NEXT STORM UP...
Friday's storm is nothing but a memory now as it spins a path into the northeast. In it's wake, a nice band of precipitation was laid down across the central Midwest. For some, it was the first measurable rain or snow in over three weeks. Here's a look at the liquid content thanks to the Iowa Mesonet. Most of my region came in with amounts in the range of 3/10s of an inch south to nearly an inch in EC Iowa.
As expected, all but my far northern counties had primarily rain. That's heartbreaking if you are a snow fan as the liquid amounts above would have translated into a 3 to 10 inch snowfall from south to north across my area. As it was, 6-10 inch totals were common further north where readings aloft were just a bit cooler across northern Iowa, southern Minnesota, and SW Wisconsin. Ruthven Iowa in the NW part of the state reported 12" of heavy wet snow. Don't I wish! I had about 1.5" of slushy snow with some freezing rain at my place in Dubuque.
Here's the final snow totals in Iowa with most of the accumulations near and north of HWY 20...about as expected.
Over the rest of the weekend the central Midwest will be in-between storm tracks keeping our weather dry and seasonally cool. Highs will show a pretty good spread with readings ranging from the mid 30s north to the low to mid 40s south. Good shopping weather if that's on your agenda.
THE NEXT STORM UP...
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The next storm quickly enters the weather picture early next week and promises to be slow and wet. Rain is expected to commence late Tuesday and may linger through Wednesday. Temperatures will initially be mild but will cool substantially as the storm slowly gyrates across the Plains, Midwest, and Ohio Valley. That lengthy process is expected to take the entire week as the system cuts off from the westerlies.
Confidence is high that the positioning of the energy keeps this a rain event for my area. At some point, snow showers may work their way into my area Wednesday night or Thursday as colder air wraps in on the back end of the storm. Little if any snow accumulation is current.ly expected. Total precipitation from the upcoming storm look respectable by December standards. Take a gander.
Temperatures through the middle of next week will remain above normal, with the peak of the warmth Wednesday when highs in the range of 46 north to 54 south are a possibility. At this point, a cold front slowly but surely advances across the region bringing colder air and a more seasonal brand of weather to the central Midwest around December 15th.
One thing is for sure, models are having a tremendously difficult time resolving the extreme blocking taking place in Canada and its impact on energy cutting beneath it. Here's the 500mb jet December 15th. All of the red at higher latitudes from Alaska to Greenland indicates the blocking at high latitudes giving models fits. It seems like every day a new scenario shows up (sometimes from run to run ( or every 6 hours). The wide array of solutions leads to low confidence in the forecast beyond day 6.
For example, the morning run of the GFS showed lows Christmas morning below zero in my northern counties.
The next run, 6 hours later has no hint of the Arctic air and readings in the 20s, some 20-25 degrees warmer.
It's just been really difficult to establish trends with so much inconsistency, not only in the operational models but in their ensembles which can usually clean some of the mystery up. I mean seriously, I might as well be rolling dice or playing rock, paper, scissors. Even teleconnections have been underperforming. I'm trying everything to pull a rabbit out of the hat beyond the middle of next week.
Due to all the challenges and uncertainty in the long range, I think it's best to focus on the short term (the next 6 days) and the part of the forecast which seems relatively straight forward. That said, I still think the week before Christmas is likely to be colder than average with the potential for a snow system in there at some point. The EPO, AO, and NAO are all in cold phases during that period indicating a strong tendency for below normal temperatures. To me, that hand is worth playing and so I will play it until I'm convinced otherwise.
That my friends is all I have for you. Enjoy your weekend and the holiday spirit this time of year brings. If you haven't sent your list in to Santa, you might want to get on it. Roll weather...TS