Friday, December 29, 2006

Winter Rain??

Another storm system is affecting areas of the plains already today, areas of Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska have had heavy snow reports throughout the afternoon. In some reports, thundersnow was mentioned with the snow accumulating over 3 inches an hour. Highest totals so far have been featured in the Colorado mountains, where over 2 feet of snow just today has occurred. Look for highest snow totals on the plains to be featured from northwest Kansas through central Nebraska, where areas may see over 18 inches of snow. Higher snow amounts may also be seen in central Dakotas, although a foot is likely to be the highest amount possible. The snow will taper off in amounts to the west and east of the heavy bands forecasted in those areas… Other snowfall is likely by Sunday/Monday across central Minnesota although highest amounts there are likely in the 2-5 inch range.

As for Iowa, looks like another rain event for the state through Sunday afternoon. Rain today has tapered off for a while, although more is likely tonight and tomorrow. Several bands of rain are likely to make their way through the state over the weekend, even as temperatures slowly fall during the day on Sunday. Finally by Sunday evening it does look like areas of northwest Iowa may be cold enough to handle some snowfall, although amounts at this time are looking to only be 1-2 inches at most. That snow may make for some slippery conditions, but nothing very hazardous seems likely right now. Nonetheless, travelers for New Year’s parties may want to keep an eye out if anything changes as systems like this could easily change tracks or become slightly cooler or warmer and thus change precipitation form. But, for now the latest forecast is looking like rain even though winter is supposed to be here!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Another Potential Winter Storm

Well if you haven’t been paying attention to the forecasts, another system is making its’ way onto the plains in the next couple of days and has the potential for winter weather once again. Currently, the forecast is varied depending on what model you go with and what TV station or NWS office you listen too. The best choice as of right now is looking at mainly a rain forecast for the state of Iowa, at least until Saturday. Saturday is when the forecast gets a bit trickier, with cold air really moving in as we are northwest of the low. Potential is there for some freezing rain as well as the changeover from rain to snow as the night goes on. Entering the day on Sunday looks to have all snow in the forecast through much of the state, but exact amounts are going to depend on how fast the system moves and how much moisture is still in the atmosphere by this time.

Total amounts are not being discussed at the moment, not at least for areas of IA/MN as well as eastern NE/SD beings the snowfall shouldn’t begin in those areas until Sunday. Thus, with it still that far out in the forecast, the NAM hasn’t yet been able to grasp whether or not the snow will fall or the rain will continue. They do agree on the forecast out to Saturday night, with areas of western/central Nebraska as well as adjacent areas of South Dakota receiving the snowfall. By Sunday the snow begins to make its’ way northeastward as well, with the GFS making the snowline roughly Norfolk, NE to Sioux Falls continuing to the Twin Cities. Those snowfall amounts just north of the line aren’t terribly impressive yet looking at basic snow ratios, but looking at BUFKIT data for better forecasted amounts there may be potential for 6-9 inches of snow in those areas.

Still a lot of things to be worked out, areas of NE/SD and others to be affected by this storm already before the work week is over can start to hone in on the amounts. Areas further east are going to have to wait at least another 24 hours to see how the NAM treats this storm and thus the forecasted snow amounts become better defined. Look for another update in that 24 hours for the areas of Iowa to have their first snowfall forecast from this system!

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas!

Hope everybody has a great Christmas and safe travels to wherever you are headed, although most of your traveling may have been done over the weekend. The forecast for Christmas looks good, featuring temperatures from the lower to mid 30s throughout the state of Iowa. Christmas lows should drop to the lower teens in northwest Iowa, while some lower 20s in the southeast. The only foreseeable problem with the forecast may be the slightly breezy winds, northwest winds 10-20 mph seem likely across the state with some gusts likely getting up to that 25 mph mark.

Dry week until Thursday/Friday when the next system should be making its’ way onto the plains and thus bringing the chance once again for some type of winter weather. Of course this far out it is hard to make a good estimation of how the system looks and thus I won’t say too much more about it at this point. Just to keep a watch out as things may be able to get a little interesting before the weekend…

Friday, December 22, 2006

Winter Storm Bust!

Well, at least for the portions of Iowa that were expecting a sign of winter this was a big time snowfall bust. The system was there and it put down plenty of precipitation, unfortunately just not in the frozen form of snow. Instead areas of northwest Iowa and much of the surrounding areas ended up with rain, some freezing rain on occasions and then yesterday into today some dense fog. Other areas to the north in central Minnesota did get a good mix of winter precip along with our areas to the west. Some areas of central/western Nebraska did get close to a foot of snow, with areas of Colorado getting snow measured in feet!

All in all, another winter storm bust for some areas of the plains… Currently there is a slight chance of some snow just before Christmas that may be able to make some things white. But, don’t be hoping for anything as it certainly looks like it will be a green/brown christmas instead of the hopeful white one.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Pre-Christmas Winter Storm

Update #4

Rain has fallen most of the night and is currently still occurring, the roadways are wet and the ground is very mushy with the large amounts of rain that have fallen over the past 24 hours. Winter Weather Advisory still in effect for the counties of Dickinson, Osceola and Lyon counties in northwest Iowa, surrounding areas of southwest Minnesota as well as South Dakota are in at least an advisory as well. Look for raining conditions to continue into the afternoon, then changing over to snow as the temperature begins to drop around 3 pm today… This will likely cause some freezing conditions on roadways making travel hazardous once again. Snowfall amounts are still variable with warmer than expected temperatures so far in the area, thus rainfall turning over to light snow is the likely wording you will hear today. Thus, icy conditions are the reasoning behind the advisory.

Only rain here to speak of, had ice last night but with slightly warmer temperatures and the rain that has melted off. Look for icy conditions to develop once again this evening/tonight however…

Winter Arrives!!

Update #3

As winter official begins with December 21st, winter also arrives with the feeling of ice and the forecast of more ice/snow. Currently sitting at temperatures right at freezing, with light rain falling for the past couple of hours is creating some hazardous conditions finally. Roadways in northwest Iowa are beginning to freeze over, thus partly covered with ice conditions probably exist across many of the roads. The ice is also audible thanks to the wind which is slowly swaying the trees giving the all ominous sound of crackling. So at least a light layer of ice exists across the area…

Winter Weather Advisory still in effect for Iowa counties north of highway 20 and west of highway 4, although icy conditions do exist just east of highway 4 as well. Although this advisory does not begin until 6 am, as you can tell the conditions will deteriorate rapidly in some areas, still looking for light accumulations of ice throughout the night and morning, potentially with some rain before turning over to all snow with 2-4 inches of accumulation possible.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Pre-Christmas Winter Storm

Update #2

Light rain occurred off and on throughout the afternoon, total accumulation here was .03 inches. Temperature has slowly dropped since 3 pm this afternoon, we are now sitting just above freezing at 33 degrees. Expect another band of rain to work its’ way into northwest Iowa over the next couple of hours as it is currently near Onawa, IA and spread back to the southeast. This should work its’ way north and thus producing a little more rain on surfaces that may potentially freeze later tonight as the temperature continues to drop.

Expect this light rain to continue, potentially freezing during the early morning hours before turning over to snow. Snowfall amounts in areas over northwest Iowa will range from a dusting to 6 inches over extreme northwest Iowa. Just to name a few cities and their forecasted amounts:

Sioux City: 1-3 Inches
LeMars: 2-4 Inches
Sheldon: 4-7 Inches
Storm Lake: 2-4 Inches
Spencer: 3-6 Inches
Spirit Lake: 3-6 Inches
Estherville: 2-4 Inches

Pre-Christmas Winter Storm

Update #1

The NWS out of Sioux Falls has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for areas of northwest Iowa tonight through Thursday evening.

The counties of Lyon, Sioux and Plymouth are under this advisory from 10 pm tonight through 6 pm Thursday; Temperatures just above freezing will halt any freezing rain that was possible this morning, thus mostly rain falling this afternoon before temperatures begin to drop once again. This rain should change over to snow tonight, with heavy snow possible tomorrow morning, total accumulations at this time are forecasted to be 4-7 inches…
Other counties within the FSD warning area, including Osceola, Dickinson, O’Brien, Clay, Cherokee, Buena Vista and Ida are also under the winter weather advisory from 3 am Thursday until Midnight Thursday. Areas of freezing rain and snow should move into the area tonight, becoming all snow by Thursday morning where total snow accumulations should reach 2-4 inches. Some light ice accumulations are also possible before the snow changeover…
The rest of the state will likely be looking at mainly rain throughout this system, however counties nearby ones under the advisories will likely see a changeover to snow on Thursday as well, but only an inch or two seems likely at the moment.

Currently precipitation is rotating around this low that is centered in southwestern corner of Kansas and the Oklahoma panhandle. The low should move northeast into central Kansas this afternoon giving latest pressure falls over the plains. This is putting the deformation zone, or any area near the low that will be under nearly constant precipitation over most of the state of Nebraska as well as the mountains of Colorado. Other precipitation is moving north through eastern Kansas as well as Missouri, should begin to enter the state of Iowa this afternoon. Thunderstorms are possible in southern Iowa with this system, luckily most of this will fall as rain and not freezing rain like it was last night in areas of KS/OK/TX.

Only some light rain this morning here at my house, expecting more precipitation to slowly work its’ way into the area this afternoon and the main core of the storm to begin late tonight. Any slight shift in the path could affect the amounts of snow/ice, so although this current forecast looks good, don’t be surprised to here any changes this afternoon as the low continues to move.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Winter Storm Nears…

The last couple of hours have been a flurry of Winter Storm Watches that have been issued for much of the western plains states. The watches now extend into northwestern Iowa as Sioux Falls just released their watch indicating a significant winter storm may be on its’ way. Currently the storm system is affecting areas of the southwest and southern plains states, mainly Texas/Oklahoma and into the Rockies. Ice Storm Warnings as well as Winter Storm Warnings are posted for the Texas panhandle and Oklahoma panhandle, with ice accumulations expected to be over a 1/4 of an inch. This storm will move north tonight/Tuesday and setup somewhere in Nebraska before moving off to the east on Wednesday over some portion of Iowa.

Currently the forecasted track is still fairly variable, as the system has yet to make its’ way north to setup for its’ trip east, it is quite possible for the track to change slightly either north or south. Thus, no solid forecast amounts for ice or snow have been made for the northern plains quite yet. Early indications do have areas of eastern Nebraska, southeastern South Dakota with a potential 3-6 inches of snow at least. That to go along with some ice accumulations early in the storm. Northwest Iowa as well as extreme southwest Minnesota currently on on the forecast of significant ice accumulations, potentially above a 1/4 inch. Snow totals aren’t as great in this area, but 3 inches or more could easily be possible. Another update will be likely tomorrow morning and afternoon, most likely as these watches are switched over to some type of warning. In the meantime, the latest Winter Storm Watch texts from throughout the nation can be read here: NWS WSW Text’s

White Christmas?!?

Well although there are plenty of people who don’t like the snow, most of them still want a white Christmas and as of now very few have that. So, what does the forecast say about this? Well it shows that some areas of the plains may get there shot at a white Christmas thanks to this next system midweek this week. Before I go on about the track of this system and any type of precipitation, I will put the nice disclaimer that the track is highly likely to change at least somewhat in which could change what an area gets as far as precipitation goes and with the change in track/strength the temperature profiles from this storm are likely to change and thus have a change in potential precipitation type.

Now as for this system, a low pressure system breaking off from the southern jet stream should move nearly northward from the Texas panhandle into the Nebraska panhandle or at least some portion of NE. This type of low is called a Texas Hooker, sorry just had to share the great name. Once this system makes its’ way northward, which is likely to occur during the day on Tuesday, it will be picked up by a shortwave from the north. This will likely give the system upper level support that it needs to strengthen during the night Tuesday and into Wednesday as it starts to move towards the east across Nebraska and into Iowa. The track of this system should then take it into the Great Lakes region, but as it does show most of the support for the low seems to be taken away and thus weakening is expected. So, in review, areas of the western Plains are likely to be affected by this system Tuesday night into Wednesday with the potential of light freezing rain as well as snow. Snow amounts just beyond the mountains in CO and into western Nebraska and western Kansas are likely to be in the 6-12 inch range. Other areas of NE/KS and areas southeast are likely to see significant amounts of rain, over an inch likely.

As this system moves across the plains, winter weather will potentially affect areas of Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota and Minnesota for the most part. As the low moves across the central portions of the state as far as the current forecast goes, the areas to the south/east and thus southeast of the low will likely receive rain as the main precipitation type. Just to the north, northwest and west of the low, with warmer air still residing in some parts of the atmosphere the potential will likely be there for freezing rain. Further north of the low, approx. 75-100 miles and beyond you will then see more light snow likely with more significant snows possible northwest and west of the low about that same distance and beyond. But, as you will likely guess, the most significant winter weather that will come into play will be the freezing rain. I should get another update up tomorrow night or sometime on Tuesday to give a better idea of the track and potential hazardous conditions. For now, definitely need to keep an eye on this system as it does hold potential…

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Strong Winds bring Record Warmth

Areas of Iowa will see gusty winds today as a weather system moves over the state, some areas of the state have been put under a Wind Advisory. Areas of the state under the wind advisory may see winds average 25 to 40 mph with gusts upwards of 45 mph. Other areas of the state may not see winds that high, but still have gusty winds from the west. These gusty winds although may make it feel a bit cooler, the wind is actually partially responsible for bringing in some very warm temperatures. Temperatures across the state will be nearing the 60 degree mark in western and southern Iowa while areas of northeastern Iowa may only see temperatures in the mid 50s it is still well above normal.

So, look out for the gusty winds as you are going throughout your day as well as get out and enjoy the potential record warmth that is spreading over the area!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Surprise! Freezing Fog & Severe Weather!

Northwest Iowa is watching for the potential of freezing fog and freezing drizzle tonight into the early morning hours while central Iowa is watching a line of thunderstorms moving through with one of them being severe warned!

Very foggy conditions have hung around much of the state today and should continue through the night, this has prompted the NWS to issue Dense Fog Advisories for portions of southeastern Iowa. Although no Dense Fog Advisory is issued for northwest Iowa, the same can most likely be expected there tonight. The exception is with near freezing temperatures in that region, a more likely chance will be there for Freezing Rain/Fog. Lyon, Sioux and Plymouth counties in northwest Iowa have been listed under a Freezing Rain Advisory. Surrounding areas should still keep an eye on conditions as they could also be treacherous for driving.

The severe weather is mainly affecting a small portion of the state, as only one cell has been severe warned. But, this cell has maintained its’ severe status for over 30 minutes. Counties of Madison and Dallas were listed under the warning at 9:23 PM with the potential for penny sized hail. Madison county was dropped from this warning as the cell moved into eastern Dallas county and has maintained its’ potential for severe weather. The storm is currently to the northwest of Des Moines and looks to be moving to the north/northeast at 30 mph. The warning expires within a couple of minutes and I do not believe it will be extended, but still a lightning show and some moderate rainfall when you don’t usually see that as we near the middle of December. Hence the title of ‘Surprise!’

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Active Week

At least a little more active weather-wise, a lot more active school-wise as it is finals week! Four finals to get through this week, in fact, 4 finals to get through just in the first half of the week. A final on Monday, 2 finals on Tuesday and I’ll finish up on Wednesday with a 10-Noon final and then on my way back home for the long awaited semester break sometime Wednesday afternoon. But, now for the more active weather…

Two systems look to affect the area, one starting as soon as tomorrow. Some areas of drizzle and/or light showers are possible across the state tomorrow afternoon. But, by tomorrow night it looks like more widespread areas of rain should affect eastern Iowa. Central Iowa may see more of a light rain/drizzle event for much of the time, while areas of western Iowa may just have more of drizzle if nothing at all. The rain should last into Tuesday for areas of eastern Iowa, drizzle still possible in central Iowa and western Iowa should be dry by then. Tuesday evening should be the end for all rain over the state, although areas of drizzle/fog may still remain across the state.
The next system to move through will be a quick moving clipper, much like what the state saw midweek last week. The same path looks like it may occur, thus areas of northern Iowa may be impacted the most by it. This system is still questionable as with all clippers being such quick moving and with the lack of moisture, precipitation doesn’t look definite at this time. A light snow/rain mix is possible with this system, potentially causing some slick roadway conditions once again over northern Iowa. This system could change however, so just a lookout to be on the lookout for any drastic changes.

As for temperatures over the week, they look to be fairly steady. Highs today are reaching into the upper 40s and lower 50s across the state with lows tonight in the upper 20s to mid 30s from northwest to southeast. Mondays’ highs should range from 40 to the mid 40s across the state from north to south; Lows Monday may drop in the west with the passing of the first system while they remain mild in the east. Mid 20s in the northwest corner of the state, lower 30s in the central portion of the state and upper 30s seem likely in the east where cloudcover should hold the temperatures up. Tuesday temperatures should hover around 40 for most of the state, lows on Tuesday ranging from low/mid 20s in the west to around the 30 mark in the eastern portion of the state. Highs for the remainder of the week should range from 40-45 in the northwest, lower 40s to upper 40s in the rest of the state as they slowly rise Wednesday through Friday. Lows over that time should be in the lower 20s in the northwest while upper 20s are more likely in the southwest.

Wednesday, December 6, 2006

December 6th Clipper

A nice clipper is currently on its’ way through the state of Iowa and surrounding areas, initial forecasts for this system indicated that it would likely be too dry for any snowfall to occur or if it did only flurries would be the ones to survive to the ground. This morning a band of snow developed in areas of southeast South Dakota and made its’ way across southwest Minnesota and northwest Iowa while continuing to expand to the southwest. Currently this band of snow stretches from southwestern Wisconsin through central Iowa. Although the snow is mainly light, some areas of moderate snow have been seen reducing visibilities to a mile or two at times. Winds are gusty at times and thus some blowing snow across the roadways may become hazardous if drivers are not careful. At this time it looks like the most any area should receive is an inch although most places should receive even less as the band of snow works its’ way through.

A nice little winter surprise for people in the area and goes to show how difficult winter weather forecasting can be with rapid changing conditions.

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

'Dead Week'

Well besides several colleges being in what they call dead week, the weather has seemingly taken off this week. This is the final week before Fall semester Finals begin, thus ending the semester for most college students by December 15th. I’ll get up a Finals’ forecast sometime this weekend, but for now a look at the remainder of this week and through the weekend.

Waking up tomorrow should have everybody around the state in the lower to mid 20s, while highs will vary a bit more across the state. Northern portions of the state will likely just get above 30 degrees, while southern Iowa reaches the mid 30s and potentially some upper 30s to near 40 in southwestern Iowa. Thursday night with high pressure above the state the temperatures look to drop dramatically, nearing Zero across northern Iowa. Otherwise, the rest of the state should still be in single digits with the warmest locations being in the extreme southern corners. Highs on Thursday look to be in the lower 20s across most of the state, while lows Thursday night once again drop hard in the east where lows will drop to the single digits. While a new air mass is moving into the state on Thursday night, western areas of the state will see the lower teens and central Iowa looks at around 10 for the low. This new airmass makes its’ way across the entire state by Friday, where highs from the lower 30s in the east to near the 40 degree mark along the western edges.

This weekends’ lows should be fairly steady, with Friday nights’ ranging from the lower 20s to mid 20s. Saturday nights’ lows a little warmer, from the mid 20s to potentially some upper 20s in the south. Sunday night the lows drop a little bit, but still remaining in the lower 20s for the most part although some areas of northwest Iowa may drop into the upper teens. Highs on Saturday actually look to be above normal, with highs in the east near the snowpack remaining near 40 while the western portion of the state is reaching to the 50 mark. Sundays’ highs are nearly the same, most likely a degree or two cooler than Saturday.

No precipitation looks to be in sight at the moment, if anybody sees anything it will at most be a few snow flurries although even that looks like a long shot.

Friday, December 1, 2006

Winter Storm Ends

The winter storm that went across the central Plains and has been featured in quite a few of the National news programs has finally came to an end. Some areas in Central Missouri reached snowfall totals of 17 inches to go along with strong winds in the area. Other portions of Missouri & Illinois saw more of an ice event, where nearly an inch of ice crippled the power lines. All in all, 9 different National Weather Service offices have issued special reports showing the impact of this winter storm. They ranged from Lubbock, TX through Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri all the way northeastward to Chicago where areas of Illinois saw 10 inches of snow. It continued overnight as it reached into Wisconsin area as well, highest storm total from the Milwaukee, WI NWS office also indicates that 17.5 inches of snow fell! This storm was one of the worst ones that many of those areas have had for quite a while, with power being lost for over 24 hours and I’m sure some people still without power this afternoon as crews struggle getting around in the very cold temperatures. I’ve gathered together links from the NWS offices so you can go check out some pictures as well as images of the snowfall totals across their region, they’re listed below:

Lubbock, TX Snowfall Images/Totals Map

Amarillo, TX Snowfall Map

Norman, OK Enhanced Webpage Featuring Several Cool Snowfall Maps

Tulsa, OK Snowfall Report Maps

Wichita, KS Snow Report Listing

Springfield, MO Snowfall Image

Kansas City 18″ Snow Reports & Ice Storm Summary

St. Louis, MO Snowfall Report Maps

Central Illinois Snowfall Reports

Chicago, IL Snowfall Reports

Wisconsin Snowfall Reports