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Winter officially checked in Thursday evening at 9:27 P.M. The winter solstice marking the shortest day and longest night of the year. In the Northern Hemisphere, it occurs when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Capricorn, which is located at 23.5° south of the equator. From here on out, the days get longer!

As we enter what's typically the coldest time of the year, on a global scale, temperatures June through November have been significantly above pre-industrial levels. The chart below, provided by Copernicus EU, speaks for itself. According to the Copernicus Climate Change Service, November 2023 is the latest month when Earth’s average temperature has exceeded all previous records. This means that November is the sixth month in a row that smashed the previous record. This will lead to 2023 becoming the warmest year on record.

As we all know, this December is well on its way to being one of our warmest, especially with the temperatures that are coming over the Christmas holiday. Here's the month so far in the Quad Cities. At the International Airport in Moline, the month is running 6 degrees above normal, with a 60 degree day already posted on the 8th. At the NWS office in NW Davenport, two 58 degree highs have been registered.

Ironically, as temperatures climb this weekend, just a year ago we were embarking on a 6-day stretch of bitter cold weather. December 22-27th (there were 6 consecutive days with lows at or below zero in Davenport). The 22nd and 23rd were the coldest at minus 9. Winds at times reached 50–55 miles an hour, producing wind chills of 25-35 below zero. A burst of snow accompanied the cold with 1-5 inch reports common. Near and north of I-80, whiteout conditions were reported in the open country and blizzard warnings were issued in red. Elsewhere, winter storm warnings were posted in pink.

Here's the snow reports from a year ago.

A jack-knifed truck shown blocking I-80 in Coralville, Iowa, December 22, 2022.

This year, the name of the game will be warmer and wetter weather. These are the projected daily temperature departures on the EURO through December 26th.

As you can see in the NWS IDSS grids, some pretty remarkable Christmas weather is on the table. Highs in the Quad Cities December 23, 24th, and 25th are shown at 56, 58, and 53. While those are a bit short of records, the nighttime lows in the upper 40s to low 50s will give us a good crack at record warm lows. Temperatures are not shown going below 39 between now and December 27th. Quite the change from 9 below a year ago! Dew points of 50 or more represent a very moist air mass for this time of year. That will lead to periods of rain Friday and again later Christmas Eve day and Christmas itself. The max humidity values peak at 100% Friday-Monday, a strong indicator of low clouds and potential pockets of dense fog. It won't be pretty, but it sure will feel good.

Here's the hourly break-down of weather conditions Christmas Eve in the Quad Cities.

This is Christmas day.

As for rain, there are two rounds of significant forcing that should bring the bulk of what falls. The first comes Friday and the second stronger wave later Christmas Eve day (or evening) that carries into Christmas. There's a strong chance that Saturday will end up dry, and that looks to be the best day of the next 6.

In regard to rain, the long period of upglide and deep moisture shown is historically analoged as the type of set-up known to produce heavy precipitation, often 1–2 inches over a 2-3 day period. Below you can see the sup-tropical jet coming out of the Pacific taking aim on the Midwest. That spin in California is the energy that will drive the Christmas event.

Models continue to show some very beneficial rain totals Friday, December 22nd through December 26th. Confidence is high most spots will see 1 to as much as 2 inches of rain during that period. Take at look.



Once this system departs the middle of next week, I'm seeing very mixed signals as to the pattern evolution. Morning runs of the GFS and EURO were trending colder and potentially stormy. Tonight's runs were substantially different, much warmer and drier. I have been looking for a solid trend to take hold for two weeks, and I just can't get it. I spend hours upon hours trying to finish the puzzle. About the time I feel a pattern is taking hold, models flip. For that reason, I'm very cautious of making any sort of long range predictions, due to the fact I just don't feel confident about where things are headed. We are in an unprecedented period of global climate change and models are struggling to adapt. So am I. That said, I suspect the colder side of the ledger is where we are headed to start January. That said, I'm very suspect of any model solution (warm or cold) beyond 7 days. Just saying....

That's going to do it for this go round. Until next time, roll weather...TS



Enjoy some Holiday Magic at the Little White Church of Galena! Terry and I are offering fantastic holiday discounts from now through the end of January. Book now and any weekend from today through January 2024 is $600. That is the total price. The only exception is if you bring Rover. There is a small pet fee. This is a 50% savings, even dear old St. Nick can’t match it!

The Little White Church is a fully renovated 18th century church nestled in the valleys of Jo Daviess county…just a little over five miles to the center of downtown Galena. With all the amenities of a five-star hotel, the Little White Church offers beautiful historic touches with comfort and style. Every group we have hosted to date has given us a perfect 5-star rating. We are considered a Superhost by Arbnb.

We have five beds, three full bathrooms, full kitchen with dishware, small appliances, ice maker, a luxurious private master suite with en-suite and private deck, a large main floor deck, attached two-car garage, fire pit, gas grill, and 2700 sq feet of space to sprawl out You will not find a more modern and historic place to unwind and get away from it all. Furthermore, we are now decorated for the holidays, so get your holiday spirit cranked up and come and join us. I also can arrange a talk about the Christmas Eve weather scenario with Santa’s favorite meteorologist! Just text me at 563 676 3320.


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