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An energetic upper air pattern remains in place this weekend that will deliver a couple periods of snow followed by much colder conditions Sunday into much of next week. Overall, I'm expecting a wintry weekendthat's befitting of late January!

The first snow maker on the dockett is not much more than a nusiance. It's associated with a clipper that zips southeast out of the upper Midwest Thursday night. The track keeps the best forcing well to the north but there is enough convergence and moisture ahead of the front to kick up a band of fast moving light snow. There may be some bursts of heavier snow but they won't last long and overall accumulations should be an inch to a dusting, heaviest in the NE half of my area. The snow band exits the region by noon. Here's some snowfall output from several models through noon Friday.



The 3k NAM

The Friday system also tightens the pressure gradient and some gusty winds of up to 30mph may cause some blowing and drifting. Temperatures are a little tricky too as warm air advection could get readings close to 40 in the south before colder air arrives behind the actual cold front. Readings in the rest of the region should range from the low 30s north to mid 30s central.


System number two is going to be the money maker for some of you plowboys and girls as it cuts a path across the region Saturday and Saturday night. The latest trends have inched the heavier snow band slightly to the north meaning it's the northern half of my area most favored for the heaviest snow. Basically the area north of I-80,with a strong emphasis from roughly HWY 30 north.

The critical element in defining the snow band is the depth of the cold air behind Friday's frontal passage. Current indications are that the cold front stalls in northern Missouri and central Illinois. As the clipper approaches late Friday night strong forcing takes place north of the thermal boundary in central and northern Iowa. After clear skies in the evening, saturation quickly takes place allowing clouds to rapidly increase and snow to develop around daybreak. That is the snow band that streaks into the region during the day Saturday.

There are still some questions regarding the exact position of the over-running north of the clipper that creates the snow band. It's looking more and more likely that snow of varying intensities falls in the northern half the region. As you move south of I-80 it tapers off sharply and in the far south (south of HWY 34) there may be little if any snow at all and temperatures could rise into the range of 35-40! Within the primary snow band temperatures cool quickly from the upper 20s near I-80 to the low 20s closer to HWY 20. Quite a range in weather conditions from north to south.

Right now accumulations of 3-6 inches seems a good bet north of I-80 and it's likely the NWS issues a winter weather advisory for that part of my area, (perhaps by daybreak Friday). South of I-80 amounts of 1-2 inches are indicated, maybe less than an inch in far SE Iowa and WC Illinois. Here's what models are suggestion for snow totals. Again, these are not hard forecasts, just raw model output that forecasts are made from. Things could still change with a minor shift north or south of the eventual track. I should also mention I'm using the Kuchera snow method which takes into accout higher snow ratios. These can be a bit inflated. Additionally, the totals include what falls Friday, generally and inch or less.



The Canadian

The 12K and 3k NAM are currently on thier own showing a more northerly solution. At least for now I feel that depiction is less likely.

The 3k NAM

The 12K NAM

At least for now, this is the official NWS forecast subject to change.


Sunday and really all of next week the door opens for Arctic air to move into the region. It appears it may come in a couple of waves but suffice it to say this is going to be a frigid period. A key factor that will limit modification is the deep fresh snow cover that appears will be in place. It's entirely possible that the north could see lows of 15-20 below if we get a night where winds are light allowing maximum radiational cooling. Overall, several nights of sub-zero cold are expected. Highs in the single digits to mid teens seem reasonable through the week. Over the next 7 days the GEM shows departures of 14-18 degrees per day! There should be some much needed moderation by next weekend.

Well, I guess it's fair to say winter is alive and well. I'll prove it to you over the next week! Have a spectacular weekend and roll weather...TS


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