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Hi everyone, as you know, is a no-pay site; existing on voluntary subscriptions or personal donations. If you find value in the site, I'm asking kindly that you make the donation you feel is worthy. I'm suggesting $20.00, roughly a nickel a day. Less than 5% of my readers donate, so your gift is not only appreciated, it helps immensely. Your contribution, whatever you can swing, supports the content, infrastructure, and operational costs. Thanks for anything you can do!


It's good to be back in the saddle, so to speak. With the weather we have here in the Midwest, I'm never really in control of the weather, but I generally have a clue what's about to happen. With a stroke like I recently experienced, it's an out of control free-for--all. You just get the best help you can, hang on, and pray for the best. With forecasting, at least I feel like I'm in a position where I'm in the game, have some control and understanding. From here on out, I'll do all I can to stay away from strokes. Been there, done that, thank you very much. Stick a fork in them!

Over the past week, winter packed up and took the last train towards the coast. A week ago Monday morning lows were below zero and most of the area had 10–18 inches of snow cover. This past Monday, snow depths at 6:00am had shrunk to 1–2 inches in the SE to 3–6 inches NW. Heck, I even saw bare grass in spots that was actually green. I was questioning my post stroke vision at that point.

By the close of this coming Friday, the GFS shows it all gone on the level. Just drifts and piles, nothing more than fading memories. Even up near the Minnesota Canada border only an inch or two exists.

If you are wondering where the snow is falling, look no further than Anchorage, Alaska. Even by their standards, there's been a lot of snow this winter. So much has fallen (so far), more than 8.7 feet (2.65 meters) — that roofs on commercial buildings are collapsing around Anchorage and officials are urging residents to break out their shovels to avoid a similar fate at home. As of Tuesday morning, the recent three-day storm had dropped nearly 17 more inches of snow, pushing Alaska’s largest city past the 100-inch mark earlier than at any other time in its history. If trends continue, the city is well on track to break its all-time record of 134.5 inches.

Juneau, Alaska, has seen far more than its share, too. So far this month, 69.2 inches of snow have been recorded at the Juneau airport. The record for January was set in 2009 at 75.2 inches. The picture below was taken near Juneau.


It isn't necessarily a coincidence that much of Alaska was cold and stormy last week, while we were wet and rainy here. During winter, it's somewhat common for the weather here to be opposite than it is in Alaska. The reason being is that a storm track, bringing snow bearing moisture and cold to them, generally scoops mild Pacific air further south to us in the Midwest.

When Alaska is mild, often times the Midwest is cold and snowy. In effect, the cold that would normally grip Alaska is displaced and pushed into the Midwest. So if you notice the pattern has been cold in Alaska and there is a sudden stark change to mild, chances are within a few days the cold arrives here. Keep an eye on that little tid-bit called the Alaskan connection. A negative EPO is typically found when Alaska is mild and we are cold. The graphic below is a nice example of what North America looks like when dominated by a negative EPO. When the EPO is forecast to go negative, it's a solid winter teleconnection that can point the way to a pattern change involving colder weather.

At least for now, mid-winter cold will not be a problem for us. This is the 500mb jet this Friday on the GFS. There is a northerly component to the heights over Alaska, where it will be cold. Here in the Midwest southerly winds aloft dominate sending mild air our way. A classic omega block signature with troughs east and west and a ridge planted in the middle (in red).

Thursday the GFS sends highs to 50 as far north as Dubuque, with mid to upper 50s showing in southern Iowa.

Those readings are 20–24 degrees above normal. That is why most of our remaining snow pack takes a hit by the end of the week.

For all intents and purposes, the weather remains mild through the first two weeks of February. Relatively uneventful too. The period to watch is mid-February. Around the 15th, maybe a bit sooner, teleconnections have been (and continue) to point towards a pattern change driven by more ridging in NW Canada. That should serve to buckle the jet, bringing a healthy NW flow to the Midwest. That's not necessarily stormy (in fact it looks quite dry), but it should be notably colder. The EURO meteogram shows such a trend in temperatures through February 14th. Note the downward spike at the end of the period.

The big thing I'll be watching to see is whether the building ridge is temporary, or does it plant itself over western Canada (or even retrograde) further west. That's the colder solution. If it's more progressive and settles over the Plains or western Midwest, the cold air invasion would likely be brief. Wherever it sets up, you can clearly see the ridge and the slide the cold air would ride into the region.

The strength and position of that ridge will have much to say about how wintry the second half of February turns out. Will we make that Alaskan connection? Stay tuned. Roll weather...TS P.S. Please consider a donation to the site. The future of TSwails depends on your generous contributions. Thanks for anything you can do!

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