MARCHING TOWARDS MARCH (and spring)...
A weather system crossing the Midwest was responsible for generating the snow we endured Thursday. As I mentioned in my previous post Wednesday night, I was concerned about how much snow would actually fall. At that time forecasts were basically calling for 2-4 inches areawide. As I mentioned, support for totals like that was mixed, especially in the south due to a lack of phasing between two separate pieces of energy. Without the proper bundling, the split in the energy could send the piece necessary for our snow more to the NW limiting amounts in in my SE counties.
Early Thursday evening the mid-level water vapor imagery clearly shows a dry slot (in yellow) between the two energy streams coming right up into my area. Heavier snows are lining up out to the west in central Iowa as well as further southeast across parts of the Ohio Valley. At that time, not much had happened around here with broad weak forcing.
Radar at that time also confirmed the two distinct swaths of heavier winter precipitation west and east. The band near Des Moines had already dumped 4 inches on that city and was spreading northeast into my NW counties.
This 500mb depiction below also reveals the subtle northern feature required to trigger our snow.
During the evening, the tail end of that vorticity eventually clipped the NW half of my region producing the heaviest totals 2-4 inches there (even 5" around Dubuque). Further SE, amounts at the time of this posting seem to be less on the order of an inch or two. These are the snowfall reports I have available at this time. They will be updated early Friday morning.
Any lingering snow will be gone early Friday in the east leaving us with a cold Friday. Highs will not get above the low to mid 20s, coldest in any location that has 2 or more inches of snow on the ground. If all goes well, we should see some breaks in the clouds Friday afternoon.
The rest of the weekend looks excellent being spent under mostly sunny skies and warming temperatures. Highs Saturday should peak in the upper 30s to near 40 and remain in the 40-45 degree range Sunday.
That leads us into March, a month well known for its extremes and powerful storms, the direct result of stronger sunshine and the warmer air it brings into play. On the topic of warmer air, it does look like March is going to get off to a mild start. I first broached this topic about 10 days ago based on trends evident on the MJO (Madden Julien Oscillation). Let me put the MJO forecast up through March 10th and then I will comment below.
Based on tropical convection and its attendant feedback of energy, the MJO (dotted green line) is shown cycling into phase 4, 5, and finally 6 between this weekend and March 10th. As you can see on the phase temperature anomalies to the the right, during March, phase 4 is mild, phase 5 cools, but phase 6 is big for warmth. If you look at the long range meteograms for Cedar Rapids you can see both the EURO and GFS emulate those trends for phases 4 and 5 (up and then down some over the next 10 days). However, phase 6 is not reached until the 10th so assuming that is attained, we could see a big bump in temperatures at that time. Now, I'm basing that off a forecast so it's imperative the MJO cycle is accurate and timed properly. Let's hope that's the case and phase 6 is attained as that would bring smiles to many faces around the Midwest. But, we have to get there first! No guarantees.
The EURO MJO
The GFS MJO
Perhaps there is light at the end of winter's tunnel. (There always is, it's just a matter of when). I believe I will end it there for today. Thank you for visiting and have a fantastic weekend. Roll weather...TS
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