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For many of us, Tuesday was like being in a heavily shaken snow globe. Big fat "Charlie Brown" snowflakes fell much of the day, clinging to everything but the roads, which remained in pretty good shape due to unusually warm soil temperatures and surface temperatures close to freezing. I, for one, appreciated the post card scenery. Just wish it could have been a week earlier. So it goes. Here's some of Thursday's snow reports from the Iowa Mesonet.

This storm has been meandering the central U.S. since December 22nd. Over its lifespan, this is the snow it's produced.

Liquid precipitation over that time has amounted to .50 to 1.50 inches. That was very much needed and welcome, despite the dreary Christmas it produced. Had that all come as snow at a standard 10:1 ratio, amounts of 5–15 inches would have been common.

Personally, I was thrilled to get the 5 inches we picked up here in Dubuque. Below you can see my new snow gauge that was given to me by my longtime friend Jeff "Homebody" Hanson. Pretty fancy huh! I can read it without leaving the house. The only problem is what happens if I get over a foot (an issue I would gladly tolerate). At the time I took the picture, we were nearing the 3-inch mark and in a lull. Later, another snow burst got me up to the 5-inch benchmark. I just put the gauge in the ground a day ago. I said at the time I unwrapped it that it was a good luck charm for snow. So far, so good!

After a week-long visit, our big upper air storm is finally encountering a kicker. That allows it to be kicked east and progress out of the Midwest Friday, only to be followed by a weaker reflection Sunday. You can see the sequence of events at 500mb Thursday through Sunday in the animation below.

That results in a general NW flow that will keep temperatures slightly above normal. Aside from some snow showers in the NE Sunday, the active storm track looks to avoid us to start the New Year. In fact, the overall pattern appears rather tranquil through the first week of January.

One thing I do find interesting is the EURO weeklies, indicating a 46-day period with the mean of the Arctic Oscillation (AO) remaining negative. (See the green line compared to the base level of zero).

That's usually a strong signal that the polar vortex is weaker, which allows the colder air of the Polar regions to penetrate the mid-latitudes. At face value, that should increase high pressure in Canada and the chances of seeing below normal temperatures. Also notice the control (blue line), it is off the charts negative in early February. That would suggest to me that some of its extended ensemble members are seeing a significant cold air outbreak around that time. Perhaps a polar vortex visitation. That's down the road but something worth watching in January.

Meantime, things look pretty quiet until January 7th when the wave train should become active and in play once again. With that, I will wrap this up and wish you all a good Friday. Nothing like a short week! Roll weather...TS



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