© 2019 Terry Swails

CRUNCH TIME, THE LATEST TRENDS ON WHO NEEDS THE SHOVEL...

February 24, 2020

JOIN US FOR A BRAND NEW EDITION OF WEATHER SCHOOL: SEVERE WEATHER 101

We have a brand new weather school planned for April 4th. This one is called Severe Storms 101. If you want to know more about the ins and outs of severe thunderstorms and how to forecast them this will be a great introductory session. There will be event simulations and a big focus on tornadoes. Some tips on chasing them as well. Aside from that there will be in depth focus on the 1968 EF5 Charles City tornado outbreak, the Parkersburg EF5 of 2008, and the rare mid-November EF4 Washington, Illinois twister that occurred November 17, 2013. Lots of compelling video and insights presented by 3 meteorologists. Contact Carolynswettstone@yahoo.com to sign up or click on the more details button in the graphic above to find out more!

 

THE LATEST TRENDS ON WHO IS IN THE PATH OF THE WINTER STORM...

It's after 2:00am on a Sunday night and I am faced with one of the more extreme forecasts I've had to deal with in a career full of them. If you've been following along I've been pushing the idea that during the past 24 hours models have evolved into 2 camps. The kinder, gentler European and Canadian GEM vs the extremely snowy and aggressive U.S. based models such as the GFS, 3K and 12K NAM.

 

My choice all along has been to side with the EURO and now that it has come in consistent 4 consecutive runs I have no choice but to follow its lead, Afterall, it's the best model known to man (especially this man) and it has earned my respect. No matter what other sources are saying or showing, this is the one that I trust. I'm betting the house on the EURO as I was all day Sunday.

 

That may sound easy but when you have models still showing 12-20" in the Quad Cities and the EURO is in the 2-4" range, it's easy to chicken out and hedge your bet. Frankly, I'm too old and crusty to play that game. So, I'm going with the general idea of the EURO when it comes to snowfall. Here's what the 0z EURO run shows for raw snowfall output. Give or take an inch I'm using it as a guide.

 

The EURO

Conversely the 0Z GFS shows this for snowfall potential. Much heavier further north and west

Last but not least, the 6Z 3k NAM is off the rails. Holy cow. it bombs the Quad Cities with 20.3" in Moline. If that happens I will be absolutely astounded! That's the range of options on the table in the QCA, 2-4 on the EURO to 20" on the 3k.NAM. That's about as extreme as I've ever seen or want to see again.

For the most part the snow does not begin in the south until Tuesday morning after sunrise so there is no immediate concern for travel issues.

 

I have no idea what the NWS offices will do regarding warnings and advisories but at this late hour Winter Storm Watches are out as far west as Ames and Des Moines and extend into NE Iowa.. As you can see above the EURO essentially keeps snow totals in most of central and eastern Iowa at 1" of less. The 2" line is generally SE of a line from Mt. Pleasant to Muscatine, Savanna, and Freeport. In my opinion most of the snow outside of southeast Iowa will not reach advisory levels let alone warning criteria. It will be interesting to see what the NWS does with headlines in most of eastern Iowa. Further east form far SE Iowa into Illinois I do see the need for advisories and an upgrade to winter storm warnings but most of the warnings if I were making the call would be out of my immediate forecast area. Only areas 15-30 miles E/SE of the Quad Cities might reach the warning threshold. Again that's out of my control and it is what it is.

 

To recap. (and this has been my expectation since early Sunday), snow accumulations in eastern Iowa should be 1" or less until you get closer to the Mississippi where amounts in the far southeast including the Quad Cities could pop into the 1-5' category. east of the river amounts of 2-6" are possible. In the far east, say east of a line from Galesburg to Kewanee and Princeton some 6-8" totals are possible...this is the area warnings are most likely.

 

We will get new data Monday morning that will confirm or deny my assessment. Until then, I'm calling it a day...a challenging one at that. Roll weather and stay tuned for updates..TS

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