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If you threw another log on the fire Tuesday morning nobody would blame you. Temperatures were running mighty fresh with lots of 20s and even some teens from my area northwest. The day started with readings that looked like this.

That's plenty fresh but with winds gusting 25-30 mph, it was downright frisky. Here's the wind chills reported at 7:00am around the Midwest Tuesday. Some in NW Iowa were hovering around zero, which is rare for October 18th. Let's hope that's not a sign of things to come as we are still more than two months away from the official start to winter!

While some of us did see snowflakes, it was nothing more than a reminder winter is knocking loudly on the door. Up north, it was a much bigger deal where some places in NW Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan had 12-18 inches (this was largely lake effect snow). Here's where snow has accumulated so far this season.

We have plenty of time to talk winter weather so let's focus on the positive which is warmer weather and potentially some needed rain in the long range.

First we focus on the changes taking place at 500mb. The deep trough that has brought our winter preview is slowly but surely lifting northeast. By the end of the weekend it's replaced by a ridge and SW flow. You can see how the pattern at 500mb evolves on this animation from the EURO. That's a dramatic pattern change.

Look at the difference this makes in Midwest temperatures. Here's the negative departures we experienced Tuesday.

Now the positive departures we're expecting this weekend.

That translates to highs in the 70s, perhaps as soon as Friday but most certainly Saturday and Sunday. The EURO meteogram looks like this for the Quad Cities. Say hello to the 70s! We'll warm over 50 degree degrees from our lows in the 20s Wednesday morning to our highs Saturday in the mid 70s. It will be windy but I'll sign up for that. One thing to note, we do have another very crisp day to deal with Wednesday before we start climbing up the roller coaster Thursday.

Now, with the SW flow in place and a developing storm out west, not only do we warm, we tap into moisture. Something we have not experienced around the central Midwest in quite some time. Dew points which Tuesday morning were in the range of 5-10 (super dry air), could crack 60 Sunday night which is pretty healthy for late October.

Sunday night or Monday, a potent storm will send a cold front into the warm moist air. That should trigger showers and thunderstorms. The timing of the front will be critical to the strength of the storms and how heavy the rains might be. That is still too early to determine but I can say if things come together right, there is impressive shear and some part of the central Midwest (especially western Iowa) could see severe weather. Something to keep an eye on.

More important, this pattern opens the door to a more active brand of weather with additional rain chances down the road. Here's what guidance is suggesting for rainfall totals Sunday night through Monday. Nothing overwhelming but its early and one of the stronger and more organized storms we've seen in weeks.



The national model blend

The Weather Prediction Center outlook

The Climate Prediction Center is also focused on the central U.S. receiving above normal precipitation in its 6-10 day outlook.

I don't know about you but a some mild weather and a rain producing thunderstorm sounds mighty good to me right now. I can deliver on the warmth this weekend, but I'm far less confident on the rain Monday. Until we meet again, roll weather...TS.


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