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Welcome to March. While the lion sleeps tonight, it is set to roar by Friday when a powerful winter storm takes aim on the region. Still some doubt though as to how it impacts the immediate area. More on that in a second.

First, regarding March coming in like a Lion. The pre requisite for such a thing is a day with active weather. That could include snow, rain, wind, or anything considered extreme in the weather world. The NWS in the Quad Cities did some nice research and came up with this summation of March 1st weather based on precipitation in the Quad Cities and Dubuque. As you can see, it's about 3 times more common for the month to start as a "lamb" as opposed to that loud mouth lion that loves to roar.

By the way, one of the most lambish starts to the month was found in 1992 when the high in the Quad Cities (Moline) hit 72 and reached 63 in Dubuque. By the way that day it reached 75 in Burlington and 71 in Cedar Rapids! When it comes to lion like cold 1962 takes the cake. That day the lion of the north was roaring with lows of 20 below in Cedar Rapids and Dubuque, 13 below Moline, and minus 11 in Burlington.


Over the past 24 hours data has come in mixed on a classic looking storm with all the trimmings including heavy snow and gusty winds. While the disturbance is still 2 days away, it is showing up on GOES satellite with the energy pouring down the west coast of the nation.

At 500mb, the energy in the form of a closed low dips into California and then begins its turn east, finally lifting northeast across Missouri Friday on the way to the Great Lakes.

Unfortunately, the challenge of determining the anount of phasing (as I noted yesterday) is rearing its head today. Phasing is the interaction of the northern and southern jet streams. If the northern branch (polar jet) can mingle or merge with the southern branch (sub-tropical) it tightens the storm, strengthens it and pulls it further north. The EURO and 3k NAM are on that band wagon. The GFS sees less interaction and is weaker and further southeast, missing the NW half of my area and only grazing the southeast with minor accumulations. Here's the difference that makes in terms of suggested snowfall. These are ensemble forecasts comprised of numerous members. Night and day to be sure.

The EURO ensemble control....snowy

The GFS ensemble..."not" snowy

Here's the EURO ensemble low pressure plots from its 51 members. The clustering supports the surface low passing somewhere within 75 miles of St Louis Friday at noon.

The GFS members are essentially indicating loose clustering much further south across the tip of Illinois, far from St. Louis. That's why you see the difference in projected snow totals.

This is also interesting, it's the odds of 3 inches of snow on the EURO ensemble vs. the GFS ensemble.

The EURO depicting generally 50-80 percent odds across the region.

The GFS is less than 10% northwest of the Quad Cities, 10-30% southeast of there.

To complicate things further, the 12K NAM is snowy and in the northern camp of the EURO suggesting this for snow totals.

On the other hand, the Canadian GEM indicates a complete miss over the central Midwest in general.

The national blend of models is in the camp of the EURO.

It's like the devil on one shoulder and the angel on the other. What to do? I'll be straight with you, I am not sure how to read the cards. I can see support for both solutions, all tied to the amount of phasing and the resultant intenisty of the storm. I have noticed the EURO shifting slightly southeast and I like that idea. I think the GFS is just too far southeast and is likely to come further northwest ( I will say its trend is very troubling and really leads to low confidence). Perhaps the GFS has the right idea and if so this storm turns out to be a nothing burger for my area. I rather doubt that ends up being the case.

Clearly, we need more time to get things buttoned up. But for now I am leaning towards the EURO solution of more snow in my area with the maximum band focused SW to NE through the Quad Cities where some heavy amounts are possible. If the snowy trends prevail, the NWS may put out winter storm watches for parts ot the area at some point Wednesday afternoon. Something has to give and I hope the fight is resolved by Wednesday evening. About all I can say is expect revisions and pay attention to updates if you have travel plans Friday. Welcome to March! Roll weather...TS



I still have the coming weekend open at my Airbnb just north of Galena. You can get 2 nights for the price of one. Plus, due to the short notice I will take an extra $100 off the price. The total cost is $400 dollars for both Friday and Saturday night, a savings of $600 bucks off the high season cost (as good as you'll ever get it).

Additonally, I am still doing 2 nights for the price of one through spring with some open dates still on the calendar. Treat that special somebody with a romatic trip to one of the regions most unique destinations. Or, split the cost with a friend and just get out of dodge. Dial Carolyn at 563-676-3320 or E-mail Carolyn at This is a first come first serve deal. Click the link for pictures and information.


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