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THE ARCTIC HOUNDS ARE RESTLESS...

A powerful late Fall storm is bringing the kitchen sink to the central U.S. with blizzard warnings and winter storm conditions in the cold sector, along with severe weather and tornadoes in its warm sector. It's a classic set-up with my area right in the middle. That meant windy, wet, and very raw conditions for my area Tuesday. Look at all the advisories and warnings in place for the storm Tuesday night.

You can see it wrapped up like a hurricane with the center spinning like a top over Nebraska.

The heaviest precipitation from the storm is over for at least half of my area as a dry slot (visible on the satellite) surges into Iowa Wednesday. Forcing and moisture both decrease so just scattered light showers or drizzle is expected, mainly over the NE half of my area (north and east of the Quad Cities). In SE Iowa and WC Illinois enough dry air is expected for some pops of sunshine. The set-up creates a pretty good temperature gradient from north to south with low to mid 40s north, to the low 50s far south. The GFS indicates this for readings at 3:00pm. All of my area will be warmer than Tuesday.

Things get a little tricky Wednesday night as a wave of low pressure forms along a cold front that passes through the region during the overnight. A trowel develops between the surface wave near Chicago and the upper air low centered in WC Iowa. North of the trowel which is aligned NW to SE renewed forcing should generate another batch of precipitation later Wednesday night. By this time temperatures may be cold enough for rain to mix with or change to snow. Some slushy accumulations of an inch (maybe two) are possible in the NE 1/3 of my area. The main thrust of this batch of precipitation should be confined to my counties in EC Iowa and parts of NW Illinois. It kicks out by morning leaving my entire area precipitation free Thursday morning.


Thursday afternoon and Friday, moisture and lift move back into the area on the backside of the stacked upper air low in Wisconsin. By now we are in the cold conveyor belt of the storm and light snow or snow showers are expected to develop. My far northern counties could see 1-2 inch accumulations with lighter amounts further south. Here's what the EURO and GFS are suggesting for snowfall Wednesday night through Saturday.


The EURO

The GFS

High temperatures will go from the low to mid 30s Thursday to the 20s Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. At this point Saturday through next Tuesday look quiet and cold. Things pick up again later Wednesday or Thursday of next week when another burst of energy drops into the Midwest. This looks to be a complex interaction but right now snow is on the table if current trends hold. The potential is there for at least a couple inches of accumulation.


THE ARCTIC HOUNDS ARE RESTLESS...

This is also the period to watch for Arctic air entering the pattern. Take a look at the 500mb jet stream patterns of the GFS and EURO December 23rd. When I see charts like this I know the Arctic hounds are restless and ready to hunt.

This is still a good 8 days into the future and thus details are far from certain but this has been a consistent trend in recent days and confidence is growing in very cold period is coming just before Christmas. I don't want to jinx things but I also think chances are good for a white Christmas as of this posting. (Knock on wood).


Back to the cold (and to give you an idea of what's been hinted at), here's the temperature departures on the EURO December 23rd. All of that area in pink is at least 33 degrees below normal. I do think we are going to get plenty cold but I am not ready to pull the trigger in anything that extreme just yet.

I will conclude by saying if you're a fan of real winter (I know you are out there!), this 10 day period coming up still looks to be loaded for bear, or at least Arctic hounds. Roll weather...TS

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