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SHAKE, SHIVER, AND SHOVEL, OH NO...


The Farmers' Almanac has issued its winter forecast for 2022-23. I respect the fact they try but their track record is nothing to write home about. In fact, mine wasn't very good either last winter as I expected the cold and snow we got in January to come a month earlier in December. Instead we got record warmth, severe weather (the worst tornado outbreak in Iowa history), and a Christmas Eve high of 60 in the Quad Cities. Talk about eating crow!


Well, getting back to the meat and potatoes of the almanac, their summation for the Midwest reads like this: Hibernation zone, glacial, snow-filled, and unreasonably cold. They say to get ready to shake, shiver, and shovel. Count me in!

Here's their national break-down of the winter.

This is the time and place I say, this is not T. Swails talking. I'm not stamping this right or wrong. I have not even started thinking seriously about my personal opinions of winter other than to say I have seen signs we could get out of the gate fast in December. Anyway, a few of you have asked about my take and I won't have anything out until October (still waiting for the woolly bears) unless I see something especially convincing...which is not likely.


WHAT'S UP DOC?

This fine stretch of weather we've enjoyed is slowly breaking down. A weak back door front is sinking south but does not look to produce more than a few isolated showers or sprinkles as it passes. In time the front turns stationary just to our west and south as northwest flow aloft defines its ultimate position. Ridge riding disturbance will shuttle southeast along the baroclinic boundary Friday ad Saturday which will bring some clouds and perhaps a few showers and storms. They are most likely over my western and southern counties in Iowa. The tricky part of the forecast is the narrow axis of forcing, some low level dry air, and the quick movement of the short wave energy. Those factors should should keep most of what rain ends up falling light and widely scattered.


The one concern is that near the boundary water vapor will increase with time an there could be some enhanced lift the lays out a couple very small bands of somewhat heavier rains. Models are not very excited about the prospect but the pooled moisture might be enough to get the job done. That will be watched. For the period Thursday night through Sunday night models are suggesting this for rainfall amounts. The western half of my area is most favored for anything measurable.


THE NBM (national model blend)

The Weather Prediction Center outlook.

The position of the front is also likely to dictate temperatures. Friday where there are some pockets of rain and a more dense cloud canopy temperatures may struggle to get out of the mid 70s in spots while surrounding areas peak in the low 80s.


Saturday the boundary is likely to waffle north enough to bring warmer more humid air back into the picture, especially over the south. The GFS is up to its old tricks showing highs that near 100 in parts of SE Iowa. The EURO is the realistic choice showing mid 80s north and perhaps low 90s in the far south. Here's the comparison.


The GFS

The EURO (my choice)

Dew points Saturday poke into the upper 60s to low 70s bringing a bit of steam back into the picture. It's possible some heat index values could reach the mid to upper 90s south of I-80. Again, some spotty showers and storms are possible but they look brief and only limited areas will see them. Coverage looks low and intensity light.


By Sunday the near stationary boundary finally gets a kicker and returns to the south as a cold front. That allows cooler and more comfortable air to return. It also takes any worthwhile rain chances with it. In time, high pressure expands and builds southward out of Canada. That carves out a nice trough that keeps temperatures comfortable and cuts off moisture. Outside of a few isolated instability showers, next week looks dry and pleasant. The EURO meteogram shows a bunch of 70s late next week. Cool will be the new rule after Saturday.

With that, I say happy Thursday and roll weather...TS

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