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Tuesday, thousands of people crammed into Gobbler’s Knob in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, to await a special forecast from a groundhog. His name is Phil and the legend goes that if the 20-pounder emerges and sees his shadow, the United States can expect six more weeks of winter weather. But, if Phil doesn’t see his shadow, we can expect warmer temperatures and the arrival of an early spring.

Even though he’s been forecasting since 1887, Phil’s track record for the entire country is far from perfect. Compared to national temperatures, Phil has gotten it right 40% of the time over the past 136 years. Come on Phil, a flip of a coin is better than that.

In 1887, when he made his debut as the official groundhog forecaster for the entire country, Phil did see his shadow. His first prediction of six more weeks of winter was good for some, not so much for others. All I can say is if you have a job for 136 years and are right only 40% of the time, sign me up! Sorry phil, nothing presonal...


The January statistics are in from the NWS and temperatures from around my area ranged from 5.4 to 7.6 degrees above normal. It was the 9th warmest January on record in Moline.

This graphic shows temperature departures of each day of January in Moline. Only 5 of the 31 days had an average below normal. The first 25 days of the month were exceptional.

With all the mild air around, precipitation was often rain and for the month was above normal in all locations. January snowfall was generally 1 to 5 inches below normal with the majority of what fell coming in the last 5 days.

This is one of those rare winters which on the accumulated winter severity index is rated mild in the Quad Cities. In fact, so mild it's in the top 5% of all of our more gentle winters.

That's not the case from NC Iowa to the Canadian border where winter is considered to be severe to extreme in many instances.


A fast moving Arctic front blazed a path through the region Thursday afternoon cranking up the winds and sending temperatures spiraling. Early Friday temperatures wll be well below zero near and north of I-80, coldest over the deeper snow cover.

Even worse will be the wind chills around daybreak Friday in the range of 25 below north to 10 below south.

A wind chill advisory is in effect for the NE half of my area until 10:00am Friday morning.

Fortunately the winds subside quickly Friday afternoon as the ridge axis approaches the region. It will not help the temperatures much but wind chills won't be as much of a factor after the early morning. Here's what the EURO indicates for highs. It will be a darn cold start to the weekend.

After a fresh start Saturday morning, temperatures rapidly warm in the afternoon with a robust return flow on the backside of the retreating high. Readings should climb to the upper 30s far north in snowcover, to near 50 in bare ground areas of the far south. I don't see much change in temperatures Sunday except in the far north where readings may cool into the mid 30 with a cool front grazing that part of my area. With no rain or snow and above normal temperatues, the first weekend of February looks like a keeper.

In the longer term, there could be a few rain showers around Monday night but the energy splits with some going north and the bulk digging into what looks to be a cut-off low in the southern Plains. Thus, any showers look light and the pattern turns dry again until the cut-off low ejects into the Midwest Wednesday or Thursday (depending on your model of choice).

Both the EURO and GFS show a well organized system capable of healthy precipitation event. However, when energy splits and reforms like this, models typically struggle with intensity, placement, track, and timing...all critical factors! We have already seen that today with the EURO about 24 hours faster than the GFS. I suspect we'll see additional changes in coming days before a common solution is agreed upon.

One thing is for sure and that is the fact we are entering a milder patter this weekend that last into next week. Here's what the EURO meteogram looks like in the Quad Cities the next 10 days. That's not as warm as data indicated yesterday but still outstanding for the first part of February.

The Climate Prediction Center agrees and continues on with an 8-14 day outlook indicating above normal temperatures and precipitation February 10-16th.

So there you have it, whether the groundhog agrees or not, warmer weather is on the way starting Saturday. Enjoy your weekend and Roll weather...TS


Hey everybody, February is the love month and boy do we have a "lovely" deal just for you at my new Airbnb, The Little White Church of Galena. If you book one night, the second one is on "us." totally free. As we celebrate our Grand Opening Month, it is a $500 value. The offer has been such a hit we are extending it into the spring. Come check out the splendor of the church which includes three bedrooms and three full bathrooms. Each bedroom has its own television and ceiling fan. The master suite has an ensuite, private deck and king sized bed. Plus a fireplace, Dish TV and Sirius XM with a great sound system. It's loaded.

Just minutes away from Galena, we have a special spot for you and your sweetheart. With all the space, you can spilt the church with one or two other couples making it a tremendous deal. It is a first come, first serve proposition as far as available dates are concerned. It truly is a religious experience! Call carolyn at 563 676 3320 or you can email at to secure a date or get more details. Here is a link with pictures.


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