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HUFFING & PUFFING TO THE END

A MEAN OLD STORM

A beastly spring storm with winter characteristics pummeled the Midwest Wednesday with 40 to 50 mph wind gusts. Adding some serious insult were snow showers that at times produced low visibilities. With temperatures generally in the mid to upper 30s, it was, as expected, a miserable April day!


I have been getting snowfall reports in that are fairly significant for so late in the season. It's not unusual to see snow showers in early April, but the 6.5 inches measured at the Dubuque Airport was out of the ordinary. The average in any given April there is 1.9 inches, but many years have seen no snow at all. This year's 6.5 inches makes this the 9th snowiest on record. The greatest amount ever occurred in the blizzard of 1973, when 19.8 inches of wind driven snow buried the city, to this day the greatest snow in Dubuque's history. I did a feature on that remarkable storm a few years ago, calling it Iowa's perfect storm, which I still believe it is. Click on the banner below to view.



Here are the totals from our recent storm, keep in mind that the snow melted in many areas as it fell. This is not the depth, but rather the measured water equivalent of the snow. Most of the snow fell in the eastern third of Iowa into NW Illinois.



Some regional reports.


The track produced the heaviest snows from EC Iowa into much of Wisconsin.


Here you can see the storm pinwheel in cyclonic flow over western Lake Michigan. An eye is still visible.


Rain is falling to the east of the storm, with snow showers still noted Tuesday to the west in the cold sector.


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WHEN DO WE PUT THIS MESS BEHIND US?

If you are searching for better weather, and who isn't, there is progress to be made, but it will take patience. This massive 500mb trough over the Great Lakes is cut off from the westerlies. It is currently feeding on itself, which over time weakens it as moisture and energy diminishes. Additionally, a kicker comes into play to force it back into the overall circulation in the form of another storm that rumbles out of the west this weekend. This animation shows the process as the current storm gets forced off the east coast to be replaced by the next one Sunday.



The implications of the animation are that it takes some time to get the trough far enough east to allow the NW flow to subside and allow warmer air to return to the Midwest. Temperatures in my area struggle to get out of the low to mid 40s Thursday, with plenty of clouds and wind (although not quite as windy as Wednesday). There's even a chance of a brief rain or snow shower, but they would be scattered, brief, and light. Friday see's significantly less wind, a return to partial sunshine, with highs generally in the low 50s. Getting better.


Saturday, we are in between the remnants of the eastern storm and the next one arriving from the west, captured in the active mid-latitude wave train. That makes for a cool but pleasant day with highs mid to upper 50s, closer to normal. Sunday, the new system unleashes warm air advection that generates clouds and showers, perhaps a couple thundershowers. This does not clear the north til late in the day, so highs may have a hard time hitting 50 in the far NE. However, a warm front should pass the SW, allowing some afternoon sun and highs that may power into the range of 60-65. While it's a bit early to dial in on rain totals, models are again generous, with amounts exceeding 1/2 inch in many spots.


Monday and Tuesday we bring back spring with highs in the 60s and 70s expected. Here's the EURO meteogram for the Quad Cities over the next week.


As good as this looks, I don't think we've turned the corner on winter just yet. 5-day average temperature departures for the period April 13th-18th, look like this on the EURO. That is something we can all do without. The GFS is not seeing the cold yet, and let's hope its trend wins out in the end. I have my doubts.

There you have it, another day in paradise. Roll weather...TS

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