LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL...
A mean shot of cold air is punishing much of the nation with an early onslaught of Arctic air, frigid wind chills, and snow. Across my region, at least a trace of snow had been reported 6 of the last 8 days. Look at the extent of the snow that's fallen over that 8 day period around the nation.
Here in the Midwest, snowfall was 2 to 7 times greater than the mean for the period November 11-17th.
The polar air streaming over the still mild waters of the Great Lakes has produced an exceptional lake effect snow event, especially in western New York (most notably near Buffalo). Some spots have seen snowfall rates up to 5 inches an hour in the heavier plumes which are quite quite narrow, often 10-20 miles wide with thunder and lightning.
Notice too how sharp the cut-off is to the plumes. Here you can see visibility severely restricted in one part of Buffalo while little if anything is happening several blocks away. Amounts can go from 2 feet to 2 inches in short distances. At last report, Orchard Park a southern suburb of Buffalo had measured 66 inches of snow since the start of the storm. North Buffalo reports only 8 inches.
For those in the heart of the snow band, here's some examples of what happens. Oh my, would I love to get in on that!
Here's the forecast for total snowfall from the event which gives you a good idea of how small but intense the snowfall bands are downwind of the warm Great Lakes of Erie and Ontario.
These are the high temperature departures we've endured the past 7 days.
Below are the 7 day departures for the nation as a whole. Chilly across the board.
One more punch of cold air is set to swing through the area Saturday keeping temperatures nearly steady much of the day in the range of 20 north to 25 south. Wind chills in the single digits are anticipated all day long thanks to brisk NW winds. A few scattered flurries are again quite possible. Saturday evening the HRRR shows sub-zero chills in the NE half of my area.
Fortunately, this new wave of cold air moves out quickly signaling the end of this Arctic outbreak. After readings fall into the range of 10-15 degrees Saturday evening, winds swing to the W/SW allowing temperatures to remain steady or even rise a few degrees the rest of the night. Sunday remains chilly but we will see a nice recovery with highs climbing into the range of 30-35 degrees.
WARMER DAYS WILL BE HERE AGAIN...
By now the upper level flow is losing amplitude and it's connection to polar air. As such we finally go back above freezing for highs Monday. The warming trend continues through Thanksgiving as zonal flow and Pacific air mix into the pattern. Highs should at least be seasonal in the 40s to perhaps near 50 in the south Tuesday and Wednesday. The EURO ensemble meteogram indicates readings like this for Thanksgiving week in the Quad Cities.
I don't see any meaningful precipitation potential until later Thanksgiving day or the following Friday. Even that is low confidence, the result of track and intensity disputes among guidance. Models continue to struggle with the energetic pattern and the evolution of a new trough and how much it digs into the Midwest late next week. Recent trends suggest clouds and at least a chance of showers, especially later Thanksgiving day. Better chances for rain or snow exist Thursday night and perhaps part of Friday. It's likely to be at least another day or so before more comprehensive data enters the west coast grids allowing us to get a better handle on what the outcome for Thanksgiving will be.
That then is all I have for you today. Enjoy your weekend and stay warm. Roll weather...TS