ONE LAST HELPING OF MEAT N POTATO
After one of the nicest mid-November days possible Wednesday, we get another helping of meat and potatoes Thursday before switching over to leftovers Friday. The only issue with Thursday's menu will be wind, which may gust 30-40 mph from the southwest. High clouds will begin to filter in during the afternoon ahead of a cold front that may kick up a few showers Thursday night before abruptly ending our "fall fling" Friday. Before that, highs again will reach the mid to upper 60s Thursday.
It certainly has been nice though. In the Quad Cities, Thursday will be the 5th consecutive day with highs in the 60s. It will also be the 8th day this November with a high of 60 or greater (with 71 the warmest on the 6th). 13 of the months highs have been above normal. That's a keeper!
Not only has it been mild, its been dry. Below you can see November rain totals across the state of Iowa. Aside from some minor totals in the far east, the majority of the state has seen no measurable rain with the month half over.
That's not welcome news with 82.71 percent of Iowa in either moderate, severe, or extreme drought. 98.20 percent of the state is considered to be abnormally dry or in drought.
Here's a larger perspective showing Illinois. Note the far north has at least seen some totals nearing 1/3 inch.
November rain departures around the region are generally greater than an inch.
With frost still not established in the ground yet, it would be nice to see some rains before that happens. This little thing Thursday night won't do much with models suggesting amounts like this. What little falls should be heaviest east of the Mississippi. Limited moisture and a short window for rain are the reasons why.
The 3k NAM
The shower threat is over by daybreak Friday and then we get some reckoning as a stiff cold front brings sharply colder temperatures. After starting in the upper 30s to mid 40s south, temperatures will not go up much reaching the low 40s north to the upper 40s far south. Here's Friday's 24 hour temperature drop from Thursday afternoon.
That ushers in the weekend which looks to be fairly typical in terms of temperatures. Highs of 48 to 53 Saturday should climb to the range of 52-57 Sunday (that's from north to south). That comes with mostly to partly sunny skies. A good weekend to put up the outdoor Christmas lights or perhaps do some holiday shopping.
A COMPLEX PRE-THANKSGIVING SYSTEM
The past couple of posts I've focused heavily on a change in the upper level flow that will bring a couple chances for at least light precipitation Thanksgiving week. These both involve the complex issue of phasing which at this distance can present modeling issues.
That said, I have seen better consistency and I think the first system Monday and Tuesday is beginning to show its hand. It all starts with split flow and the interaction of the polar and sub-tropical jet streams. It currently looks like southern stream energy off the sub-tropical jet will form a surface low that lifts northeast. Once it enters the Ohio Valley it is drawn northward and absorbed by energy diving southeast in the polar jet. This is the phasing process that should develop a healthy organized system.
Here's what the EURO depicts at 500mb Tuesday.
At the surface, see the surface low intensifying over lower Michigan. Precipitation is wrapping around the circulation. With thickness levels crashing rain is likely to change or mix with snow in the deformation band west and north of the surface center before ending.
At this point, snow does not appear to amount to much but it bares watching for some minor accumulations Tuesday the 21st. The EURO shows this for totals.
Colder air is making fast inroads on brisk NW winds associated with the deepening storm. These are mid-day departures the 21st.
The back side of the storm should feed cold air into the region the remainder of Thanksgiving week. How cold is still low confidence but mid 30s to low 40s seems to be a good starting place for now.
Last but not least, the GFS and Canadian GEM bring what could be a snowmaker into the Midwest the weekend of the 25th or 26th. You can see the energy rotating in from the W/SW on the GFS.
It paints a strip of snow right through Iowa and northern Illinois.
The GEM shows the snow but is less amplfied and further south.
The EURO, which is still the "big dog" and my go to shows nothing. That is a major strike against snow. Again, because the event is more than a week away and the chaos and complexity of the pattern is high, this is far from a sure thing. Details will change. However, coming as it would on a holiday weekend it could present some travel problems. Thus, it's worth mentioning and monitoring...so I will. Roll weather...TS
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