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Snow is falling at my house in Marion, Iowa and will quickly advance east across the rest of my area through early afternoon. It will be heavy at times accompanied by gusty winds up to 30 mph. Low visibilities and snow covered roads will make for difficult travel conditions.

The widespread accumulating snow will eventually mix with sleet, freezing rain and even rain in the south towards evening. The mix will advance into my central counties later in the evening. North of HWY 30, most of the precipitation will remain in the form of snow, especially from HWY 20 north. Snow accumulations of 3-6" look likely, along with ice accumulations of up to 1/4". The greatest ice accumulations are anticipated near or just south of I-80. Locally higher amounts of snow may occur in areas where snow ratios are greater and the mix is avoided, again north of HWY 30 and especially in eastern Iowa.

Saturday morning, very strong northwest winds gusting as high as 45 mph will lead to blowing and drifting snow resulting in greatly reduced visibility, especially in areas where there is no glaze from freezing rain or sleet. Again, this issue is most likely in the northern third of the area.

Winter storm warnings remain in effect of much of the region north of I-80 in Iowa. The rest of my area is under a winter weather advisory.

The latest snowfall models are are bullish on several inches of snow. Initially the snow will be dry, especially in the northern half of the area and will exceed ratios of 10:1 for several hours. Therefore I am using the Kuchera method of snow forecasting which takes that into account. I also added the standard 10:1 ratio for comparison. I prefer the EURO Kuchera version as I think the GFS is overdoing the amount of overall precipitation. Here you go.

The EURO...Kuchera

The EURO 10:1

The GFS...Kuchera

The GFS 10:1

Most of the heavier snow will be out of the south by evening and the rest of the area by late evening (10:00 pm)

Some snow showers will redevelop later tonight and Saturday morning as the arctic air invades and again drops temperatures and squeezes out the remaining moisture. In total, most areas have a very good chance of seeing 3 to 5" accumulations from south to north with some local spots in the north around Waterloo getting 6 to perhaps 7" totals. That's all for now. 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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