top of page
thumbnail_1 ts baner, future in your hands.png


Before we get into the nuts and bolts of the forecast, back in early December the family and I were guests at Chestnut Mountain Ski resort in Galena. We hit the slopes, learned all about the ski industry, and have already run some videos on how snow is made, the lifts, the equipment, restaurants, and more. Very interesting stuff. This year is Chestnuts 60th anniversary and in this interview I talk with GM Mike Murphy about the changes that have taken place and why this is one of the best spots in the Midwest for family entertainment. Thanks to Jeff "Homeboy" Hanson for shooting the video!

Also keep in mind they've been making snow, have had some snow, and have more in the forecast. It's such a great winter destination and as a friend of, I encourage you to support them as they continue to make winter fun. As of today, they have 22 runs open, a base of 25-50 inches along with an inch of fresh powder.


The northwest third of my area picked up some light snow Monday night but that disturbance is on the way out. That should give the majority of my area a break from the active weather that's brought a little of everything the past few days.The only issue to keep an eye on is a small threat of some freezing drizzle or spotty snow showers Wednesday, generally near or north of HWY 20. I'm not very excited about that.

I am however, impressed with a late week storm that has the potential to bring a wide swath of snow and ice that could even change to rain for a time in my southern counties. The action gets underway Friday morning and could last into much of Friday night.

As with all systems at this distance, there is plenty of room for changes in track or intensity. Additionally, as it stands now much of the area near and south of HWY 30 could have issues with precipitation types. All models are in agreement that precipitation starts as snow Friday. However, as the day wears on warmer air gets drawn into the system and the freezing line inches north changing the snow to sleet or freezing rain, especially south of I-80 by evening. Then it's possible this area could even go over to rain or drizzle while the mix heads for my central counties. Meanwhile, north of HWY 30 snow continues to fall and should into the night.

This is just one scenario and the one the GFS and EURO are touting at this time. However, if the system ends up further north that is a warmer solution and one that could eat into snow totals across the south with more in the way of rain or a mix. Conversely, a little shift south and we get primarily a snow event and totals would go up. I personally think its unlikely we'll see a shift further south than what's shown now

I know you all like to see the raw model output of snowfall projections so I'll put it out. Just remember this is far from reality yet and could change dramatically. Also, models tend to be pretty zealous and overly high when it comes to totals, especially at this time frame. I can see the potential for a 4-8" band, especially near and north of HWY 30. Nobody count your chickens before they are hatched. Here's what models are showing for now. Very preliminary!



The Canadian GEM

The EURO shows this for freezing rain accretion.

I guess what we can safely say is that there is a significant storm threat Friday and the potential is there for some areas to get heavy snow. While we can say that with high confidence, it's much less certain where and just how much falls, particularly in my southern counties. That is something only time will tell us. Hurry up and wait! Roll weather...TS

LAST THING, STILL 2 SPOTS AVAILABLE FOR WEATHER SCHOOL. A GREAT BUNCH OF FOLKS COMING ALONG WITH SOME TERRIFIC CASE STUDIES YOU WILL ENJOY, ESPECIALLY 2011, THE YEAR OF THE TORNADO. AN IN DEPTH LOOK AT THE SUPER OUTBREAK OF APRIL 27TH IN ALABAMA AND THE JOPLIN TORNADO WHICH TOOK THE LIVES OF 160. YOU WANT TO LEARN WEATHER, YOU WANT TO BE HERE. 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. Along with a WEATHER SCHOOL admittance voucher, TSwails will send a special 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