RECORD COLD SET TO SLOWLY EASE...
For many of you in my area Tuesday was a big day and you didn't even know it. That's right, you experienced the coldest temperatures ever measured on February 17th. Dubuque and Cedar Rapids set record lows. Dubuque hit -17, beating the record of -13 (1973). Cedar Rapids hit -16, beating the record of -15 (1958). And in Moline, the low of -15 tied the record previously set in 1973. Monticello was the coldest at 20 below.
Notice the zero line penetrating as far southeast as Kentucky.
On a positive note, despite Tuesdya's frigid start, temperatures warmed to 12 degrees in Cedar Rapids. That's still 22 degrees below normal but it's the warmest high in 12 days. Ouch...a small step in the right direction.
During the period February 6th to the 16th temperatures remained not just below freezing, but below 10. That will now sit in the record books as the second longest stretch on record. One day behind the all-time mark of 12 days back in January of 1912.
On top of all that temperatures remained below zero for 108 straight hours (4.5 days). That's the largest string since 1996 and the second longest stretch in the data which goes back to 1972.
Just to add some frosting to the cake, the snow depth in Cedar Rapids at its peak reached 16 inches. Friday will be the 14th consecutive day with more than a 14 inch depth, the second longest on record. Virtually no chance we break the all-time record of 40 days in 1979, a monster winter for snow.
With the extreme events of the past month, the Winter Severity Index compiled by the Midwest Climate Center for the winter to date, has reached the severe category in cities such as Cedar Rapids, Dubuque, and the Quad Cities. In fact, it's on the verge of moving into the extreme category.
The Quad Cities
The next few days temperatures will continue to inch up going from highs in the teens Thursday and Friday into the 20s Saturday and close to 30 Sunday.
As far as the next snow-maker is concerned, that sits squarely on the table for Sunday. The GFS has actually been the most consistent with its depiction of a surface low and mid-level short wave crossing the area. The past 24 hours both the EURO and GFS have trended towards the GFS idea lending higher confidence towards a snowier solution. We are still more than 3 days away so things are still in flex but as of now another 1-4 inches of snow seems possible for much of the area.
Here's the latest models. Keep in mind these are not forecasts, just model guidance from which forecasts will eventually be made. Right now we are just looking for consistency in the overall trends.
The Canadian GEM
That's a wrap for now. Here's to the warmer temperatures due in the weekend. Roll weather...TS
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