SPRING "WAS" IN THE AIR
Make no mistake about it, Tuesday was a mighty fine day, especially in those areas with little to no snow cover. Here in the Quad Cities the high of 53 was the warmest maximum temperature in 45 days. The last time we were warmer was Christmas Eve day when we roasted Santa Claus with a high of 60! He liked it.
Here are the 2:00pm observations. Note the dramatic difference in readings due to snow cover. As much as 20 degrees warmer between Muscatine and Dubuque, Iowa (about 80 miles as the crow flies).
While all areas were above normal, the departures were significantly greater in SE Iowa where most spots were 20 to 25 degrees above normal.
Some places were more than 30 degrees warmer than just 24 hours earlier.
Snow cover was the difference maker. You can see the reported depths at 6:00am Tuesday morning.
Below you can actually see the bare ground and its ability to absorb solar radiation by the all the 50s in those locations without it.
All in all, it was nice to have a winter day without winter weather.
CHANGES IN THE WORKS...
As nice as Tuesday was, the warmth has peaked and we'll see a cooling trend the next couple days with highs back in the range of 35 to 45 Wednesday and 28 to 38 Thursday. The coolest readings will be in the north or any location where snow cover remains. That's still above normal and nothing to complain about. We'll be able to gripe Friday night and Saturday when out next Clipper brings a wind driven shot of modified Arctic air back to the Midwest.
First things first, ahead of the clipper a minor warm advection precipitation event develops Thursday night and Friday morning. Totals are minimal with amounts less than1/10th of an inch are expected. Since the clipper is passing north the warmer air that's driving the precipitation is likely to keep most of it in the form of light rain with mixed rain or snow changing to light rain up north. The main message it there's high confidence on a storm system but low to moderate confidence on precipitation type and amounts. As it stands now, if there are any snow accumulations they are likely be in the far north and would occur mainly later Thursday night. I could see 1/2 inch (worst case 1 inch), with the best chances for totals like that closer to HWY 20. I don't expect much, just enough to be a nuisance with temperatures near or even above freezing. Below you can see what the GFS and EURO are showing for potential snow amounts.
Temperatures will actually be at their warmest Friday morning before colder air spreads in from the north behind the Arctic front in the afternoon. After readings in the upper 30s north to near 50 far south Friday morning, strong winds will combine with the Arctic air to produce tumbling temperatures. By Friday evening readings will be back around 20 north and the upper 20s south. That leads to lows Friday night of 5 north to 15 south. Brisk NW winds gusting over 30 mph will drive wind chills into the range of 10 below north to 5 above south by daybreak Saturday. Scattered flurries or snow showers will accompany the cold air later Friday or Friday night. Here's the wind chills Saturday morning.
That leads to a cold but mainly dry weekend. Highs Saturday hold in the teens before warming into the 20s Sunday afternoon. There is a chance of some very light snow in the northeast half of the region late Sunday afternoon or evening with another weak clipper. The EURO shows some light amounts (1" or less) NE of a line from Waterloo to Clinton. The GFS is much further north and shows a nothing burger. We will need another 24 hours to watch that potential. I like the drier solution better for the time being.
After today's warmth I did get a dose of spring fever and I'm ready to give up on snow. It's just been a really frustrating year for white gold considering how cold its been the past 5 weeks. To my point, it might as well be mild if we can't get snow and I have noted some interesting trends out around the two week mark that would indicate a period of above normal temperatures. In fact, it looks like a significant pattern change is developing. These are the temperature departures the EURO shows February 23rd. Let's hope the models are on to something here as that has some serious potential to bring "comfy" temperatures by winter standards. I'll have more in this tomorrow.
For now, I'm wrapping this up like a baby. Until next time, roll weather...TS
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