THE LUCK OF THE DRAW...
Are you felling lucky? If you're one of those people who hate winter's wrath (ie. blizzards, wind, and snow) you should be feeling very fortunate you are not 100-150 miles west where a full fledged winter storm is making life miserable. Look at the blizzard warnings in effect for much of the area near and west of I-35 from Minneapolis south to Des Moines and St Joseph, Missouri.
Much of that area has 95 percent odds of an inch or more of additional snow Friday. That's on top of what's already fallen and has been whipped around by winds of 40 mph.
The winter storm severity index at the time of this post indicates moderate to major impacts across the western half of Iowa with the worst conditions centered on NC Iowa.
By the time the storm eases up later today out west, these are some of the projected totals from the National Weather Service (Important to note this is not additional snow, its accumulations for the entire storm). From what I've seen these are probably on the high side as a number of factors have chipped into potential totals.
While its windy, snowy, and bad out west, not much is expected in my area Friday as what accumulating snow there was in my northern and western counties (especially around Dubuque and points north 3-5") has shifted east as the stacked system rotates directly over the area. That puts the region in the dry slot where moisture and lift is cut-off to the center of the storm. Much like in the eye of the hurricane even the winds will be light.
So how did we fare out so well when 24 hours earlier the storm was aimed directly at us? Well, as I pointed out yesterday the storm was going to cut-off from the westerlies that typically guide it as it ran into a block in the upper levels of the atmosphere. Just like a wall it stopped the storms progression dead in its tracks. From there it reached its maximum intensity and began to occlude (weaken). It also looked for the path of least resistance and made a circular loop that took the center west and then south around the upper level block. That circular path shows up nicely on the animation below and that is how we escaped what in other situations could have been a healthy snow. Check it out! Feeling lucky yet?
Anyway, periods of drizzle or light snow will be found from time to time into Friday night before this wave of energy departs. Minimal issues expected.
250 NEW COPIES OF DERECHO 911, IOWA'S INLAND HURRICANE ARE AVAILABLE. Around Christmas we sold the last of the 1500 copies of our book on this historic thunderstorm, the most damaging in U.S. history. Due to continued demand we have a limited number of 250 for those of you interested in having the most authoritative account of this extreme event. You can get yours at derechobook.com
WHAT'S COMING DOWN THE PIKE?
After the passage of this initial system an active NW flow pattern is established that will bring ripples of energy from time to time over the weekend and into early next week. None of these looks especially impressive but each would have the potential for a dusting to an inch. Tracks will also be important but it's possible that between Saturday and next Tuesday 1 (to perhaps 2") of snow could accumulate when all of these disturbances are combined. Here's what the GFS and EURO show for totals Saturday through next Tuesday.
As for temperatures, they will trend colder Sunday and stay chilly and slightly below normal into Tuesday of next week.
With that, I wish you a good Friday and an excellent weekend. Roll weather...TS