WELL THAT WAS ENJOYABLE...
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WHAT AN ENJOYABLE DAY...
It was a good day for me Friday as we finally had a storm of respectable proportions, especially in terms precipitation. The only thing that would have made it better was if it had come as snow. As it was, we did see thunderstorms and some nice downpours for a time. Around 6:30 PM. Friday evening a tornado warning was even issued for Louisa County just south of Muscatine (you can see it below in the red polygon with others further south in Missouri). Notice the tornado watch box that extends right up to the Iowa border. That's a rare sight to see December 10th.
Below you can see 11 different tornado warnings in effect at the same time (7:20 PM). So far at least 28 tornadoes have been reported by SPC which makes this one of the most significant December outbreaks on record. Several fatalities have been reported along with significant damage from a long tracked supercell that may have produced tornadoes for more than 225 miles.
As for rain totals they have varied dramatically in my area. There was a narrow band where estimates on Doppler were in the range of 1 to 1.5 inches running northeast from near Mt. Pleasant to Davenport and beyond Clinton. Another one shows up a little southeast of that. Models did poorly indicating the heavy amounts which were very much tied to convective clusters. Elsewhere, most totals fell into the category of 1/4 to 1/2 inch. The NWS in Davenport reports more than 1.15 inches. That's the largest amount to fall there since October 24th and more than the past 44 days combined! Needed it...
Further north in the cold sector of the storm snow was piling up fast from far northern Iowa into Minnesota and the NW half of Wisconsin. Some totals of 12-18" inches were registered near and south of the Minneapolis metro area. East St. Paul at last report was at 21" with snow winding down.
Behind the storm center, winds have turned in strongly from the NW. Gusts of up to 40 mph can be expected through mid-morning Saturday before winds gradually subside late in the day. Temperatures have also dipped into the upper 20s NW to low 30s southeast. Reading will generally remain in the range of 35-40 despite some sunshine breaking through by afternoon. Wind chills will be a factor starting in the upper teens before ending in the upper 20s late.
Very early in the day scattered snow showers are also likely but the the majority of these will be found in the NW half of my area (especially NW of the Quad Cities) The HRRR indicates the potential of some minor accumulations, perhaps a 1/2" along a line from Cedar Rapids to Dubuque. Amounts go up from the northwest. Any snow showers are gone by early to mid-morning and clearing skies will eventually follow. Sunday looks much better as as winds are already backing to the south allowing warmer air a pathway back into the Midwest.
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THE BIG THAW...
So, just case you haven't heard, there's a major warm-up coming the first half of next week. An anomalously strong ridge of high pressure gets situated over the Midwest allowing temperatures to climb far above normal. For the past 3 or 4 days the GFS has been indicating highs near 70. Yea, you read it right.
For perspective, here are the existing records for December 15th. If the guidance is correct and clouds don't get in the way, those records could be obliterated by 10-13 degrees. Mercy!
The GFS ensembles show a 50-70 percent shot at a high of 70 or warmer that day over the SW quadrant of my area.
Now, for added fun take a look at the EURO meteogram through December 21st. In Cedar Rapids highs are shown falling from 68 the 15th to 24 the 20th. (a drop of 44 degrees if it happens). MORE IMPRESSIVE is comparing the 68 degree high to the low of 16 the 18th. That's a 52 degree swing! Ooh la la....
That drop also coincides with the MJO's entrance into Phase 7 and what could be phase 8 the last 10 days of December. Both the GFS and EURO show it below.
What's impressive about this is how well it correlates to the MJO's phase analogs. Through the 18th we are in phase 6 and that's a perfect fit for the temperatures we'll be experiencing. By the time we get to the 21st and that cold burst, the GFS and the EURO shows we are well into phase 7 and on our way to 8. Look at how the analogs correlate to what's happening and what's to come.
This is why Terry watches the MJO! Assuming this happens, the MJO caught it at least a week ago. The models are just now catching up. Really fascinating how precipitation (and its location) in the Indian Ocean can drive thermal profiles across North America. This would be a classic example of how it works and why it's such a great long term teleconnection. It may take a bit for the cold to really deepen and lock the cold air in (meaning a series of cold fronts). However, if we do indeed go into phase 8 late December things could be rather frosty by the start of the new year.
One last thing. Today is my mother's 92 birthday and I want to send a shout out to momma Rose. She's been a remarkable mother and a rock to lean on. I would not be half the man I am without her positive and loving influence. Happy Birthday Rosita!
On that note, I close this post on a day that produced some wild weather that was quite entertaining and enjoyable to me. Thanks for checking in and roll weather...TS