BIG BLUE SKIES...
Those big blue skies were back with us Wednesday, along with highs that punched into the mid to upper 40s. Sometimes it's hard to keep in mind just how bitter cold it can be at this time of year when the hounds of winter are sleeping.
The other facet of our weather that pops out is how dry it has been and for how long. Below, you can see the daily precipitation reports for Davenport going back to May 1st, roughly the start of the growing season. Amazingly, only 2 of the 228 days (including today) had a 24-hour rainfall total greater than 1 inch. Of the past 228 days, 165 have been dry. 72 percent of our days since May 1st have seen no precipitation! Take that San Diego and Phoenix. Just as impressive, there was a 26-day stretch in Davenport where no measurable rain was measured August 15th through September 9th.
Another interesting statistic is that February in Davenport had more rain than any other month of the year. I don't have the records available, but that may be a first. For sure, it's very unusual
This fall (September-November) has been the 119th driest in WC Illinois and 118th in SE Iowa. That's out of 131 years of records. That's in the top 10% of driest falls. Coming on the heels of a very dry summer, we are going to need some generous spring rains to avoid drought again in the coming growing season.
Suffice it to say, we are in rut, with a low producing precipitation pattern that at least for now should last another 10 days, if not more. There is a system that dives SE Saturday that bares watching. You can see at 500mb a compact and focused bundle of energy cutting through Iowa on its way to Missouri. The track is still a little wobbly, but there should be a short period of respectable lift. Moisture is a negative issue against beneficial amounts.
As you will see in rain totals below, the track is still fluctuating enough that the location of the heavier rain band (perhaps 1/3 of an inch) is still in doubt. That will get firmed up Friday, if not earlier. Here's what models are indicating for rainfall Saturday. Personally, I prefer the lighter look of the EURO, especially with the dryness of the pattern the past 1–2 years.
The 12K NAM
If temperatures were just a tad cooler, this could have been snow set-up with some 1-3 inch accumulations. However, that appears to be too much to ask and this looks like a light but cold rain event. Here are the snowfall suggestions.
The 12K NAM
By the way, it's been at least 262 days since the last winter storm warning was issued in my area. Over the SE part of the nation, it's been 3–6 years.
If you are one of those hoping for a white Christmas, you better hope for a Christmas miracle. Here are the temperature departures December 15th through the 25th. Mildness of that magnitude does not bode well for snow.
As would be expected with warmth of such prominence, the GFS shows this for snow depth Christmas day.
The EURO is a bit more optimistic, but either way, the odds are not at all good for a white Christmas.
JUST FOR KICKS...
This may turn out to be nothing more than eye candy, but the GFS Wednesday showed a pattern far more conducive for winter weather around December 29th and beyond. A big ridge is going up over Alaska, creating a path for cold air while a storm is shown deepening over the central U.S.
The surface map has me drooling. However, it needs to be pointed out that this is a period 2 weeks out known as fantasyland in the weather world. Without a doubt, the details will change. Hopefully not dramatically, and the trend has merit and remains somewhat consistent. I, for one, am not holding my breath. The EURO shows far less phasing and allows the mild pattern to continue into 2024. That's certainly on the table.
On that note, I will wrap this up and hope that you all enjoy what promises to be another bright, beautiful December day. Roll weather....TS
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