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Following a couple of beautiful days in the region the pattern turns more active heading towards the weekend with showers and thunderstorms likely. A few strong storms will be possible, but I think an organized severe threat remains unlikely.

There will likely be showers in the very early morning hours with a break in the rain come late morning and early afternoon. Later Friday, an approaching cold front will fire off more showers and storms across the region. There will be some potential these storms will be strong with gusty winds and large hail, but at the moment I am not convinced of a widespread severe threat.

Officially the Storm Prediction Center has a Level 1 of 5 risk Friday, a Marginal Risk, for strong storms. I think the placement looks pretty good. Instability will be limited, but there will be a good amount of wind shear in place due to the approaching low pressure center. A tornado threat is not zero, but it's very low.

Overall the rainfall forecast remains on track, a widespread 0.5" to 1.0" looks likely. There will be some potential for pockets up to 2.0" where we see numerous thunderstorms.

The showers will linger into Saturday with abundant cloud cover as well. This will keep temperatures in the mid 70s. Saturday will not be an ideal day for any outdoor activities, but Sunday we will turn mainly sunny with highs back into the upper 70s.

Early next week, quiet weather returns with plenty of sun and temperatures in the low/mid 80s. Generally near-normal temperatures. Long-range, things get a little interesting.

The long-range European model continues to hint at near-normal temperatures to end the month of August which has been my forecast if you've been watching me over on the TV in the Cedar Rapids market. I think that makes the most sense based on the global state of the weather.

Looking at the MJO, the pattern looks to head into phase three and four moving into late August and September.

For this time of year, there is not a very strong signal for temperatures, which is part of the reason I am favoring the near-normal temperature forecast in the next two weeks.

What gets a little confusing is the long-range GFS/GEFS. They both support a significant warmup in late August. There's a reason I call this model the goofus. We (well most meteorologists I hope) know it has terrible issues handling the "mixing" of the atmosphere and leads to significant errors in temperature forecasts during warm weather. The GFS just simply cannot be trusted and I would encourage those that look at the models to be very cautious when using it for temperature forecasts.

Stormy will be looking out for the rain tomorrow, he loves running around and getting muddy, much to my dismay. Have a great night friends!

-Meteorologist Nick Stewart


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