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It wasn't totality, but even at 86%, the eclipse at my place Monday afternoon was pretty cool. Being lazy and cheap, I didn't have any of the special glasses necessary to actually look directly at the spectacle. However, I did have a couple of pieces of paper, so I went the pinhole route. I poked a nice clean hole in one piece of paper, held it in front of the other with my back to the eclipse, then looked at the shadow cast though the pinhole. The poor man's approach to eclipse viewing is shown below.

I did get it to work, but the wind was blowing the paper around quite a bit, so I was struggling to hold it steady. Fortunately for me, some dude laying cable two houses away saw me. I must have looked pathetic, as he appeared out of the shadows and asked me if I wanted to use the special glasses he had obtained for free. With no hesitation, I said you better believe it and the next thing you know, wallah...I'm staring that eclipse down with my own eyes. Next time it happens in 2044, I will advocate for that approach, assuming I'm still counted among the living! Totality must be an awesome experience.




I was looking back as some rainfall numbers while awaiting the eclipse and was reminded how 1 year ago today a major drought was unfolding in parts of the Midwest. Some places in Iowa from Ottumwa, to Vinton, Waterloo, and Charles City had rainfall deficits of 12–15 inches. Severe to extreme drought was the end result as last year's growing season concluded.

I'm happy to say that we've got the rain machine up and running again, especially in the SE third of Iowa, where 4–6 inches of rain has been measured the past 30 days.

Here are the anomalies which are in the 1-3 inch category.

Even more impressive are the totals over the past week in my area. From the Quad Cities north, 3-4 inch totals were common. I can even see here in Dubuque, the Mississippi is up nearly 2 feet. That's not saying much as it was super low, but that is a welcome gain.

Many places over the past 7 days came in 1–3 inches above normal. I finally had to mow my yard, a chore I'll be doing now for the next 7 months. I do love that green grass though, what a shame that rich emerald color only lasts a couple of weeks.


At least through the daytime Wednesday, the weather remains relatively quiet and dry. Some cooling is expected Tuesday, especially across the south, where highs should hold in the low to perhaps mid 60s. Upper 50s to low 60s are expected in the north. Clouds are expected to increase Wednesday, but enough filtered sun is expected to get highs in most spots into the low to mid 60s.

Wednesday night and Thursday, another one of these complex storms unfolds, with impacts tied to phasing of the northern and southern stream branches of the jet. The split between the two streams is evident Tuesday evening.

The merger (phasing) is well underway Wednesday evening, with a closed low forming over the Great Lakes.

At this point, the phasing looks to occur just far enough away to keep the heavy precipitation out of all by my far eastern counties. However, we are close enough to the forcing to get some backlash rains as far west as eastern Iowa. The larger totals occur east of the Mississippi, with amounts really going up over the eastern half of Illinois. Here's what models are currently suggesting for rainfall Wednesday night through Thursday night.



Phasing is always a challenge for models and with my region on the cusp of the heavier rainfall, faster phasing would mean higher amounts, slower means lower. Confidence as of this posting is moderate. I'll be curious to see the latest trends later Tuesday.

Fortunately, temperatures this time around are going to be warm enough to keep all precipitation rain. However, the deepening low does create strong northerly winds. That keeps highs on the backside of the system in the low to mid 50s Thursday and the mid to upper 50s Friday. Here's the surface depiction Thursday morning, showing the strong pressure gradient that will create a chilly, blustery and perhaps damp day at times.

If you are in need of better (more springlike) weather, there is good news for the weekend, especially Sunday. A rapid transition to westerly flow is anticipated that allows dry down-sloping westerly winds. After highs in the 60s Saturday, readings should soar into the 70s Sunday. Amen! With that, I would say Tuesday was one of those days that "ECLIPSED" my expectations. Until next time, roll weather...TS


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