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Well, a storm the had great promise at one point has turned into a far from memorable event. Just a tad more cold air and a smidgen more phasing and it could have been big. Too bad we weren't playing horseshoes!

Anyway, the first wave of energy has passed and in its wake 1-3" of snow fell in the NW third of my area Friday night. Elsewhere rain, sleet, and freezing rain prevailed creating a mess of its own. As of 1:00 am these are some of the snow totals reported on the Iowa Mesonet.

The snow line was very sharp and cut right through Cedar Rapids. On the northeast side where I live (in Marion) a good 1-2" fell. Just 5 miles south it was nothing but sleet, freezing rain, and some mixed snowflakes. This is a picture from my house at about 9:00pm. Hard to believe the previous day we were in the mid 50s. That is Nimbus the weather dog in the foreground. He's mostly Husky and he loved the wind and snow. Could not get him to come in. He just sat there and enjoyed the white gold....I was proud of him!

The region will be in a lull Saturday morning before the main energy ejects northeast during the day. Due to less phasing and the wave weakening and shearing as it moves northeast, the track is further east. That means the deformation band that spreads north during the day will have a tough time generating snow in the northwest third of my area, especially northwest of a line from Guttenburg to Independence and back to Marshalltown. Here, little if any accumulation is expected. Southeast of a line from just NW of Dubuque and Cedar Rapids on to Ottumwa and into western Illinois, 1-4" totals are anticipated. A few spots especially in EC Iowa and extreme NW Illinois might squeeze out 5".

The snow will begin south of I-80 in the mid to late morning and spread northward to HWY 20 by mid-afternoon.

These are the latest snowfall forecasts as 2:00 am Friday night.



The 3k NAM

The 12K NAM


Temperatures will be much colder Saturday and there will no issues with precipitation type. This time it's an all snow event. Temperatures in eastern Iowa will range from the low to mid 20s to the upper 20s in western Illinois.

Winds are going to be strong again in the range of 20-30 with some gusts more than 35 mph. These are the max wind gusts expected at 10 meters. just a bit off the surface. There will be some blowing and drifting of fresh snow, especially in open areas.

The winds combined with the cold temperatures will create wind chills in the single digits and teens.

To sum it up, we've got a good old fashioned January day on the way. After a cold quiet day Sunday another disturbance will bring some powdery snow back to the area Sunday evening. Most of the snow will be north of I-80 with accumulations of 1-2" near and north of HWY 30. We'll have more in that after we get this next wave out of here. Until next time, roll weather...TS

GET 'EM WHILE YOU CAN. ONLY TWO SPOTS LEFT TO WEATHER SCHOOL JANUARY 25TH. WE HAVE SOME OUTSTANDING PRESENTATIONS AND CASE STUDIES THAT I THINK YOU WILL VERY MUCH ENJOY. GET THE DETAILS BELOW. 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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