THE WEATHER OUTSIDE IS FRIGHTFUL, MAKE THAT FRIGID...
Merry Christmas Eve day! Man, have things changed from where they were less than 24 hours ago. Strong winds and bitterly cold air ( and some snow showers) have swept the Midwest. This is all due to a blizzard which raked Nebraska, NW Iowa, much of Minnesota, and NW Wisconsin with 50-65 mph winds and heavy snow that in a few places exceeded 10". As I write this many roads in Minnesota are in poor shape and travel is not recommended due to whiteout conditions and severe drifting. Here's a civil emergency message Wednesday evening from Jackson County, In SC Minnesota which extends to the Iowa border.
Look at all the blizzard warnings that were in effect overnight in red. Wind advisories were also also common southeast of the blizzard warnings including much of my area.
The Satellite shows the center of the deepening surface cyclone off to the east of Minneapolis Wednesday evening. Note the dry slot punching into Illinois and Wisconsin where temperatures reached into the low 60s, (62) as far north as Rockford.
The temperatures observed at 1:00PM Wednesday show a reading of 61 in the Quad Cities while in NW Iowa it was 50 degrees colder up around Spencer and Estherville.
If you just go with the wind chill values, It felt 75 degrees colder in far NW Iowa than it did in the southeast with readings in the 60s. That's about as big a spread as you will ever see...top 1-2 percent in my estimation.
Outside of some scattered morning flurries precipitation is essentially over early Thursday and it appears the rest of the holiday weekend should remain dry through much of Sunday. However, I would urge anybody traveling into NW Iowa or Minnesota this morning to check road conditions as travel will be extremely difficult until winds subside and plows can do their thing.
Cold temperatures and low wind chills will be the big story through Christmas day. The worst of it occurs today and Christmas Eve with wind chills that remain below zero the entire period. Where there are church services or family gatherings, here's what wind chill values are expected to look like Christmas Eve. Wind chill advisories are a given.
Late Christmas day temperatures do begin to moderate as return flow sets up allowing readings to reach into the range of 20-25 for highs. Saturday promises temperatures in the low to mid 30s before slight cooling on Sunday drops highs to 25 north to about 32 far south. There could be some light snow late in the day Sunday, especially over the NE third of the area. I'll have more on that trend in my next post. As for the next significant storm that is not due in until the 30th and it is one to watch with heavy snow likely in some part of the central and upper Midwest. Stay warm my friends and here's hoping the joy of Christmas and the holiday season finds you. Roll weather...TS