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So far we've had it pretty good this winter. After a little scare around Halloween we've enjoyed well above normal temperatures in December and so far January too. But. all good things must end and signs are now pointing towards colder weather that could last into much of February. So far January temperatures look like this half way through the month.

Look what the GFS (and to some degree the EURO) are doing with the upper air pattern. A strong ridge is forecast to build in Alaska opening the door once again to much colder air masses. This is January 29th

The resulting temperature departure for the same day.

The transition is already underway as you can see in the 5 day temperature departures of the GFS ensembles.

Day 1-6

Days 6-11

Day 11-16

We're gonna get a taste of what's to come Sunday. These are the projected lows on the GFS

Just as bad these are the highs Sunday afternoon. Yea, sub-zero! Maybe a few degrees too cold but still a slap in the face!

Now that we've established cold is coming, we can focus on the upcoming storm due in Friday and Friday night. The first thing to get out is that confidence is high there is going to be a storm. Unfortunately there will be issues with precipitation types, especially in the south where snow will be followed by a period of freezing rain, sleet, and even plain old rain as a narrow layer of warm air aloft is drawn in the storm

One thing we can count on is that temperatures at the onset will start cold. A fresh arctic air mass will be in place preceding the arrival of precipitation. The dense nature of the arctic air will make it hard to dislodge. For this reason precipitation will begin as snow in all areas either late morning or early afternoon.Friday. For that reason now should last through the day and then the mix develops down south during the evening spreading north with time. Depending on which model you choose, the freezing rain (or rain) could briefly reach as far north as HWY 20. Right now that seems unlikely and a more likely push is somewhere close to HWY 30. Still plenty of time to get that issue resolved.

As far as snow accumulations are concerned, because of the issues regarding transition and track, raw model data could change significantly so i would caution putting great stock in any one solution, especially across the south. Amounts are more likely to verify in the north where snow will be the dominate form of precipitation. If I had to make a call right now I would say snow totals currently would range from 2" south to 5-6" north.With that, I bring you to the raw forecasts off the models. These will change in some way shape or form.



The 12K NAM

The Canadian (GEM)

The most bullish model on ice accumulations is the EURO. Here it is. Some concerning numbers over the southern 1/3rd of my area.

We should know more on where the trends are heading tomorrow, Until then, 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


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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