STARTING COLD, ENDING STORMY...
It may not look like much but that arc of clouds is a cold front of Arctic origin that's brought a significant change in our weather. Ahead of it mild readings dominated the central Midwest all week.
Below you can see the past four days in the Quad Cities where highs have been 53, 43, 39, and 46. That's an average of 45 which is more than 10 degrees above the mean.
Our little front not only brought winds, but wind gusts of 40-45 mph and .04" of rain at the NWS office in the Quad Cities. The 53 Tuesday was the warmest reading since Christmas Eve and the .04" of rain yesterday was the largest total in 27 days going back to January 15th when we had .06".
Since Friday night sharply colder air has been surging into the area on gusty winds. Early Saturday wind chills on the 3K NAM are projected to be near 12 below north to 4 below south. As the day progresses winds diminish and so do the chills. However, even with ample sunshine highs will fight to reach 10 north to perhaps 20 in the extreme south. It's going to be a cold day.
Temperatures around noon Saturday are expected to be more than 30 degrees colder than Friday. Here's the 24 hour change in temperatures that's anticipated.
The next order of business is a clipper Saturday night. It's weak and fast moving but there is enough support for up to an inch of snow (maybe 2 in a few spots) in a narrow band extended northwest southeast. Current indications are that the best chance of light accumulations will be to the south of a line from near Waterloo to the Quad Cities and on to Princeton. Any snow would be light and fluffy falling after midnight and ending very early Sunday. Here are the current snowfall forecasts on the table. The 3k NAM is by far the most aggressive.
The 3K NAM, currently an outlier with its heavier totals.
Sunday afternoon and evening is quiet and cold so no issues for all those super bowl parties. However, late Sunday night the GFS (and to some degree) the EURO indicate another fast moving disturbance that could lay down 1/2 to an inch of fluff in some part of the area. Currently, the northeast is most favored.
Monday and Tuesday are uneventful and warmer. Readings Monday should reach the 30s and probably the 40s Tuesday as warm air advection kicks in ahead of our next storm. That arrives Wednesday and that's a day that looks warmest with highs low 40s north to low 50s south.
NEXT WEEKS STORM
That leads us into our next storm which depending on the model could be a significant precipitation producer. Again today, models are struggling with the amount of phasing between the northern and southern branches of the jet. How the energy is bundled will be critical as to the strength of the storm, how much precipitation falls, and how much is snow (if any). The GFS is the most bullish on phasing and develops an impressive storm with deep moisture along with heavy rain and snow. It looks very impressive on paper. The EURO is not nearly as phased or strong and while it brings rain and snow, it's more than half what the GFS depicts. Here's the two surface depictions next Thursday.
The GFS...the strongest and furthest north
The EURO, further south and weaker.
Notice the significant range in precipitation totals tied to phasing issues. There's as much as a 1.5" difference in many parts of my area.
There's some crazy snowfall numbers on the GFS which seems "highly" unlikely. I'll show them but it's just to give you and idea what I'm looking at as a forecaster. I'm quite certain these are going to go way down in future runs, especially if the idea of less phasing occurs like the EURO shows. Without the cold air in place to start, I'm really concerned as to how much of a snow producer this system turns out to be. For now, here's what the snow amounts look like. Big changes are coming in future runs and I would not put any faith or stock in the output I'm posting. I especially caution against the huge snow numbers of the GFS....chances are very small that anything close to what it shows verifies. Disregard it. The EURO is far more plausible and even it could be high if less phasing than what it indicates occurs. Here you go.
The GFS...very unlikely!
The EURO, far more reasonable.
Needless to say, there is high confidence a storm is coming next Wednesday/Thursday but low confidence in strength, track, precipitation totals, and snowfall. There's a lot of things to uncover and that will be the goal as we go through the next couple of days. With that, I sign off and wish you all a good weekend. Roll weather...TS
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