THE BELL TOLLS FOR INDIAN SUMMER
Here we are November 17th, just coming off a run of 5 consecutive days with highs in the 60s. 14 of the month's previous 16 days have seen high temperatures above normal. Where for art thou winter? We're not the only ones asking that question. Take a look at snow cover around the nation. Tough to find it unless you are on a mountain top. In fact, the NWS snow survey indicates only 3.5% of the nation has snow on the ground.
For comparison, last year at the same time 41.5% of the nation was snow covered. That included most of Iowa and Illinois.
Below you can see how much snow has fallen so far this season. Most of the area SW of a line from Waterloo to the Quad Cities to about Peoria is yet to see a snowflake. Actually, that's not that unusual but we are getting to the time of year where flakes should start to fly with more regularity. My shovel remains ready.
THE BELL TOLLS FOR INDIAN SUMMER...
If you've been out this morning you are aware that winds have turned to the NW and that colder air is rapidly surging south behind a cold front. Temperatures early in the day should dip into the mid 30s north to about 40 south. Some slight recovery into the low 40s north to upper 40s south is expected in the afternoon. Strong morning winds will gradually tail off as the day wears on. However, wind chills in the 30s will prevail most of Friday, a sharp and rather rude change from recent days. These are wind chills at there coldest levels around 8:00 am.
The remainder of the weekend looks uneventfull with near normal temperatures and mostly sunny skies. Highs Saturday will range from 48 north to 53 south before moderating into the range of 52-57 Sunday. Lows both Friday night and Saturday will be mainly in the mid to upper 20s. Most clear skies are expected.
A PRE-THANKSGIVING STORM SYSTEM...
As we've alluded to for numerous days, a storm system comprised of southern stream energy merges with a shot of cold air in the northern stream Monday and Tuesday. This phasing process brings a low up through SE Illinois into lower Michigan. Intitially this produces some light rain for the region Monday that continues off and on into Monday night. At that time the cold air from the north is injected into the storm which causes thickness levels to collapse. Any lingering rain could mix with or perhaps change to a brief period of light snow showers. Winds will also wrap up as the surface low deepens to the N/NE. The set-up looks like this Tuesday evening.
All in all, a well organized storm is the end result. The one thing it lacks is moisture. Therefore, despite the dynamics precipitation could be lighter than one would expect. The EURO suggests this for total precip.
The EURO also keeps the more significant snow to the north which is the preferred solution at this time.
However, it's worth noting the GFS just in has shown a trend for a stronger system and its latest run is heavier on precipitation. It generates a much more developed deformation zone west of the low which not only increases precip. totals, it brings a little more snow to the storm. I think it's probably inflated and we'll see if any of this is still there in coming runs. It will all come down to phasing! I'm leaning heavily towards the EURO solution.
COLD TURKEY THIS YEAR...
Whatever happens, this system looks quite dynamic, and we are in for a major shot of cold and wind Tuesday and Wednesday. The EURO, GFS, and GEM don't get temperatures out of the 20s Tuesday afternoon through all of Thanksgiving week (and most likely Thanksgiving weekend). With 30+ mph winds Wednesday into Thanksgiving morning, wind chills of 0 to 15 above are on the table. No thanks!
Models are still hinting at the potential for some weekend snow but have been rather erratic with how the energy is resolved. I do think there will be some light snow but how much and where is still up for debate. The initial system before Thanksgiving may have an impact on how the second one evolves. Until that's settled, just keep it in mind some post Thanksgiving snow is possible. Roll weather...TS
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