ENOUGH WINTER ALREADY...
The first thing I saw Monday morning on my phone was a text from an old friend who lives near Marshalltown, Iowa. You can read the message yourself. While the snow he wrote the message in didn't amount to much, it is the 4th measurable snow of the season for him through October 26th. From what I can gather, that's never happened before in eastern Iowa. Thanks for thinking of me Kevin! Not a flake or a flurry to be found here in Portland, Maine. Poor me!
As mentioned (and was expected) this event was no big deal around my area but there were spots in the NW third of Iowa that measured up to 5 inches. Here's the totals reported on the Iowa Mesonet.
For the snow season so far, here are the amounts that have fallen nationwide through the 26th. I would estimate that 35 percent of the country has experienced their first flakes which is quite impressive.
With the snow on the ground over the Plains and the upper Midwest, it's created some exceptional cold air for so early in the season. Monday evening these were the 8:00 observations. Already down to 6 in the deep snow cover in central South Dakota. Estherville, Iowa was at 14 with a wind chill of 4.
Speaking of wind chills here's what we had going out to our northwest Monday. Some places 5-10 below Zero!
Just how cold we start the day area Tuesday depends on the amount of clearing that occurs overnight. We are still under a SW flow aloft and that is unlikely to permit clearing south and east of the Quad Cities. Northwest of there some breaks are likely with thinner cirrus the rule, especially as you get north of a line from Cedar Rapids to Dubuque. That's where readings are likely to be coldest. If full clearing could have been realized record lows in the 15-20 degree range would have been quite possible. Here's what the GFS shows for lows. These might be a couple degrees too warm or cold depending on the depth and amount of cloud cover.
THE COMING PATTERN
Tuesday promises to be another very fresh October day but the arrival of drier air should send clearing across the area from NW to SE as the morning unfolds. Even with some afternoon sunshine temperatures will be a good 15 degrees below normal. Highs will range form the low to mid 30 north to the upper 30s and low 40s central and south.
The next weather maker, a complex rain invent involving the remnants of hurricane Zeta will largely remain to the south of my area. Some light rain or a few showers could get up to the SE tip of Iowa and WC Illinois but a slight southward shift in track could leave even that area high and dry The GFS shows such a trend and I am leaning that way. This should be better defined in Tuesday afternoons model runs.
It does appear SE Louisiana (including New Orleans) will take a pretty good blow from what should be at least a category 2 hurricane when it reaches the coast. The EURO depicts landfall close to New Orleans.
From there the official track from NHC curls the storm northeast towards southern New England late in the week.
That big bend in the track is the key to the system avoiding my area. You can see the EURO brings a massive precipitation shield into the east with the NW fringe catching SE Iowa.
The GFS is further south and I think that makes sense and for that reason I'm inclined to go with it and its drier solution for now.
Assuming this system is a miss, it appears that we will enter into a quiet pattern that should persist for a couple weeks. Temperatures will also moderate as a more zonal flow develops aloft. This is the 16 day precipitation departure on the GFS which is bone dry
All things considered this wintry period looks to ease considerably once we get past Tuesday. More on that in the days to come. Roll weather...TS
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