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THE PLEASURES OF SPECULATION...

I don't know about you but I thoroughly appreciated the mild weather we enjoyed the past couple of days, Tuesday in particular with highs in the 50s here in the Quad Cities. It's given me my first case of spring fever and for all practical purposes I'm done with this strange winter. Don't get me wrong, I'll take a good winter storm any day but I'm tired of coming up empty handed so I'm trying reverse psychology. I'm now looking for warmth and if that brings snow great. If not, I'll appreciate the warmer temperatures and get on with spring.


That leads me to to some recent model trends that have indicated a pattern change may be in the works for the last week of February that would give us a nice spring preview. It's still early and I'm talking long range here but the pleasure of speculation has inspired me. That's what happens when you have a fever! These temperature departures for 2022 so far would make anybody hallucinate

Seriously, I decided to tackle this potential warming trend because it's supported by the MJO (Madden Julien Oscillation). Here's the NCEP (GFS based MJO) side by side with the extended EURO version. Recently, we've been in phase 3 of the MJO which in February is known to be cold. If you look at the phase diagram below, you can see the MJO on the NCEP site (left) is headed for phase 4 around the 19th. The EURO (on the right) gets there even sooner closer to the 14th. Even better, the EURO extended rolls right on through phase 5 to close out the month and then enters 6 to start March.

That is a very significant trend and would put a dagger in winter. It may not be fatal but it would hurt it real bad. Just look what those 3 phases produce for temperatures over that 3 week stretch February 18th to March 7th.

Now we all know long range forecasts are fraught with accuracy concerns but at least the models are consistent with their MJO projections. Here's what the EURO depicts February ich is essentially taking the starch out of winter, is showing for temperature departures and 500mb heights February 23rd. That's a blow torch with Pacific air bathing the nation.


Temperature departures February 23rd

The EURO 500mb flow the 23rd

The GFS is more amplified with a western trough but the end result is the same with a slug of warm air entering the Midwest at the same time. Here's its departures at the same time.

Its 500mb flow

At 500mb we see a complete reversal from our recent pattern of western ridge, eastern trough. I suspect that ridge will not go quietly but if indeed it does, our weather could change dramatically. Certainly warmer and perhaps even wetter if we can get into a 500mb flow like the GFS indicates. I am very tired of the set-up we've been in the past 5 weeks and I would take this in a heartbeat. Of course, I'm in the throws of spring fever which could have me under a spell. However, what I'm showing is well teleconnected and supported in the operational and ensemble runs of the GFS and EURO. For now, it has real potential and we'll see where this all goes in the days ahead.


I won't spend much time on the short term other than to say a strong clipper is on the way that will have you wishing it was spring come Saturday morning. Not only will it bring a fresh round of wind blown Arctic air, it will also bring some rain showers Thursday night as it arrives. These could start as snow or a mix in the north but as temperatures warm should change to rain fairly quickly allowing little if any snow accumulations. If there is any it would likely be up around HWY 20 later Thursday night. With temperatures rising above freezing (even in my northern counties by morning), any impacts would be minimal.


Friday dawns mild as the clippers cold front does not do us any damage until later in the days as it races southeast. Eventually, winds veer to the northwest and turn quite gusty ushering in colder air. After mid-day highs in the upper 30s north to upper 40s south, readings will crash as the front passes. By Saturday morning lows will range from 5 in the north to 15 in the south. Wind chills could hit 10 below up north but should be closer to 5 above in the south. As the cold air deepens later Friday and Friday night some snow showers or flurries a quite possible. Nothing more than a dusting but a rude awakening to the fact winter is still alive and well. Another light snow chance exists Saturday night or early Sunday from another fast moving disturbance that rides in on the northwest flow. Not much more than a dusting is currently expected.


As such, I urge patience as the signs are written on the subway walls and whispered in the sounds of silence, like a vision softly creeping, my words like silent raindrops fall, spelling out the truth unknown, spring is coming. Roll weather...TS


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