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FIRE IN THE HOLE...

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FIRE IN THE HOLE

"Fire in the hole" is an expression indicating that an explosive detonation in a determined space is imminent. It originated from miners, who needed to warn their co-workers that a charge had been set, and an explosion was imminent. Models are still struggling to pinpoint if and when it happens, but starting this weekend, fire is back in the hole, and we'll see how much damage, if any, it does to erase the mild weather of the past 3 weeks.


Short term, though, we are literally "on fire" with highs Monday in most areas of 50–55 degrees. I don't see much change in the overall air mass, which means similar temperatures Tuesday and again the potential early in the day for pockets of dense for. With the recent sunshine and much of our snow melted, the fog threat is not as significant, but the inversion aloft and low level moisture remains, making it worth a mention.


Wednesday and especially Thursday, the area comes under the influence of energy being ejected out of a trough to the west. An organized surface low zips northeast on a track that takes it well to the NW of the region. Very mild Pacific air is drawn northward that may allow 5,000 ft. temperatures (near 850mb) to reach +10 degrees C. The Davenport NWS indicates a +9 degree sounding at their office would make that a top 5 all-time 850 reading for February 7th. Most likely highs will remain in the mid to upper 50s Wednesday. However, ahead of the cold front and surface low Thursday, strong warm advection may send highs in the south into the low 60s. The EURO shows this for highs Thursday.

These are the existing high temperature records for February 7th and 8th. In most spots, odds are highest we make a strong run at records February 8th.


February 7th:

Cedar Rapids 57/1987

Dubuque 51/1882

Moline 59/2009

Burlington 66/2009


February 8th:

Cedar Rapids 57, 1925

Dubuque 55, 1925

Moline 63, 1990

Burlington 66, 1990

Record warm lows are also possible the morning of the 8th with readings in the low to mid 40s expected.


As for the dreaded cold front, it does not arrive until Thursday evening. That means much of the day will be dry allowing significant warmth and moderate moisture to pool. There is some CAPE indicating sufficient instability for scattered thunderstorms when the cold front passes.

The lightning flash density display from the EURO does indeed indicate lightning late Thursday afternoon or evening.

Some shear is also available, indicating a few low topped supercells, with gusty winds being the main threat. I doubt that we will see much in the way of severe weather, but a thunderstorm in early February is notable.


Temperatures begin to decline Friday, remaining in the 40s, with 30s expected over the weekend. That's about the time models start to diverge on many factors, making it hard to hear the canary in the coal mine. The next chunk of energy coming out of the west has potential to produce snow in some part of my area Sunday. To do it, phasing will need to take place for the system to travel far enough NW to catch my area. The EURO showed it big time in its 12z run, but has now pretty much eliminated the concern. The GFS never depicted the phasing and has consistently allowed the system to pass safely (and snow-free) to the south. The Canadian which had been more in the camp of the EURO with a colder snowier solution has also backed down. For what it's worth, this looks like a big win for the GFS with a nothingburger locally. Below are the GFS surface features early Monday. All the action is well south. The most likely outcome in my opinion.


The GFS

Things just continue to go downhill from here, with the EURO far colder and at times stormier than the GFS. By the 15th, my target date for the flip to cold for more than a week, the EURO shows this for a 500mb storm track.

That results in temperature departures that look like this. That would stick highs in the teens.

The GFS is a good 10-18 degrees warmer, with slightly above normal readings. That's a major difference.

Flat out, the EURO and its teleconnections are all in on a major cool-down the 15th and beyond. Just look at its negative AO (Arctic Oscillation) Index during the period the 15th-27th. That's nearly off the charts

The NAO, EPO, PNA, and WPO are all deep in cold phases. The SOI is also crashing, which is a strong signal for change. Back in the 16th of January, it was reading +31.36. Today, it is down to -36.41. That's a drop of almost 68 points.

All these factors are really hard to ignore, and I do not yet see why the GFS is dragging its heels. I would think if you built the foundation the way the EURO has, the stage it set for a surge of cold weather. Maybe the EURO is just plain wrong! That's possible. I'm seriously conflicted as to where the pattern goes. Hopefully, the next day or so brings much more in the way of agreement among the key players. I, for one, will be watching. Meantime, we have some early spring temperatures to enjoy the next few days. Roll weather...TS. PS Due to my recent health issues, I'm in need of your donation to the site more than ever. If you use it and find value in it, please consider a donation. Thanks to you who have already made a contribution!


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