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ATTACKED BY THE ARCTIC HOUND...

Even weathermen are not immune from the effects of Arctic air. Last week I was getting ready to ring in the New Year. I was upstairs in the bathroom and noticed an odd sound. It was subtle, like water was running somewhere in my house. I thought about it some and it occurred to me that I had heard that sound when I was running the outside faucet to water my yard. I decided to investigate.

I looked at the front yard outdoor faucet and it was closed and dry. Hmmm. Then I went downstairs and looked in the washroom. All fine and dandy there. I then went out the basement door and looked towards the lower level outdoor faucet. It was fine but on the concrete slab I could see water running from the corner of my basement. That is when I got that dreadful feeling that something was very wrong. Sure enough I went into the finished part of my basement, opened the door to witness water running down the wall. The carpet was covered in a sea of water up to 2 inches in deep in spots. Lake Swails had formed!


I was in a panic and knew I had to find a shut off valve. Having moved into the house just 5 months ago I was not familiar with the plumbing and traced the water lines to a bathroom. It had one of those tile ceilings with square grids that you can poke up and down to remove or secure them. I grabbed a broom and started poking up individual squares to reveal what was above. After lifting 5 or 6, I managed to find a water line valve and turned it. It made a hissing sound, a thud, and then abruptly all was quiet. The water was shut off to the room but good lord the damage was done.

As it turns out, A pipe froze in the pre-Christmas Arctic blast when we hit 13 below with a 40 below wind chill. Temperatures had remained cold enough that the problem remained dormant for several days. Then came the big thaw after Christmas when we hit 57 and boom, unbeknownst to me the pipe burst. I suspect the water had been running for more than a day when I found it and let me tell you, that is a very bad thing.

I called Service Master who was great and sent a crew immediately to start the clean up. They basically tore everything out, tossed the carpet and pad out the window, removed the baseboard and helped me haul half of my belongings out of the room which we were using for storage. Much of it was still unpacked and in boxes from our recent move. Cardboard boxes do not do well in standing water. What a mess.


When I called my insurance company they gave me the word that my deductible was a percent of the value of the home and my little broken pipe could cost me $3,000. That was a kick in the butt and the news that 2022 went out on for me. I was bitten by the Arctic hound (and my insurance coverage). Cry me a river, literally! Anyway, the clean-up continues and I will survive. Nobody was hurt and most of what was lost is replaceable. Time to forge on.


BACK TO WINTER...

Monday was another one of those extreme days where a foot of snow fell in the NW corner of Iowa with wind chills near 10 while the SE tip basked in highs as warm as 64 in Keokuk. In fact, Burlington, Iowa reached 62 and tied their record high previously set in 1998. Here's temperatures around the state at 2:45pm. Tuesday afternoon.

Again, just look at these extremes in SE Iowa and central Illinois where highs were as much as 35 degrees above normal around Galesburg.

Rain was also significant with the storm. Amounts of 1/2 to 1 inch were common through the region. That's a big rain in the dead of winter.

So far, the snowy side of the storm has remained well to the northwest. There were some impressive amounts though in SE South Dakota where 27 inches was measured near Lake Andes and 22" just NW of Sioux Falls.

The party is over now thanks to a cold front that has advanced through the region. Temperatures Wednesday and Thursday will remain in the low to mid 30s. While the rain and drizzle has departed, a new wave of forcing will generate snow showers Wednesday afternoon that will spin southeast on the backside of the upper air energy parked overhead. These are likely to be scattered around the region through Thursday. However, they will be light and with temperatures near freezing, minimal travel issues are expected. What little accumulation occurs is expected mainly on grassy and elevated surfaces. While a few places in the north could see an inch, most places will likely see 1/2 inch to a dusting. Here's what models are suggesting.


The EURO

The GFS

The 3k NAM

The 12K NAM

Following the storm, Friday and Saturday now look to be dry. However, another quick hitting disturbance could bring snow back to the area Saturday night and early Sunday. Models have been having a terrible time latching onto the energy and track of the resulting snow band. After a southward push the past 24 hours now the trend is further north. That puts at least the southern 2/3rds of my area in a spot where accumulating snow is possible. Confidence still remains low on how this plays out and I'm hoping the picture becomes clearer in the next 24 hours. For now, here is what is depicted for snowfall on the EURO and GFS.


The EURO

The GFS

As for weekend temperatures I don't see much fluctuation with highs Friday-Sunday mainly in the low to mid 30s, just a few degrees above normal.


By the way, I continue to see the MJO heading into its colder phases of 8, 1, and probably 2. That's a strong signal for colder weather sometime near or shortly after January 15th. Be that as it may, the deterministic models have not gone that way still showing a relatively mild pattern, certainly one void of any Arctic air. At least my basement pipes have that going for them! Roll weather...TS


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