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Despite the fact late day temperatures Tuesday were as much as 30 degrees colder over my southeast counties, it was what I would call manageable pain. Nothing to cry about, especially after a couple of days of record-breaking highs in the upper 70s to near 80. The dip in temperatures across the southeast Tuesday was due to a front that brought active thunderstorms and numerous hail producing storms Monday night.

Before we go any further, I want to give you some hard perspective on how unusual it is to see temperatures as warm as we did this past Sunday by looking at plots of the first 80 degree temperature in Cedar Rapids. This year, the first 80 degree high was Sunday, March 3rd. Previous to that, the earliest on record was March 16th, 2015 (nearly 2 weeks later). The average first 80 in Cedar Rapids is April 19th, more than 6 weeks later than what we saw this year. Even more impressive is the fact that in 1973, the first 80 did not occur until June 1st, that's 3 months later than this year. I just can't believe the insane amount of extreme weather we have seen in the past 2 months, including 3 severe weather outbreaks in my southeast counties, (before March 5th). That's unprecedented!

In fact, when you look at the combined number of thunderstorm and tornado warnings issued this year by the NWS in the Quad Cities service area, the number comes to 38. That's 13 more than the previous record of 27 set in 2017. This year's total of 38 through March 5th (essentially 2 months), is 17 more than the (entire year) of 1986 with just 21! Shut the front door man...

Below, you can see the 3 days when severe thunderstorm or tornado warnings were issued by DVN starting February 8th and ending March 4th. The number of storm reports for each day is also highlighted.


The front that brought us the cooler brand of weather was slow to clear its clouds in my SE counties Tuesday. The cloud canopy kept late day readings across the SE in the upper 40s. Meantime, the north enjoyed a beautiful day with lots of afternoon sunshine that kept temperatures 5-8 degrees warmer in the low to mid 50s.

Below, compare today's readings to those above at the same time yesterday

Here are the clouds that hindered warmth in the south and enhanced those 30 degree drops.

The next hurdle is a late week system ejecting out of a progressive western trough. Ahead of it, mixed sun and clouds will prevail Wednesday and Thursday, with highs mainly in the low to mid 50s (still well above normal). Precipitation is expected to develop with the disturbance Thursday evening and linger into Friday morning. With the system passing to the south, we'll be in the cool sector thanks to E/NE winds. Highs Friday may struggle to get out of the low 40s north, while the far south approaches the low 50s closer to the storm center. The GFS is a few degrees warmer and wetter further NW due to a more northerly track. For now, I prefer a less amplified solution and a track further to the southeast. Either way, this should be a good rain producer for the majority of my area, with amounts in spots greater than an inch. As for amounts, here's what guidance is suggesting for totals Thursday night and Friday.



The 3k NAM

Once this system departs, the weekend appears cool but quiet under the influence of high pressure. Highs will remain close to seasonal norms in the mid to upper 40s both Saturday and Sunday.


By the start of next week, another stretch of unseasonal warmth unfolds with highs expected to pop back into the 60s for at least 3, perhaps 4 days depending on the model. The EURO meteogram indicates highs back in the low to mid 60s March12-14th. Beyond that, steady cooling is indicated as a pattern change flips the Eastern Pacific Oscillation to negative and the North American Oscillation to positive, completely opposite of what we've been seeing the past few weeks. Chances of below normal temperatures are high after March 17th.

In fact, come March 19th, the EURO shows temperature departures 15–17 degrees below normal. That would be really noticeable.

Fortunately, for the time being, little if any snow is indicated with the arrival of the cold air.

Meantime, decent conditions will continue Wednesday with minimal, or shall we say manageable, pain in the cold air department. Until next time, roll weather...TS

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