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We've got our first full day of winter under our belts and I would have to say we fared pretty well. Low temperatures Friday morning were mainly in the range of 39-45 (Keokuk held at 48), not bad compared to the norms, which are generally in the mid-teens. These are the 12-hour lows reported to the NWS Friday morning.

Here are the temperature departures for the month of December through the 20th. With the warmth to come, the darker orange and reds will expand SE in the days ahead. South Florida is about the only place in the country to have "slightly" below normal temperatures, and they can afford a few degrees there! Really, that is a scary warm map. This is happening very fast and right in front of our eyes. Like it or not, It's time to get our heads out of the sand regarding climate change.

I took a snapshot of December temperatures since 2006, and they look like this. The last December in my area with below normal temperatures was 2016. The proof is in the pudding that winters are trending warmer.

As for winter snowfall, (at the Moline International Airport), last year's snow was measured at 25.6" and the winter before of 2021-22 was even less at 24.6". The last really outstanding winter for snow was 2013-14 when 65.1 inches was measured. The most ever going back to 1884-85 was 69.7" during the winter of 1974-75. Average is about 34 inches but that number is steadily going down.

Christmas 2023 could be America's warmest and least snow-covered in at least two decades. Daily snow cover extent over N America is comfortably breaking record lows at the moment. The snowless ground also extends into Canada from the prairie provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan eastward into southern Ontario. Taking that into account, it's the least snow cover in North America for this time of year since at least 2005, as proclaimed by Eric Webb, a government meteorologist. Webb also noted this snow cover extent was more typical of early April, than around Christmas.

Just because we don't have snow, doesn't mean we won't have some weather to deal with this holiday period. A storm will wrap up over the Plains Saturday and spin its way into the region Christmas Eve and Christmas day, actually lingering into Wednesday of the coming week. You can watch the event unfold over the next 6 days ending December 28th.


Clearly there is a great deal of vorticity, as evidenced by the spinning nature of the circulation. That will provide the lift to bring rain into the region towards Christmas Eve. The timing is a bit slower than previous models indicated, and part of a trend that's been showing the past 24 hours. It allows Saturday as I've said all along to be a dry mild day, and now much of Sunday should end up that way before rain kicks in Sunday night. Once it arrives, the initial round of rain and its forcing lasts into the afternoon of Christmas day. That lifts out, and most of Christmas night and Tuesday will be dry. However, colder air spills in and by Tuesday temperatures crash from the 50s into the 30s as the cold core of the storm rolls overhead. Under the cold core, instability and another round of vorticity will likely generate renewed rain showers that turn to snow. These will be showery in nature, but some minor accumulations are possible late Tuesday night and Wednesday. Highs Wednesday will hold in the low 30s and Thursday may be hard-pressed to reach freezing, especially in the NW half. All of these alterations get going Christmas night.

The storm center's slower ejection also means the heaviest rain band will likely be concentrated more on central Iowa. Potential totals in my area are down at least 1/2 inch since yesterday. Even so, much of my area is in line for a welcome round of rain that should range from .50 to 1.00 inch plus. The heaviest should be found west of the Mississippi, where it's most needed.



Tuesday night through Thursday night, any lingering showers turn to snow, with the EURO and GFS showing this for snow totals. Considering the warmth of the ground and marginal surface temperatures, these amounts are probably a bit generous with melting in play. Either way, any accumulations would be on grassy and elevated surfaces and travel is not like to be impacted in any significant way.



There are also signs of a growing ridge building over Alaska in early January that would facilitate the creation of a colder pattern for the eastern half of the nation. How cold, and how long remains the big question? The GFS is the most aggressive with the cold showing a 500mb flow that looks like this January 7th. Note the ridge going up in Alaska and NW Canada.

While that may be a colder look here in the Midwest, it quite likely is a dry pattern, forcing the storm track to the south and on up the east coast. The GFS shows this for snow in the period January 1-7th.

The bottom line is our springlike weather is shutting down for a time after Christmas. As they say, all good things must come to an end. Absorb that Christmas spirit and roll weather...TS



Enjoy some Holiday Magic at the Little White Church of Galena! Terry and I are offering fantastic holiday discounts from now through the end of January. Book now and any weekend from today through January 2024 is $600. That is the total price. The only exception is if you bring Rover. There is a small pet fee. This is a 50% savings, even dear old St. Nick can’t match it!

The Little White Church is a fully renovated 18th century church nestled in the valleys of Jo Daviess county…just a little over five miles to the center of downtown Galena. With all the amenities of a five-star hotel, the Little White Church offers beautiful historic touches with comfort and style. Every group we have hosted to date has given us a perfect 5-star rating. We are considered a Superhost by Arbnb.

We have five beds, three full bathrooms, full kitchen with dishware, small appliances, ice maker, a luxurious private master suite with en-suite and private deck, a large main floor deck, attached two-car garage, fire pit, gas grill, and 2700 sq feet of space to sprawl out You will not find a more modern and historic place to unwind and get away from it all. Furthermore, we are now decorated for the holidays, so get your holiday spirit cranked up and come and join us. I also can arrange a talk about the Christmas Eve weather scenario with Santa’s favorite meteorologist! Just text me at 563 676 3320.



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