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CHANGE OF SEASON ALERT

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THE OLD WEATHER BUFFET...

From all-time record highs, to tornadoes, hail, frigid temperatures, and even snowflakes, it's been tough keeping up with the weather scorecard the past 24 hours. On a positive note, all the region squeezed in on another day of record highs Tuesday in the 70s. Moline nearly hit 80 soaring to 79. That broke the daily record of 71, the February record of 76, and the all-time winter warmth record (December-February) of 76. Now that's a day.

Daily records were also confirmed in Dubuque and Cedar Rapids at 72, with Burlington hitting 77. Here's a list of all the records from around my area the past 2 days.


One of the more unique events of Tuesday was the immense afternoon temperature contrast measured across Iowa. At one point, late afternoon temperatures ranged from 79 in the Quad Cities to 12 in Sioux County in the NW tip of the state. That's a 67 degree spread! With wind chills included, it felt 100 degrees colder from northwest to southeast around 4:00pm. Wow, what can you say about that!


Here's a national perspective, showing the potent cold front slamming into the Midwest early in the afternoon.

Wind chills in North Dakota were 20 below, while highs in Texas reached 99 at Falcon Village.


CHANGE OF SEASONS

When you see temperature contrasts like those above, not only do you know that spring is stirring, you can very well guess a major change is coming. Sure enough, the front intercepted just enough moisture to pop some explosive thunderstorm development from the Quad Cities northeast to Chicago Tuesday evening. A tornado watch was issued for that general area before 5:00pm. Soon after, storms erupted and quickly became severe.


Around peak intensity in my area, the storms looked like this on NWS radar. The white and purple colors indicate hail cores, and there were plenty, with some producing stones as large as ping pong balls.

Ultimately, there were at least 6 reports of tornadoes, with 1 near Annawan, Illinois. A damage survey will be done there Wednesday to determine the strength of the twister. Below are storm reports issued by the NWS in the Quad Cities Tuesday. It looks like there were at least 20 reports of large hail, due largely to a couple of intense supercells.


The storms were the result of a powerful cold front which dropped temperatures around the area as much as 35 degrees in 3 hours Tuesday evening. A rocking NW wind over 40 delivered the chill. The cold air advection is also potent enough to generate strong forcing. That combined with a 155kt jet has created a band of post frontal snow showers overnight. Some areas may see a dusting on grassy and elevated surfaces as temperatures plummet. Most of the snow showers should be gone by daybreak. The GFS suggests only minor (if any) snow accumulations in this area.

For you early morning risers, you will want the big coat and gloves. Temperatures on the HRRR are shown down around 10-15 in most spots.

With stout winds continuing, morning wind chills of -2 to -9 are expected.

At noon, the GFS shows temperatures 41-45 degrees colder than 24 hours earlier. Actual highs should remain below freezing, in the range of 27–31 degrees.


THE WARMTH RETURNS FOR THE WEEKEND

By Thursday afternoon the intense shot of cold air is lifting out and a return flow of southerly winds sets up for the coming weekend. Highs return to the 60s Saturday and should be toasty once again Sunday, when record highs in the 70s are a real possibility. The GFS shows temperatures as much as 36 degrees above normal Sunday. If everything comes together just right, I could see a couple 80 degree highs in the south.

What a stretch of weather! It's not often that you see temperatures representative of all 4 seasons in 24 hours. We did it Tuesday with the extra sauce of rare February tornadoes, hail, and even snow. Like it or not, that was one heck of a day, one that was historic by winter standards! I rest my case. Roll weather...TS PLEASE With my recent health issues, I very much need to reach my fund-raising goals, but we are getting closer. To keep things as they are, I'm in humble need of your donation to the site more than ever. If you use it and find value in it, please consider a contribution. Thanks to you who have already helped the cause!

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