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Well I'll tell you this much, winter was very much alive and thriving Saturday. Suffice it to say it was a "RAW" day for this time of year. After starting the morning at 8 degrees with a wind chill of 13 below zero here in Dubuque, it was still only 20 at 1:00 with horizontal snow showers in a 30 mph wind. The mail lady who walks her route was so bundled up all I could see was her eyes sticking out of a black ski mask. It was actually kind of creepy but I certainly understand the look. As she passed the house readings were about 25 degrees below normal.

Just about a mile above the ground at 850mb Saturday, the temperature was at -20C. (-5F.) That is flat out cold and it's a good thing its not early January or it would be far worse with the short days and low sun angle restricting highs to the single digits. The frigid air just above the surface was also generating the instability necessary for scattered snow showers.

Below you can see the 500mb vortex over Lake Superior that was driving the cold into the Midwest.

The strong cyclonic flow is evident on the satellite imagery with streamlines and gusts superimposed Saturday afternoon.

The worst of the cold spills east of the region Sunday as the vortex spins into Canada. Winds will turn W/SW and after a frigid start to the day in the teens. Highs will rise into the mid to upper 30s later in the day. Winds wont be quite so strong but will remain brisk keeping wind chills in the teens and 20s for the balance of the day. Fortunately sunshine will be plentiful. All in all it leads to a bright but crisp day!


Looking at 500mb jet stream heights, the 10 day mean features more of the consistent blocking at high latitudes. The blocking below is shown from Alaska through the polar regions into Greenland (the orange and yellow colors). South of that cold is pushing into the nation with troughing coming out of the southwest. That aims the baroclinic zone and storm track at the Midwest.



New energy could deliver some showers as early as Tuesday night only to be followed by another wave Wednesday night or Thursday. It does appear we should escape with just rain (maybe a mix in the far north). However, with plenty of clouds and periods of light precipitation temperatures at best are likely to remain in the 40s and 50s. Wednesday is likely to be the warmest day of the week.

Here's week one temperature departures ending March 25th

Week 2 ending April 2 is even colder...clearly going the wrong direction!

Precipitation over the next 15 days is projected to be near to above normal over the majority of the central Midwest.

I think the screaming message the next 10 days or so is that the pattern is aggressive and on the move. Expect cool temperatures in the 40s and 50s with periods of showers Tuesday night and again Thursday. Details on track, intensity, precip. type, and amounts are still in flux. There's much to be determined which means a low confidence forecast until the picture clears up in coming days. For now have a terrific Sunday and roll weather...TS


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