IF IT WEREN'T FOR BAD LUCK...
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SIGNIFICANT STORM TRACKING WEST
There's and old TV show called Hee Haw that I used to watch back in the day. They would regularly do a skit and sing a song by Buck Owens and Roy Clark that contained these lyrics:
Deep, dark depression, excessive misery.
If it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all.
Gloom, despair, and agony on me
Personally, they pretty much sum up my luck with snow. No matter what I do or where I go, the snow seems to find a way to avoid me. That appears to be the case with the next significant snow maker which wants to curl right around my tepee dropping most of its white gold on my neighbors to the west. Even worse, I was teased into thinking there was hope and then just like with Charlie Brown, Lucy pulls the ball away and whoop, it's game over. This is what the EURO showed for snow potential Monday.
Tuesday, just 24 hours later it shifted to this. Amounts over me dropped from 11.1 inches to 1/2 inch. Oh the agony and despair! It's actually funny, you couldn't draw it up any more heartbreaking than that.
Emerging from my pity party, I need to mention that the GFS, 12K NAM and GEM are slightly further east and get 2-3" totals as far east as the Quad Cities. The new EURO just came down and it has a similar look. However, it's possible in the end all of these solutions might be just a bit too far east into the dry air leading to slightly lower totals. On the other hand, a stronger system than currently indicated could bring higher totals. Needless to say this could still swing either way and overall this remains a low confidence scenario. Even so, I expect winter storm watches will be issued for at least the western half of my area at some point.
As it is, this is what the latest models are now depicting. Some healthy snows are still on the table in the SW half of my area where 3-6" accumulations possible. For sure, the further west you go the higher and more likely those 3-6" amounts will be. Just east of the Quad Cities, a sharp cut-off to the snow is expected with minimal accumulations. The big question now is where will that sharp line set-up?
The 12K NAM
The EURO (the latest run just in has inched the 2" line east running from Dubuque to the Quad Cities and on to Peoria.
SO WHAT'S THE VERDICT
First and foremost, the snowfall output you've seen on the models is not intended to be used as forecasts. It's nothing more than raw model output that's looked at to establish trends and eventually make forecasts closer to the event. As I said in my last post Monday night, "things can and will change going forward, hopefully not drastically". Obviously they changed in a big way over my eastern counties.
With that in mind, and the event 3 days away, things are still subject to change. Perhaps the storms intensity increases in the next 24 hours getting us all back in the game. However, the trend is your friend and the latest trends continue to leave doubt regarding how much snow will fall on my Illinois counties. On a positive note (for me), the latest EURO as mentioned above, has pushed the 2" line about 40 miles further NE and that means all the models currently have 2-3" totals for the Quad Cities with lesser amounts in my far eastern counties. West of the Mississippi amounts are significantly higher.
Before the main show, Wednesday looks to be another mild day with more melting snow. That's followed up by another subtle little disturbance that streaks southeast Wednesday night. There appears to be enough forcing for saturation and thus a band of light snow or snow showers is expected to spread over much of the area late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning. QPF is minimal but a dusting is possible, perhaps a few spots could even squeeze out 1/2 of snow. The EURO and 12K NAM are the most bullish, most other models indicate trace amounts or less.
The 12k NAM
If nothing else, Tuesday was a nice day, the warmest to date in January. Here's what the month looks like so far in Cedar Rapids. Just one day above freezing and 6 lows below zero.
Had we not had snow cover Tuesday like areas to the west, readings would have easily been in the 40s and probably close to 50 in the far south. The satellite with mostly sunny skies shows the snow cover and river valley's nicely. Out in western Iowa the ground is bare so the white in that area is representative of high thin cirrus clouds.
Just look at the difference the snow made in temperatures. At 2:15pm Tuesday readings were near freezing in eastern Iowa under the snow pack but approaching 60 in WC Iowa near the Nebraska border without it.
After one more mild day the long range forecast looks very much on the cold side. The PNA (Pacific North America Oscillation) is finally moving out of the negative phase it was in for the month of December. It's now expected to remain positive until the end of the month.
That implies a trough over the east and a prolonged period of NW flow that's sure to bring plenty of cold to the Midwest. Below the EURO shows a mean looking 500mb pattern for cold.
In fact, the 7 day temperature departure January 20-27th is downright nasty, especially coming at what's traditionally the coldest time of the year!
That will do it for now. Tomorrow should be a telling day as we find out if the EURO and GFS can reach common ground on the track of the snowstorm and the impending amounts. I'm hoping the law of averages catches up to me and my luck changes but I'm not holding my breath. Stay tuned for the latest. Until then, roll weather...TS
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