Nothing says spring in Iowa like 4 days in the 80s followed by several inches of wind blown snow. Below you can see a video I took Sunday night from my porch showing heavy wind blown snow. The temperature was 30 and the wind chill 19 degrees. The day before I was raking the yard in a t-shirt and shorts before thunderstorms ushered in the cold air that brought the snow. A mighty impressive 24 hours of weather!
While I only got 3 inches of snow (it was tough to measure) other places in NW Iowa like Elkader and Monona picked up 8. Even more impressive was WC Wisconsin where up to 23 inches of white gold poured down on Neillsville. Here's some reports.
Those howling NW winds on the backside of the storm pulled some first rate cold air into the region. With fair skies and diminishing winds overnight temperatures have dropped below freezing in most areas. Readings in the upper 20s to low 30s should be widespread early Tuesday with a freeze warning is in effect until 8:00am.
After the cold start, the remainder of Tuesday promises better things with sunshine and warmer temperatures, though still below normal. Highs in the mid 50s north to low 60s south are expected.
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WET UNSETTLED WEATHER AHEAD...
The quiet weather does not last long as another strong storm takes aim on the Midwest during the midweek period. Warm air advection ahead of an increasing low level jet may trigger showers and storms Tuesday night. A couple of the strong updrafts could support some small hail. The NW half of the region is most favored for this round of activity.
Wednesday a more organized system will start getting its act together sending a warm front into the region. That is likely to be the focal point for additional showers and storms (mainly in the north) as instability and forcing increases along with moisture. These would pivot northward during the day leaving the majority of the area south of HWY 30 with a warm dry day. Here, highs of 70-75 look likely. In the far north readings may struggle to reach 60 where clouds, some rain, and a slower arrival of the warm front is expected.
Wednesday night low pressure approaches SW Iowa allowing a cold front to enter central Iowa. Meantime the warm front has stalled and turned stationary, wavering around in my northern counties. Both fronts will serve as convective generators with new showers and storms along them later Wednesday night. These would have the potential to produce locally heavy rains and perhaps scattered strong storms overnight into early Thursday. SPC has a slight risk outlook (level 2 of 5) grazing my western counties for marginal wind and hail later Wednesday night.
The final leg of the storm comes Thursday when the cold front enters eastern Iowa in the afternoon crossing the Mississippi early in the evening. Two things to watch with this. First is the timing. The faster the front, the less chance for instability and additional storms with the front. The second is the amount of heating that can be realized ahead of the front. The more of that the higher the CAPE and chances for any strong storms. At this point, it appears the best chance for thunderstorm initiation would be along and east of the Mississippi unless the front slows some. There would be a short severe weather window if storms go up in that area.
Here's what guidance is suggesting for rain totals Tuesday through Friday morning.
The Weather Prediction Center.
One of the concerning aspects of the heavy precipitation is the timing and placement of it on top of the snow melt crest moving down the main stem of the Mississippi River. Major crests are becoming highly likely and disruptions in river traffic are anticipated. It also appears closure stages will be met from lock 11 through 20 in coming days over the next 2 weeks. That's essentially the river from Dubuque to Quincy. At the railroad bridge in Dubuque the river is expected to reach major flood stage of 21.5 feet by Monday of next week. It is likely to go higher but that is very dependent on additional precipitation and temperatures between now and the end of the month.
Beyond this storm, it does appear that a much colder and potentially drier pattern will settle in for awhile. CPC in its 6-10 day outlook indicates an 80-100 percent chance of below normal temperatures in the period April 22-26th.
These are the 10 day average daily departures for the period April 22-May 2nd. Not exactly the look I would like to see.
Well, needless to say we have plenty of weather going on the next few days. Busy times for me! Roll weather...TS
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