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A large, slow moving storm system continues to inch its way across the Midwest Wednesday morning. The disturbance is cut off from the main band of the westerlies that would normally push it along. Without the nudge, the stacked system only wobbles around feeding off its own energy, waiting to get kicked east or to die as its moisture supply gets shut down. In the end, both processes will work against it, but not before it impacts the Midwest the remainder of the week.

Here's the cold core circulation of the storm, centered over extreme SE Nebraska. Within it, lobes of precipitation producing vorticity are spinning around it like a top. Christmas night, one such spoke unleashed a cold front that shot through the region. Not only did that end our 50 degree highs, it ended precipitation until the system can reload with the next round early Wednesday across the south.

In the animation below, you can see how the circulation takes 3 days (until Friday) to move 500 miles.

The dry slot which brought us dry conditions Tuesday is visible on the satellite below. Today it's projected to grind far enough east for moisture to work back into the pattern and be with us into Thursday night. A couple rounds of vorticity are also expected, which leads to occasional periods of light snow.

The first opportunity is focused more on my southern counties Wednesday, closer to the upper air low. Some models do indicate the potential for an inch (perhaps two) in a narrowband near and south of a line from about Iowa City to Muscatine and on to Galesburg. A second round of energy is due Thursday that may be far enough north to include even my northern counties as it wraps around the circulation. Guidance has been trending stronger with this energy generating precipitation amounts up to 1/3rd of an inch. That could translate to snowfall of 1–3 inches. The ground is warm and surface temperatures will be marginal, near to a bit above freezing. The melting could cut into totals and keep travel issues minimal, with most accumulations on grassy and elevated surfaces. To be honest, it's kind of a tricky forecast. Here's what models are suggesting for snow totals from the two rounds of snow combined.



The 3k NAM

The 12k NAM

By the way, most of the area picked up beneficial rains from the first part of this long duration storm, which brought rain Friday and again Christmas Eve through Christmas day. Here are some of the totals reported by way of the Iowa Mesonet through Tuesday.

Snow fell into Tuesday from the western Iowa border into the central Plains where blizzard warnings were issued and totals up to a foot were noted in South Dakota.

Once the final leg of this massive system departs Friday, we should get into a lull for several days to start January. Aside from a few snow showers Sunday, weak high pressure will keep things quiet, with temperatures slightly above normal through the first week of January. Roll weather...TS



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