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Winter doesn't officially get underway for another 3 weeks, but we've gotten a real good taste of it the past few days. Most areas received 2-4" of snow Saturday night and early Sunday, which for November is a healthy little system. Amounts were even heavier in Kansas where up to 14" was measured northeast of Wichita. Wichita itself received 7.8 inches of snow, which was the 2nd greatest one day November snowfall on record for Wichita. With just this one storm, November 2023 will go down as the 4th snowiest November on record for Wichita.

Here's a closer inspection of totals around Iowa and my immediate area. Lowden, Iowa picked up 4.4 inches with Cedar Rapids totaling 4.0. I'll take it.

Arctic air followed up the snow Sunday night, making for a really frisky Monday. At 3:00pm in Dubuque my temperature was 16, the wind chill was zero, and snow showers were scattered about. Temperature departures were 20-22 degrees below what's typical.

See how the cold has penetrated the Midwest and Great Lakes Monday evening.

Overnight temperatures are expected to be at their coldest levels, with the 3K NAM showing lows Tuesday ranging from 5 north to 12 south.

Wind chills to start Tuesday are expected to fall slightly below zero to the north of I-80.

Readings will continue quite cold through the day Tuesday, with highs only reaching 20 north to 25 south. Wind chills all day will be a factor, never climbing higher than the low to mid-teens.


Moderation does come to the central Midwest mid-week in the form of a new trough which digs into the west. Here's what the 500mb jet is forecast to look like Friday morning. The SW flow aloft will gradually modify the remnants of today's cold air, initiating a warming trend that could have highs in the low 40s as early as Wednesday.

Before the warming trend can really get cooking, a southern stream disturbance will send a low pressure towards SE Illinois Friday. That drags a cold front through the region, turning winds to the east and lowering temperatures a few degrees Friday into the weekend, resulting in chilly but seasonal temperatures in the mid 30s to near 40. Regarding precipitation, the track is still a bit uncertain with the southern stream energy, which creates doubt whether it can reach my southern counties. The GFS is the model that shows a rain or rain to snow mix reaching SE Iowa and WC Illinois (mainly SE of the Quad Cities). The EURO keeps the entire area dry, as does most of the CAMS. Phasing is the key, and I am quite sure the GFS is too far north and overdone on amounts. If so, the precipitation slides safely off to the southeast. That's my preferred solution at this time, but I'll give models another day to resolve the situation.

With the mean trough holding near or just west of the region, additional energy is shown ejecting into the Midwest Saturday and again around Monday. Confidence is low on how the energy is bundled and where the rain snow line will reside. There is certainly the potential for amplification, which could lead to a stronger system. There are many variables yet to be established. Thus, all we can do is watch things unfold the next few days.

Further down the road, one thing that does bother me a bit is the MJO (Madden Julien Oscillation) shown taking a run through phase 4 December 2nd-December 12th. As you can see on the right of the graphic below, temperature analogs for phase 4 in December are very mild. This would certainly suggest a week or so of mild weather dominated by Pacific air. However, the amplitude of the MJO is not strong and December 13th-24th it's already moved back into phases 7 and 8, and is headed towards 1. Those are cold phases in December. Hopefully the lack of amplitude and speed of the cycle will keep us from getting blow torched for any significant period of time.

One thing that may help, is if the GFS extended teleconnections are correct, they show the means (the green dotted lines) of the Arctic Oscillation remaining negative or near neutral through December 31st.

The negative AO indicates weaker westerlies aloft, which allows colder air to reach the mid-latitudes. That's clearly a contradictory teleconnection compared to what the MJO shows.

Another factor that I feel will play a significant factor in our "winter overall" is the cooling of the El Niño waters near the coast of South America. While sea surface temperatures have dropped off there, they have warmed in the enso region 3.4 to the west. That implies to me that we are headed for a Modoki El Niño, which is not the typical run-of-the-mild blow torch version. It does give me hope that this winter will have its moments of cold and snow. So far, that is a positive trend that we seem to be moving towards. Time will tell. That's all for now. Roll weather...TS



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