It's no secret that prior to this weekend winter was nowhere to be found in the Midwest. In fact, temperatures over the last month have been more typical of early November... and we're starting to enter what's typically the coldest time of year. Check out the temperature departures from the last month:
Fire! Temperatures running five to fifteen degrees above normal... and now we've gotten a reality check. We have ice and snow on the ground. It's cold. Winter has come back and it's here to stay for a bit. To start, here's a look at the Climate Prediction Center's outlook for the middle to end of January:
We haven't seen much "blue" (below normal) on these maps lately. And it means the cold is likely going to be with us for the next few weeks. The key right now is the active pattern we have going on. The Midwest is sitting in the "battle zone" on the edge of a trough and a ridge.
This is an area where storms tend to track and we've already seen it happen this weekend. Another system moved through the Midwest Sunday night. That will reinforce the cold air in place and keep temperatures close to normal Monday.
There will then be another weak system that moves through Monday night into Tuesday and it may deliver another shot of light snow to some spots.
There will be another system Wednesday and another Friday. It's too far out to know the exact tracks of these systems but they will have the potential to produce rain, ice, and snow. We'll be keeping an eye on the potential for ice and snow accumulation in the Upper Midwest.
As a result of systems coming through the Midwest there will be ups and downs in the temperatures. However, we'll likely start to see some much colder days as these systems drag down colder and colder air. Here's a look at the GFS's numbers for Cedar Rapids:
And the Quad Cities:
The exact numbers will change, but the just wanted to show the trend of temperatures running near/slightly above normal to going down below normal, especially around the 20th of January. The pattern will likely remain active and wintry for a while...