PAYING THE PIPER...
What a difference a day makes! Yesterday highs reached the low 60s in parts of Iowa and Illinois with a 60 measured at the Quad City International Airport. With dew points around 50 it was a very spring like day for mid-February and I for one was digging it. Here's the temperatures nearing 2:00pm Wednesday afternoon.
For perspective, most of my area area was 25 to 32 degrees above what's typical for February 16th. Nice!
Now the tide has turned and it's time to break out the cash and pay the piper. A cold front has plowed a path southeast and today is located over southeast Missouri where it's currently awaiting a surface low that will track along it. In its wake, rain that developed Wednesday afternoon briefly turned to freezing rain and snow overnight as colder air filtered in on brisk northerly winds. Only minimal snow and ice accumulations have occurred at the time of this posting due in part to warm surface conditions and the limited time that freezing precipitation was able to fall.
Mixed precipitation has now ended early Thursday as this first wave of energy departs. The next issue is round two which is tied to the primary energy ejecting out of the southwest. With cold air in place, this wave has the potential to produce heavy snow in some parts of the Midwest and northern Ohio Valley as it travels northeast during the day Thursday. Models have finally come into reasonably good agreement on the track and the placement of the snow band after days of significant disagreement.
As I see it. the surface low will track from NW Arkansas early Thursday to SE Indiana by evening. Here's the surface depiction generated by the 3k NAM valid at 4:00pm. You can see the heavy snow band positioned just southeast of my southern counties.
The big take-away as far as I'm concerned is that my area escapes most of the snow. The area that's still in play for some minor accumulations is far SE Iowa and WC Illinois.
The GFS remains the most aggressive with snows of 1-2 inches south of a line extending from Burlington and Galesburg to Princeton. I don't see that happening.
Other models are no where near that optimistic with Thursday's snow band barely reaching Ft. Madison and Keokuk. Here's some additional snowfall output from other models. I like the general trends here which barely graze my far southern counties with an inch or so of accumulation.
The 3k NAM
The 12K NAM
At the time of this posting the NWS still has advisories for ice and snow out all the way to nearly Dubuque. I am pretty confident those will be dropped way to the south near HWY 34 and the winter storm warnings issued for that region will be reduced to winter weather advisories. Again, as I expected (and headlined) in my post Tuesday night, this whole storm is going to be nothing more than a nuisance for my area. Pretty much a nothing burger for 90% of the region.
One thing we'll all get to enjoy Thursday is windy cold conditions. Temperatures to start will be in the teens north and low 20s south. By mid-morning the south has fallen into the teens and that's where readings remain the rest of the day. Wind chills throughout the day will be in the range of zero to 10 degrees. Temperatures at noon will be as much as 40 degrees colder than what we saw Wednesday. Here's the 24 hour change. That's dramatic!
The weekend looks dry but temperatures will be a bit schizophrenic going from the teens Thursday to the 20s Friday, back to the 20s Saturday, and then close to 50 Friday. A series of moisture starved clippers are responsible for the wild fluctuations.
The next period to watch for significant weather occurs Monday night Tuesday and is associated with another energetic system which comes out of the SW. Temperatures may be just warm enough for rain or snow, changing to snow at this early juncture. At least light accumulations are possible but it's a bit early to ride that horse just yet. I will say the 5 to 10 day period next week looks active and potentially wintry. I shall have plenty to think about! That's all for now. Until next time, roll weather...TS
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