is what the GFS shows. Yesterday it had little if any snow so it has finally seen the light.

The 12k NAM This is something to keep an eye on as its track as it has trended further NW. That greatly impacts amounts near and east of the Mississippi.

As the storm evolves Saturday if will pull in colder air as northeast winds ramp up. Gusts over 30 mph can be expected Saturday and much of Saturday night, at least through Midnight. That will lead to some blowing and drifting and reduced visibility, especially in open areas.

Once again confidence is high on a strong winter storm with duel the components of ice and snow this weekend. Stay tuned as there are likely to be some revisions in the next 24 hours. Roll weather...TS

WEATHER SCHOOL STILL HAS A COUPLE OPENINGS. WE HAVE A GREAT PROGRAM THAT I FEEL GOOD ABOUT. GRAB A SPOT NOW! 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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