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Introducing the newest member of the family, 9 week old Franklin John Swails, better known around the house as Frankie. He also goes by Batman. He came from the Western Illinois Humane Society in Monmouth. He's a lover and has already claimed a spot on my pillow. He enjoys a good belly rub and has a monster appetite. He's also content to set on my shoulder and look at weather charts. We have formed a fast bond. He says yo!


After a rapid warm-up Friday that sent temperatures soaring above the freezing mark, we're back in a hole today thanks to an Arctic front that whistled across the region Friday evening. Along it, snow squalls and gusty winds up to 40 mph ushered in the cold air that has most of us in the single digits as of Saturday morning. Along with that wind chills have entered the undesirable range of zero to 10 below. Ah winter...

Here's a video of a snow squall here in Le Claire, Iowa last evening when the area was under a snow squall warning.

Snow squall warnings are sort of a new thing at the NWS and I've only seen a handful issued over the past few years. Below you can see the warning I was involved in for intense but brief heavy snow accompanied by high winds and low visibility.

After close to an inch of snow the whole deal was over in less than an hour. Fortunately the winds will subside Saturday morning and sunshine will allow temperatures to get back into the low to mid 20s for highs. Even better, the next clipper is cued up to run north of us Sunday. That allows steady or rising temperatures Saturday night and highs Sunday will rocket into the low to mid 50s. The EURO shows this for highs.

Those readings are a good 20 degrees above normal. A keeper.


After that things go off the rails quickly as the GFS drags another cold front through the area before stalling it out in Missouri. That keeps highs Monday around 30 north to the mid 40s far south. The EURO and GEM do not allow the southward penetration of cold air like the GFS and thus they are considerably warmer with highs mid 40s north to nearly 60 in the extreme south. Just look at the side by side comparison of max temperatures Monday!


The difference in thermal parameters will be critical as to what happens with our next storm which will be a long duration event Monday night into Tuesday night. If you buy the EURO and GEM solutions, much of the winter weather avoids my area until the tail end of the system when showers change to freezing rain and finally light snow to end, especially NW of the Quad Cities. (There's also a period of freezing rain possible at the onset in the north before things go over to rain).

The colder surface temperatures of the GFS combined with a layer of warmer air aloft at 5,000 feet is a set-up ripe for freezing rain or sleet, at least in the north for much of the event. The southern half of my area would stay mainly a cold rain. Eventually, all areas would go over to light snow at the tail end of the storm. Below you can see the sleet and freezing rain depicted during the event on the GFS.


Freezing rain

After the performance of the GFS last week in the mid-range I'm a little hesitant to ride that horse. However, the undercutting by the dense cold Arctic air to the north is something models can have difficulty seeing at the surface and the GFS might be on to a trend there. I can't discount that possibility yet. This is going to take at least another day to resolve. In fact, the new EURO just in now shows a healthy band of freezing rain NW of a line from roughly Cedar Rapids to Dubuque developing Tuesday. I like the idea of the worst of this system in that part of my area. However, it's early and things will no doubt change to some degree. Therefore, we watch and wait.

Meantime, the stage is set for plenty of snow from far northern Iowa into Minnesota and Wisconsin where a long period of forcing generates snow for almost two days. It will be a fluffy snow too with significant winds and travel up that way could be difficult for some time. Here's what the GFS is currently showing for snow. You will notice it doesn't get much south of HWY 20 in my area.

The EURO is of the same mindset only a little further north. Here's what it shows for snow.

If it wasn't for the freezing rain potential I wouldn't be all that concerned about this event as QPF is generally light and the heavy snow is looking too far north to catch much of my area outside the extreme north. So without any ice it would not be anything to write home about. However, with that on the table it changes the game if it becomes a factor. As I said, another day should help clear things up.

There's another system late next week Thursday or Thursday night that also has the potential for snow so that's on the table as well. Busy times in my old weather office lately which is exactly the way I like it. Roll weather...TS


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