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The snowy start to January had many of us buried under 1 to 2 feet of snow just two days ago. It's put us in a position where sunshine is going to be at a premium the next 10–14 days. Why? Because warm, moist air is pouring into the Midwest. Being lighter than the frigid glacier of snow it's going over, it's forced to lift and condense, generating clouds and dense fog. Additionally, melting snow is now going into the lower atmosphere, which only serves to increase moisture and fog potential. Throw in a few disturbances which generate additional lift and precipitation, and you have a cloud breeding environment that looks tough to break for the foreseeable future.

Just look at the extent of the clouds nationwide Tuesday. I would estimate 90% of the continental U.S. was shrouded in cloud cover, most of it low and dense.

If you inspect the 500mb storm track the EURO is suggesting February 4th, a full latitude southwesterly fetch has the Gulf of Mexico (our moisture source), wide open over the middle of the nation.

These are PWAT's (available water vapor anomalies) on the EURO February 4th. Some are shown at 500 percent above early February norms. That's about 7 standard deviations above normal, which is about as extreme as it gets.

The high moisture levels are achieved by temperature departures up to 30 degrees above normal all the way to the Arctic circle.

Here's what the EURO meteogram looks like out 15 days for Davenport, Iowa. Once the snow pack is depleted, temperatures are free to take off, and they do around the beginning of February.

Snow depth is shown going from this Monday, January 22nd.

To this, February 4th. Talk about wiping the slate clean!

CPC put this out for its 8-14 day temperature outlook, a very high probability of much above normal temps.

A full thaw means we've injected 2-3+ inches of water into the hydrologic cycle through melting alone. Add to that widespread heavy rain and you have the makings of a problem. The EURO shows that, with a major wet Midwest storm around February 4-5th. Here's its 15-day precipitation departures.

It would add another 2–3 inches of rain that would combine with the 2-3 inch run-off from the snowmelt. If this scenario, or anything resembling it, were to occur, this would be a serious hydrologic issue for rivers and streams which a month ago would have seemed impossible. I do not want to get too far ahead of reality, there's still a whole range of solutions from good to bad that could occur, but at least for now this is the worst case solution on the table. I would suggest those of you with river interests to keep an eye on future developments.

The GFS is further east with the threat, but still shows the general trend of a wet pattern for much of the eastern half of the country.

As this all plays out in the coming two weeks, chances are high plenty of clouds and fog will dominate the pattern. Embedded in that from time to time will be disturbances that until further notice should generally be rainmakers. One of those is already on us Wednesday morning that rapidly departs in the afternoon. There's just a slight chance that the precipitation could start as a bit of freezing rain or a mix in the far north early Wednesday before quickly transitioning to rain.

The next disturbance could be a bit stronger but again, thermal parameters point to nothing more than a cold rain late Wednesday night or more likely Thursday. Between the two systems combined, here's what guidance indicates for rainfall potential.



The 3k NAM

The 12k NAM

As for temperatures, they are shown remaining very consistent Wednesday through Sunday. Highs should generally be in the 34-39 degree range, with lows 31-35.

Needless to say, we are in the dog days of winter, which means a long slog is ahead of us. But, at least for the next 2 weeks, it appears the worst of winter is a no show, and it couldn't come at a better time. Roll weather...TS P.S. Please consider a donation to the site. The future of TSwails depends on your generous contributions. Thanks for anything you can do!


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