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This will come as no surprise, but this winter is going to be one of the warmest on record. What is interesting is the fact, despite numerous records and the warmest February ever, snowfall in most spots is near to even a bit above average. Of course, most of it came in a 5-day period of epic proportions in early January, where back to back storms dumped up to 28 inches of snow in spots.

Here you can see how much snow has fallen compared to the mean. In general, this year's snowfall is in the 30-40" plus category. Lowden, Iowa, in Cedar County reports 47 inches, that's about 10 inches above normal. Rarely, (if ever) have I seen this much snow with winter temperatures so mild.

Here's the national perspective of this winter's snowfall through March 27th. Even with the major snows in Minnesota lately, amounts there remain far below normal. In fact, Minneapolis had as much snow in the past week than it had for the entire winter.

The winter season severity index attempts to quantify how tough a winter is by assigning values to such factors as temperatures, snow, duration of snow cover, etc. This year in the Quad Cities, the winter is considered mild with the index at 402. The highest index ever measured "signifying the worst" is 1433.

In Dubuque, the index of 567 is on the very low end of the spectrum and is 1,088 points lower than the highest value ever measured of 1,655. If it weren't for the amount of snow, this winter would most likely be near the all-time lowest on the winter severity index.

To sum it up, with April fast approaching, this winter has been very mild but very typical as far as snow is concerned. Go figure...


This latest blast of wind and cold air is coming off the storm that buried Minnesota under 1–2 feet of snow Sunday and Monday. With stiff NW winds coming off the snow field up north, temperature were far from typical levels Wednesday, with readings in the upper 30s north to low 40s south. Normal highs currently range from 50 to 55 degrees.

After a very cold start Thursday with lows in the 20s, readings recover some in the afternoon with upper 40s north to upper 50s south, closer to normal. The large spread is tied to a warm front which pokes into SE Iowa. It may provide just enough forcing for a shower in the south late in the day.

Friday the warm front inches into my central counties, producing springlike temperatures from I-80 south where highs in the low to mid 60s are expected. The north looks to get slighted, with highs there more likely in the mid to upper 50s. Still, everybody makes some positive gains. With the front wavering around Friday night, scattered showers and possibly a thunderstorm are possible, mainly south of I-80.

Saturday, the warm front sees a wave pass along it, allowing a weak high pressure to build in from the north. With winds turning to the NE, temperatures will cool some, with highs slipping to the mid 50s north to about 60 south. Mostly cloudy skies are expected.


Easter Sunday, the waffling front is suppressed even further south and settles into Missouri. North of the boundary, cool cloudy weather prevails locally with a chance of some scattered over-running showers. These do not look heavy, and some spots may avoid the rain altogether. However, scattered rain or sprinkles combined with low clouds and east winds will make for a chilly day. Highs may be hard-pressed to get out of the mid to upper 40s north and the low 50s south.

Monday and Tuesday, the EURO and GFS remain at odds with the amount of phasing between the northern and southern branches of the jet. Not only does that impact timing and intensity, it also effects precipitation totals. With less phasing, the EURO sends a progressive band of cold rain through the region Monday. That is followed by high pressure and a drying trend Tuesday.

The GFS shows a fully phased 500mb low closing off over SE Iowa Monday. This more developed solution slows the ejection of energy into the Midwest and holds off the primary band of precipitation until Monday night and early Tuesday. The GFS also has a cold high perched north of Lake Superior that will feed chilly air in on NE winds. This solution brings a more prolonged and heavier period of precipitation to the region. It also gets cold enough for a snow threat in the north late Monday or Tuesday night. I still doubt that. Even without snow, temperatures are quite chilly, with highs in the upper 30s to mid 40s Tuesday.

The bottom line is that we have two significantly different solutions on the table. Both do show rain, some of it significant, with the EURO calling it Monday and the GFS Monday night and Tuesday. I still think models are struggling with phasing and intensity issues, and I have reservations about what model (If any) is addressing the energy correctly. For now, suffice it to say Monday and Tuesday look unsettled, with rain likely at some point one of those days. Hopefully the snow the GFS indicates does not pan out. As for amounts, here's what the EURO and GFS are showing for rainfall totals through Wednesday morning.



I will wrap this up by saying that despite several chances of spotty showers between Thursday night and Easter, rainfall looks light, and some areas could very well remain dry. More substantial totals are possible Monday and Tuesday of next week. After warmer readings Friday and Saturday, cooler temperatures return for Easter and beyond. Some tricky forecasting to be sure. Roll weather...TS


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