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Here's something weird. We are currently at what's called a solar minimum. In other words, the number of spots on the sun is at the lowest level in 100 years.

Scientist have long touted the 11 year sunspot cycle where we usually see a pageant of magnetic energy that's great for the northern lights and and the men and women that study all things solar.

But going a step further, scientists think the 11-year cycle might be part of a larger one. Historical records show weak minimum cycles at the turn of century back to it could be that the solar cycle tapers every 100 years or so in what’s known as the Gleissberg Cycle. It’s not easy to establish the existence of a cycle that turns over on such a long timescale but there is evidence that it happens. In the graphic below notice the solar mins in red dating to 1720, 1820, 1920, and now 2020.

So here's where things get weird, guess what was going on in those 4 years when the sun was sleeping? People were getting sick in big numbers with significant pandemics near their peaks.Take a look.

Is it possible that history repeats itself every 100 years and the sun plays a role in global pandemics? I don't have a clue but it is a rather freaky coincidence. Think that over when you eat your Wheaties Thursday morning.

Well moving on, last night I was able to enjoy a thunderstorm as I cleaned out my garage. Had a good rain and about 45 minutes of lightning and thunder. The majority of the rain was north of HWY 30 in my area. The major reporting stations indicated amounts generally 1/3" or less but Doppler estimates as of 2:00 am Wednesday night showed significantly more than that (1.0 to 1.5") in bands where you see the yellow and orange depictions.

That disturbance is weakening early Thursday but there will be enough lingering forcing and influence from the next system to produce periods of clouds and some widely scattered showers. Temperatures will be impacted where the showers form. Rain cooled spots could hold in the 50s while drier locations reach the 60s. Best chances for showers seem to be in EC Iowa and especially NW Illinois. Those should fizzle early Thursday night with new ones likely by early Friday. Readings Friday will likely hold in the upper 50s to near 60.

Another formidable storm is shown cutting across the southern Midwest late Friday and Friday night. There's a wide range in options as to how the thing will impact my area to start the weekend. The GFS deepens and cuts-off an upper air low that spins back a cold rain Saturday and Saturday night, especially from the Mississippi east.

The EURO is not as deep, more of an open wave, and further south. That keeps things dry for all but my extreme southern counties Saturday. Notice the precipitation field substantially further southeast than the GFS.

The two solutions produce significant differences with regards to sensible weather. First check out temperatures. Without the rain the EURO has highs for most of my area in the 60s Saturday.

The GFS shows 40s and even some 30s in Wisconsin.

On the topic of 30s, the reason they're shown is because the GFS drops several inches of wet snow in SC Wisconsin with snow showers as far south as NC Illinois..

Precipitation amounts are also significantly different. The drier and further southeast EURO shows amounts that look like this.

The GFS goes wild with 1-2" amounts from EC Iowa into NW Illinois and SC Wisconsin.

My take is that the GFS is far too strong, cold, and wet. I can't buy it. I am leaning heavily towards the less phased solution of the EURO. However, I would nudge it slightly further north and for that reason I could see a bit more precipitation into my southern and eastern counties Saturday. I can also visualize highs in the 50s where there are showers, and readings near 60 elsewhere, especially in Iowa. I'm hoping the GFS is way off base because if it isn't Saturday is going to be a really lousy day. I expect better conditions like what the EURO is offering. We'll see where this story goes tomorrow. Until then, roll weather...TS

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