MISERY LOVES COMPANY (IT'S A FULL HOUSE)...
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MISERY LOVES COMPANY...
We've all heard that saying, misery loves company and it applies to the weather as much as anything else. We've been in a snowy unsettled pattern recently. Yet despite the snow, we have so far avoided that bitter cold air that January and early February is known for. That's about to change and I'll get into that in a bit.
First, let's talk snow and the prospects for more. This is what the Midwest Regional Climate Summary is showing for snow so far this winter. It's pretty apparent that there have been two primary storm tracks. One through NW Iowa and much of Minnesota and the other cuts from SW to NE through Iowa and into SW Wisconsin. It's that second band that has produced well above normal snow over the NW half of my area.
The core of that band goes from WC Iowa through Des Moines and on to Dubuque. Below you can see the current seasonal snowfall departures with Des Moines leading the way at +22 and Dubuque right behind at +18. Dubuque in my area has had over 40" for the winter with a least two good snow producing months ahead. There's always exceptions to the rule but in my experience when it's your year, it's your year. The meaningful snow producing systems tend to find you, and I think there's a good chance that will be the case going forward!
Going forward there's a lull in the action through midweek and even a warming trend Wednesday that gets highs near to slightly above freezing. Way down south of HWY 34 with less snow cover, readings might even push 40. You will want to enjoy the relative warmth as a clipper like system Thursday initiates a major change to very cold weather by the weekend. It also brings snow or rain changing to snow Thursday. The animation below shows the system digging SE.
The tricky part about this storm is how far the system digs and how energy phases. The latest trends but more emphasis on the digging process which develops a surface low in Missouri that deepens and swings NE. This colder deeper solution has access to more moisture and that in turn generates more snow in my area.
One other little detail that we just went through is that precipitation starts as rain in most spots and then changes to snow. How soon and where that happens will have a major impact on snow totals. I'm not yet sure how this plays out but I suspect trends will be much clearer in the next 24 hours. Here's some early snowfall forecasts which show the ranges. Remember, this is just the raw model output. Nothing more than guidance at this point so be prepared for changes.
The 12K NAM
By the time whatever snow stops falling in your area, temperatures will have crashed into the teens and will continue to plunge on the way to some ugly levels this weekend. The Arctic hounds will be howling!
Get a load of this 500mb pattern. That sure looks like a displaced polar vortex to me.
All the models are on board with the cold so the confidence factor is quite high. On Sunday the ERUO ensemble shows a 90-100 percent chance of sub-zero temperatures down to Dubuque and Cedar Rapids.
By then, odds are about 50 percent in my western counties that temperatures will be at least 30 degrees below normal.
Come Sunday, lows on the EURO range from 15 below in the west to 5 below east.
Wind chills are in the extremely dangerous territory of -35 in eastern Iowa.
As I was saying earlier, misery loves company and in this case the house is full. In all honesty, beyond Wednesday the next five days are going to be tough ones and not for the faint of heart. Roll weather...TS