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After you've been stuck in the muck of sub-zero cold and a couple feet of snow, the idea of a warm-up sounds mighty good. However, the return of above freezing temperatures brings with it a new set of problems. They've already begun in the form of freezing rain, some snow and mixed precipitation. More of that is in the forecast, along with the slop that comes with the melting of our extensive snow pack. My car is already a color that I don't recognize.

Just to confirm how active the past two weeks have been, the NWS in the Quad Cities since January 7th has issued 18 winter weather watches, warnings, or advisories. Essentially, every one of the past 15 days has had some sort of winter hazard threat including 2 winter storm warning, a blizzard warning, and 5 winter weather advisories.

Tuesday will be no exception as a large portion of the area is under a winter weather advisory.

In actuality, two disturbances will bring the threat of mixed precipitation in the next 36 hours. The first impacts the region through Tuesday morning and contains the highest threat of wintry weather. Overall, the greatest impacts should be over the NW half of the region, where temperatures will be cold enough for freezing precipitation, including some snow, especially north of HWY 30. Further south, temperatures will be just warm enough for any mixed precipitation to change to rain. Impacts should be far less here, especially SE of the Quad Cities.

The second system Wednesday, is likely to be more in the form of rain, perhaps a bit of a mix initially in the NW.

That said, this is a temperamental forecast with thermal parameters such as temperatures, dew points, and wet bulb temperatures all wavering near the freezing mark. Precipitation intensity may also play a role as it influences the amounts of evaporative cooling, which would serve to impact the amount of snow and freezing rain.

As it is, the NWS has broad brushed the entire area with winter weather advisories due to the existing uncertainty. If things warm slightly, some of the advisories could be dropped early across the south Tuesday. We'll need to monitor events closely, as they will be determined by mesoscale details yet to be resolved.

This graphic from the NWS emphasizes the north as the most likely region for snow or ice accumulations of consequence.

As for snow, models are suggesting this for accumulations. Again, these are not forecasts, just raw model guidance that is used to formulate forecasts. I have concerns these may be a bit on the high side with marginal temperatures and compaction. The general range for slushy snow accumulations should be 1 at the worst 2 inches across the north.





The 3K NAM

The 3k NAM indicates freezing rain of this magnitude.

WPC indicates these odds of at least .01" of freezing rain Tuesday.

Once we get to Thursday, things calm down for a few days late week and into the weekend. The jet remains in a position to limit cold air intrusions, which keeps temperatures above normal. However, the warming will be tempered by the deep snow cover, which will take some time to chip away. Once it's reduced, (which both the GFS and EURO indicate will happen), then we start talking about a real thaw that has the potential to get highs close to 50. Check out the meteograms of the GFS and EURO for the Quad Cities. Notice the jump in highs around the end of January. That's when the bulk of the snow is gone and the door is open for bare ground to absorb sunshine and solar warmth

The GFS meteogram


Meantime, we are in the throes of a slop-athon that will keep things dreary, damp, dismal and at times foggy. It won't be beautiful by any means, but at least you don't have to shovel it. Roll weather...TS



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