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Goodness gracious, it's December. How the time does fly. After a fine day to close out November, the new month starts with a storm that has brought wet weather to all but the NW quadrant of the area.

The initial disturbance today is associated with southern stream energy and a surface low tracking towards St. Louis. Scattered light to moderate rain will continue to fall Friday morning before diminishing by early afternoon. As the rain band has worked north, it is gradually entering a cooler environment over my northwest counties that has (or will) create a wintry mix. That could eventually change briefly to all snow in a narrow corridor of EC Iowa and NW Illinois. Some minor accumulations are possible, especially on grassy and elevated surfaces. However, aside from this small area it appears most spots WILL NOT be cold enough for snow Friday morning, and the winter weather advisory that was in effect has been cancelled.

After a short lull in precipitation Friday afternoon, a second disturbance quickly follows the first Friday evening. It's shown generating some additional light rain or snow showers, but they will be light. Overall, the storm has just not come together as indicated last night from a wintry weather standpoint and will cause minimal impacts after the main body of precipitation departs this morning.

Precipitation from this first round of energy was significant and welcome in the SE half of my region. Unfortunately, most of it missed the severe drought areas of eastern Iowa, which desperately needs it. Here's what models are showing through Friday afternoon for liquid totals.

The next wave of energy comes Saturday evening into early Sunday. Guidance again indicates the potential for another round of snow during this period. How the energy phases and where it tracks will determine where and how much snow falls.

The GFS is the most amplified with more lift and energy and produces a nice band of snow, but it's generally NW of the Quad Cities. The EURO being weaker has lighter amounts, generally under an inch, and from the Quad Cities east. With the complexity of the trough and its energy, I can make a case for either solution. For now, I'll just say Saturday night/early Sunday is a period of interest and leave it at that.

Last but not least, a clipper could bring one more period of light snow next Tuesday, but that's one to tackle after we get through the realignment of the upper air pattern that takes place after the weekend. I will say behind the clipper, the flow aloft turns more zonal, sending a slug of Pacific air into the Midwest later next week. That should substantially moderate temperatures to well above normal standards. Until then, temperatures should be fairly typical in the mid 30s to low 40s.

It's my belief that the warm-up that's coming next week is being driven by convection in the tropical Pacific. The location of that latent heat is what the 8 phases of the MJO measure. We know that each phase has associated temperature analogs for each specific month. These anomalies, warm or cold, are not uniform for a phase all year long. They vary from month to month. In other words, a certain phase could be cool in summer but warm in winter. Additionally, the more amplitude (further away from the diagram's center), the larger the departures are likely to be.

Below, if you follow the dotted line from November 29th to December 12th, you can track the GFS MJO through phases 4, 5, and 6 during that period. The center panels show the temperature anomalies for those phases in December, and they are quite warm, as indicated by the orange colors.

That correlates nicely to the warmth that models are indicating is coming. These are the 5-day temperature departures the GFS indicates December 6th-11th.

Conversely, if you go back to the dotted line and follow it December 12-30th, they cycle into phases 7, 8, and 1. You can see in the far right panel those are cold phases in December (blue colors). There should be a reaction over North America that seeds and loads colder air back into the pattern well before Christmas. If you are hoping for a white Christmas, that is a positive sign (but certainly not a guarantee).

With that, I will let you get on with your Friday (assuming you're still with me). Happy December and roll weather...TS



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