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ONWARD AND UPWARD...

Well, since my last post another "small" snow system has come and gone and a final one is on the way out Tuesday morning. None of these have caused problems, with amounts being light and temperatures barely cold enough to support snow. However, considering many are touting this as a mild El Niño winter with little snow, we are off to a decent start with snowfall running close to or slightly above normal. Below are the snowfall departures for the month of November, running well above normal from Kansas into northern Missouri, SE Iowa and central Illinois.

Here's the snow that fell in our first system, November 25th

Here's what was reported last Saturday night, December 2nd. Some places in EC Iowa are now in the 5-6" range for the snow season.

That's not including what fell overnight, which in a few spots might have totaled an inch. That was due to a weak clipper which is on its way out of the region early Tuesday, ending for now what has been an active period of weather.


Following a chilly but seasonal day Tuesday, the focus turns to a warm-up that commences Wednesday and really takes off Thursday and Friday. The warming is spurred by the flattening of the NW flow currently in place. The transition to westerly winds and zonal flow allows mild Pacific air to flood the Midwest.

Highs will go into the low 40s north to the upper 40s south Wednesday before entering the 50s Thursday and Friday. It's possible a few places in the south may push 60 before colder air arrives Friday afternoon. Just look at these temperature departures on the EURO this Friday, some more than 20 degrees above normal.

WEEKEND STORM UP IN THE AIR?

Beyond Friday the forecast is much more uncertain due to phasing issues which is a common hurdle during El Niño winters. How much bundling of energy takes place between the northern and southern stream jets will determine the strength, track, and thermal parameters of what could be a well organized storm sometime over the weekend. The GFS is currently the furthest NW with the system, bringing its precipitation shield into the region. The EURO being the furthest SE keeps most of its wet weather just south and east of the Quad Cities. Here's the surface low and precipitation band on the GFS.

On the EURO, the surface low is about 150 miles further east, keeping much of the precipitation just out of the area.

The ensembles of the EURO are even further SE on the track, adding even more doubt to which solution makes the most sense. The bottom line is that early indications indicate this storm could be a healthy precipitation producer (with the added dimension of a heavy snow band) somewhere NW of the track. However, we are still far enough out that we will need to keep a close eye on the phasing process. Less phasing and the storm could largely miss the region just off to the east. A little more and then the NW gets far more involved. I think for now the best approach is to just get it out there that a storm with rain and a transition to snow is threatening some part of the Midwest later in the weekend. It's far from a given at this point, considering the complicated issue of phasing. For sure, temperatures will be significantly cooler, with highs in the 40s Saturday and most likely 32-37 Sunday. Brisk winds should add some extra chill as well. Hopefully 24 more hours will bring more definitive answers. Roll weather...TS


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Carolyn

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