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Spring can be such a beautiful time of year in the Midwest. Mild and lush with the promise of the summer ahead. It can also suck, for lack of a better word. Here's a picture sent to me from Lynn Taylor taken Tuesday morning at her place in La Harpe, Illinois. Pretty, until you consider its April 21st and the days start getting shorter in just two months.

Then there's the beauty of waking up to lows in the teens and 20s. Oelwein, Monticello, and Marshalltown all bottomed out at 19 degrees! Record lows were established in Cedar Rapids, Moline, and Burlington.

All of these locations below surpassed or were within 3 degrees of records lows at daybreak Wednesday. 80 millions Americans were under frost or freeze alerts.

Thursday morning will see more in the way of frosty conditions with freeze warnings remaining in effect until 9:00 am.

By the way, these are the 48 hour snow accumulations reported through Wednesday morning.

This is the seasonal snow accumulation across the continental U.S. for the winter as a whole. Most of my area ended up with amounts in the range of 20 to 50 inches with the highest amounts (3 feet or more) along and north of I-80. Everybody was above to well above normal on white gold this winter.

Alright, let's put this talk of cold snowy weather behind us with moderating temperatures. Now I warn you, it's going to take about 4 days before real warmth returns but the evolutionary process gets underway Thursday night and Friday with the return of southerly winds. This creates enough warm advection and moisture for some clouds and showers Friday and Friday night. Overall, the majority of the rain will be light and most concentrated over the far southeast. The EURO depicts amounts that look like this through Saturday morning.

Slightly warmer temperatures are expected too. Highs Thursday through Saturday will be in the mid to upper 50s. After the passage of the shower producing wave, cooler readings are likely Sunday with a strong north south gradient. Highs around 50 are possible up near HWY 20 with readings closer to 60 down around HWY 34.

Sunday night a significant warm front surges through the region finally opening the door to a much warmer air mass. Look what the EURO meteogram shows for temperatures early next week. Highs of 78, 81, and 77 in Cedar Rapids Monday-Wednesday.

You can see why highs have the potential to go up 35 degrees by observing the changes that take place in the 500mb jet stream flow. Wednesday with readings in the 40s it looked like this.

Next Tuesday, with those highs pushing 80 it's morphed into this.

That coincides nicely with the MJO's movement into Phase 8, a known warm Midwest phase during April.

One cautionary note on Tuesday's highs. This time of year I always watch for back door cold fronts which bring cool air off the cold waters of the Great Lakes. That can temper and hold the warmth further south, something models have a hard time seeing at this range. I'm throwing that out to cover myself, particularly in my northern counties. Hopefully this does not come into play.

That strong SW flow will also tap into some moisture and we will find ourselves in a position next Tuesday night and Wednesday where showers and thunderstorms become active. Depending on how things evolve, a few could be strong with some generous rains. Something to keep tabs on going forward. Only one more day before I start my journey back to Iowa. I am stoked! Roll weather...TS