Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Quick Clipper Snow

A quick update late this afternoon as I'm in between class and the men's basketball game tonight between Iowa State and Kansas. Which by the way you should watch on ESPN tonight, 6 PM CDT! We'll hope Hilton Magic can come up with something tonight, especially in a nationally televised game.

Either way, a quick clipper system should sweep over the state tomorrow and tomorrow night giving most areas an inch or two of snowfall. Currently the NWS has the best chances of the accumulating snow north of a line from Sioux City to roughly Ottumwa. Once you get northeast of Waterloo in northeast Iowa you should see the best chance of snow and likely 2 inches of snowfall in the afternoon hours. Some flurries may linger into the nighttime hours in the east, but no accumulations seem likely. This will give us a bit of cooler temperatures for the nighttime, but with skies clearing and the sun getting higher we'll see temperatures rebound nicely on Friday and continue into the weekend. Temperatures expected to be into the 40s and some 50s possible on Saturday and Sunday before the next storm system expected late Sunday and into Monday.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Gary Shore Passes Away

I was informed today by a few different people of the news that Gary Shore, meteorologist at KCAU-TV in Sioux City, IA passed away yesterday at the age of 55. Gary previously worked in Washington DC, Tulsa, OK and Huntsville, AL before coming to work in Sioux City, IA as the chief meteorologist. He graduated from New York Univ and then Penn State with a Masters degree in Meteorology. You could tell he enjoyed the weather and loved forecasting by watching his weather-casts on TV, which I have done for several years growing up in the Sioux City viewing area. I also had the privilege of meeting him at the Severe Storms & Doppler Radar Conference in Des Moines.

He is survived by his wife and two sons.

My condolences to his family and friends after this tough loss.

Winter Storm Recap (Feb. 25/26)

The latest winter storm has left the entire state under a sheet of ice and snow, making driving conditions once again hazardous. Nearly the entire state is reporting roads are mostly to completely covered in an ice/snow mix this morning, with a few roads advising no travel at all in southeast Iowa. This means once again that many of the schools are running late today until roads can be cleared.

Yesterdays' event wasn't nearly the event it could have and was forecasted to be. As the low pressure system followed a fairly well forecasted track through Missouri and then into Illinois the cold air simply did not fill in to the north of it. Precipitation began as rain or freezing rain throughout the entire state, not switching over to snow even in the northwest portion of the state until the mid to late morning hours. The changeover then continued to work southeast through the day, not making into areas of central Iowa until mid-afternoon. This allowed a majority of precipitation yesterday to fall as rain, keeping our snow totals down significantly from what was expected. The highest snowfall amounts reported via NWS COOP observers was 4 inches in Oskalooska, IA with several reports of 2 and 3 inches as well. Other areas in the extreme south and extreme north did not receive much of any precip, rain or snow. The liquid precipitation yesterday totaled nearly a half inch for many areas, with some isolated amounts even higher indicating that on an average rain to snow ratio, many areas should have seen at least 5 inches of snowfall yesterday if the cold air was there.

We'll take a break from winter for a bit once again, trying to warm back up and letting the sun shine. The next system looks to occur Thursday into Thursday night, however it looks to mainly be light to moderate snow with no significant accumulations. Looking well ahead will have most people smiling for the weekend as temperatures over the state will be well above freezing, even some areas pushing for 50! This of course will come before our next strong and potentially significant system for early next week.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Winter Storm Update: Feb 25-26

The rain has been changing over to snow across the state, here in Ames the change-over occurred around 3 PM with very large flakes falling. The large flakes continue to fall and have picked up to a moderate to heavy rate. These types of snows are likely to accumulate quickly on the ground, the question now is how long the snow will continue to fall behind the change-over.

Expect the change-over to occur in Des Moines before 4 PM, as it is occurring along a southwest to northeast line that seems to be directly behind the bright band that is located from Marshalltown to Ames to Guthrie Center and presumably continues outward from that axis. The winter storm warning was canceled for central Iowa as the change from rain to snow occurred much later than previously expected. Nonetheless, expect snowfall totals to still range from 2-5 inches with a few heavier amounts may be possible if the snow continues to fall heavy at times. Eastern Iowa is still holding onto the winter storm warning, however accumulations should still only be in the 4-7 inch range as the change to snow occurs and it may likely fall later into the night as the low continues to move east.

Winds still also expected to pick up overnight, potentially creating some blowing snow in open areas. However with rain this morning a majority of the snow may be able to stick to the ground and not blow around as easy.

Winter Storm Update: Feb 25-26

The winter storm for a majority of the southern half of the state is being a early spring storm more than anything as rain continues to fall. The northern half of the state has mainly turned over to a light snow or freezing rain precipitation. However, not much in the way of accumulations have occurred thus far over the state.

Snowfall accumulations over the state should remain under 6 inches throughout the state for even the heaviest banding. Difficult forecast and just mainly playing it by ear and sight with the reports coming in throughout the state. Traveling conditions still likely to be hazardous as the transition from rain to snow occurs, creating a slush on roadways, etc. Some freezing rain may also be encountered for some areas in the afternoon...

More updates possible late this afternoon, likely after the transition from rain to snow.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Winter Storm: Feb. 25/26

Low pressure system is continuing to strengthen over the central plains and should continue to track eastward during the overnight. Currently the largest pressure falls are occurring along the Nebraska and Kansas borders, this isn't terribly out of line with the latest forecasts. This low has however been trending to a more southward track, meaning the heaviest snows and likely worst weather has done the same. Currently the heaviest snowfall is expected to occur across central and east-central Iowa with greater than 6 inch totals expected. Other areas of the state are still likely to see precipitation, mainly in winter form. Portions of western Iowa may see some light ice accumulations tonight before turning over to snow in the morning, 2-5 inches of snow is still likely then through the day on Monday. Other areas of northern Iowa should see 2-5 inches of snow as well. The southern third of Iowa may see the precip begin as rain in the morning hours, with a change over to snow occurring during the early afternoon hours. The snow should continue into the nighttime hours, tapering off in the west by midnight and ceasing to only flurries for the entire state by sunrise on Tuesday. However, even by Tuesday the event won't be completely over as winds are expected to pick up once again creating some potential hazardous blowing snow conditions.

Updates on conditions and the going forecast may be made ~Noon tomorrow...

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Calm Weekend before the Storm!

The weekend will remain nice and calm, with increasing temperatures bringing much of the state out of the deep freeze it was in earlier this week. After temperatures drop down into the single digits above and below zero, they should rebound nicely tomorrow with highs in the upper 30s to mid 20s from southwest to northeast across the state of Iowa. Lows Saturday only in the teens with temperatures on Sunday rising nicely into the 30s across the entire state, except southwest Iowa where they should see lower 40s!

Sunday and Sunday night however will be the beginning of the action, as a low pressure system is likely to form on the Lee side of the Rockies and intensify over areas of KS/NE. Some precipitation is likely to be into Nebraska by Sunday night. However Iowa remains calm for the night with temperatures quite mild, lower 20s to near 30 across the state for lows.

As we enter Monday however we should see this system approach and cross over the state during the night on Monday. Currently the models are still struggling somewhat with location, but the favored forecast is going to put the state directly in line for the worst part of the winter weather from this storm. A mix of precip is possible over the state, some rain in the southern third, some sleet and freezing rain likely across the state and then the potential for another significant accumulation of snow. Estimates are only going to be rough guesses, but anywhere from an inch to potentially the double-digits (10") in total accumulation could occur. The snow should last through the day on Monday and into the night for a majority of the state. Some light snow possible Tuesday, however the bigger story will be the winds as they once again are expected to pick up following the snowfall.

Another update is likely by Sunday with more of a detailed forecast for the state.
As another note, this is the Iowa Chaser Blogs' 300th post!!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Friendly Update!

Haven't had an update in a while, which I'm disappointed in beings we had some interesting cold air and basically frigid temperatures over the state. A few record lows in northwest Iowa where they dropped below -20 degrees, not to mention the wind chill values between -40 and -50! Of course that night the weather station at my house went down and did not return until the next night, it was sitting at -15 degrees around 1 AM when it stopped displaying updates. We've warmed up some and should continue to do so until Tuesday next week after the next system rolls through the state. Currently this system is expecting to come right over the state of Iowa, bringing a mix of precipitation to the southern two-thirds of the state while the northern third and especially northwest Iowa on the going forecast set to receive some nice snow amounts. More details on that will likely be posted later on...

Wanted to throw out a few other updates that aren't necessarily weather related. I've finished up my new part-time business website, Jayson Prentice Photography. Took a good amount of time getting it set up, with an even longer amount of time spent on figuring out products and prices, etc... Still have plenty of work to do on that front, but I can say that my prices are the lowest around. Others around are quite spendy and I'm not going to say that my prices are cheap, but I'm there to get the best shots I can and I won't quit when the time is up if I don't feel like I've accomplished that. I can honestly say that I care how the photos turn out and will take the time to make them the best they can be. Be sure to take a visit there, even if you aren't looking for portraits or family photos to be done I also offer up some great landscapes that I've taken over the past couple years and hope to continue to add more. I haven't had near the time I wish I had for photography, I hope this spring and summer I have plenty of opportunities!

I've also been quite busy with other schoolwork, in fact I have a dynamics test tomorrow that I'm seemingly putting off by doing some rambling on here. Also busy with some AMS (American Meteorological Society) things as well as Central Iowa National Weather Association; I'm a cabinet member for both of those. Been refereeing basketball quite a bit as well trying to earn some money here and there just to add onto the schedule. For good measure I'm also a teaching assistant for the intro to Meteorology class here at Iowa State for this semester.

Before I end this, just wanted to say I hope all of the people who are reading enjoy the blog and be sure to post a comment or send me an email! Even if it is just to say hi or how bad I was on a forecast! Received a nice email earlier this week from a guy who had asked about a previous snowfall, was glad to hear from him an happily looked up what the Ames area got for snowfall. I'm going to try to update more often and bring some more unique things that you may not see all the time to the blog. Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Conditions Still Hazardous

Although the latest winter storm seemingly has allowed the state to get off a little easier then expected, travel conditions are still hazardous over portions of the state. Currently the DOT and its' road conditions indicate that travel is not advised over portions of central and eastern Iowa. Although snow amounts only exceeded 4 inches in a few locations, the winds from the northwest that are gusting in excess of 40 mph are allowing snow to blow across the roads. This blowing snow is still likely to create hazardous conditions, any slick spots are also compounded by the gusty winds which will easily push vehicles from side to side on the roads.

Below the snow totals map as of 5 PM is posted, via the NWS from Des Moines. Snow totals should not change since this map was issued, as the snowfall over the state had stopped. Ice accumulations did exist before the snow began this morning, however much of the initial snow seemed to be quite wet and allowed for melting of this ice over many road surfaces. Traveling this morning from Ames to the Des Moines metro was slow going as the snow initially began, a slush mix was the main concern on the roads. A majority of problems occurred this morning as the snow began to be moderate to heavy at times with the strong winds that created slick conditions. Approximately a dozen vehicles were along the road side ditches or medians on I35 as of 3 PM this afternoon. Continue to be cautious while driving, but conditions should only get better as we go through the night and into tomorrow.

Snow Totals Map (5 PM Sunday)

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Weekend Blizzard!?!

This morning areas of central Iowa were upgraded into a Blizzard Watch as snowfall combined with gusty winds during the day on Sunday is likely to create blizzard or near blizzard conditions. Other areas of the state are still under a Winter Storm Watch, however these areas are still expected to receive the same conditions if not an additional threat of significant ice accumulation. Currently areas southeast of a Nebraska City, NE to Mason City, IA to LaCrosse, WI are under some type of watch for this system. Areas northwest of that line are likely to only see an inch or less of snow with this system; gusty winds may accompany cold temperatures as well.

The storm system should make its' way into the state tonight as the low pressure travels through central Missouri. Precipitation tonight is currently forecasted to mainly fall as freezing rain, up to a third of an inch of freezing rain may occur across portions of the southeastern half of the state. This freezing rain is likely to accumulate along a line over the state, this isn't expected to be widespread significant icing. However, at least some accumulations over the remainder of the area will still be enough to cause hazardous driving conditions.

As this system continues to move to the northeast, low moving into Illinois and towards Lake Michigan through Sunday. Expect the precipitation to change from freezing rain to all snow by the afternoon hours on Sunday. Snowfall will likely be moderate to heavy at times, combining with winds of 20-30 mph to create near blizzard conditions. Winds may become stronger, potentially gusting to near 50 mph over some areas creating blizzard conditions and extremely hazardous weather for the state. If you are expected to travel on Sunday over these portions of the state it is expected that you take a lot of time on the roads or do not travel at all. Snow totals may reach the 8-10 inch mark over portions of eastern Iowa and just out of the state into southern Wisconsin could be seeing a foot of snow. For the latest update on expected weather, see the image link below to head to the Des Moines Winter Weather Awareness page.

Des Moines Weather Story

Friday, February 15, 2008

Weekend Winter Weather!

Winter weather isn't going to let up yet, as once again another low pressure system is going to take aim at the state for the weekend. The low is expected to track just south and east of the state, actually putting portion of the state in the perfect position for winter weather. Temperatures are expected to be near freezing for a good portion of the state, meaning that the precip over the weekend may not fall as all snow. In fact, current forecasts indicate that the event may start out as a significant freezing rain event and then finally some snowfall.

Trends with some models have been pushing this system to the north and west with each model run, but with the system not completely onshore yet the models likely don't have all of the data that they need. No watches or advisories have been issued at the moment, these won't likely come out until Saturday morning as the event nears within 24 hours and the models will hopefully be coming to a final solution. Currently, NWS forecast offices have put areas of eastern Iowa extending into western Illinios and Wisconsin in a favorable position to receive signficant snowfall accumulations as well as potentially significant ice accumulations.

The mix of freezing rain and snow should start over southern Iowa after midnight (early Sunday morning) and continue to move northeast into the state during the morning hours. The morning and afternoon hours would likely be the worst times for the eastern third of the state, especially southeastern Iowa. Central Iowa is currently borderline with this system, however mainly snow is expected for this area. Total amounts would be less than 5 inches, however this amount is an early estimate. Maximum totals of snowfall for some areas of eastern Iowa may exceed 8 inches however depending on the switch-over from freezing rain to snow.

Anybody travelling this weekend should keep a very close eye on this system, as travellers for Sunday and even Monday will likely be hampered by the snow and ice. Another quick update on this system may occur Saturday morning if time is available.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Some Afternoon Snow

A quick clipper system is going to work through the state today, allowing for some fairly quick accumulation of snow. Portions of the state, approximately the northeastern half, has been put under a snow advisory as 3-6 inches of snow is likely for that area. The heaviest of which should be over the northeast quarter of the state, where 4-6 inches is in the going forecast. Areas outside of the Snow Advisory should expect to see 1-3 inches tapering off to only an inch or less in southwest Iowa. Travel may become hazardous with any moderate to heavy snow showers that may occur, so please keep an eye on the road conditions.

Besides some snowfall, temperatures expected to remain quite chilly with highs today only in the upper single digits to teens over the state. Tonights' lows should be just below or just above the zero degree mark. A warm-up through Wednesday as we near highs in the mid 20s to mid 30s before another system moves into the state for Thursday and Thursday night.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Heavy Snowfall

The past two days, as well as the weekend for some portions, left a majority of the state under a thick blanket of snowfall. The southeastern half of Iowa was the hardest hit, with upwards of a foot from the past 48 hours and for a small area this weekend a foot was piled up there as well. Luckily this snow wasn't accompanied by strong winds, however the winds should pick up tonight and into the weekend which may still allow for some blowing snow across the southeast half of the state. Currently a Blowing Snow Advisory is in effect for portions of eastern Iowa.

Storm totals for this latest storm have not been put together into a nice map thus far by any of the NWS offices. There are two images of interest though, both from this morning ~7 AM; 24-Hour Snow Totals & Current Snow Depth. Since these coop reports were received, several of the stations in southeast Iowa have received a couple more inches to bring storm totals to near or just above a foot. The highest total in the metro area of Des Moines was from West Des Moines where 11.2 inches of snowfall was measured. Otherwise the highest report was from Albia, 12.5 inches total from just this latest storm. Depth-wise, some portions of Iowa may have nearly two feet of snow much of which has came in the past 96 hours. Impressive events to say the least from the north side of the low pressure system with the snow totals.

Also impressive was the strength and happenings south of this low pressure system, as a large severe weather outbreak occurred last night and into the early morning hours. Many tornado reports were received and currently the NWS employees in the areas are working on reports and a final number won't likely be known until Friday or potentially later. It is known however that over 50 deaths have occurred in response to the tornadoes that ripped through several homes, businesses, and even Union University. I'll see what I can do to get many of the damage surveys' linked up on a post, thus far it looks like many of the tornadoes will be EF-0 or EF-1 based on initial damage images. Wouldn't be surprised for an EF-2 rating, as it is hard to see all of the damage with the shear amount of it that occurred last night and this morning. Thoughts and condolences are with those that were affected by the storms.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Winter Storm: Feb 5-6

A strong low pressure system is ejecting out of the central plains and moving towards the Ohio Valley and the Great Lakes today into tomorrow. This low is brining potentially dangerous severe weather in the form of tornadoes, hail, damaging winds, and heavy snow. A 'High Risk' of severe weather was issued by the SPC this morning for much of the state of Arkansas, the severe risk also extends over much of the Mississippi Valley. North of this low pressure system, moisture is plentiful allowing for snowfall amounts to be well over winter weather warning criteria. Currently heavy snow and freezing rain are falling over northern Kansas into areas of southwest Iowa. These bands of snow should continue to move to the east/northeast this morning, beginning to move into the state of Iowa around Noon. The snow should begin to move out of the state tomorrow morning, but not before accumulating some hefty amounts of snow.

Areas southeast of a Nebraska City, NE to Prairie Du Chien, WI line are all under a Winter Storm Warning where anywhere from 6-10 inches of snow is likely. With isolated amounts in southeast Iowa nearing the foot mark or possibly exceeding it. Areas just to the northwest of that line have been put under either Snow Advisories or Snow & Blowing Snow Advisories. Those areas should see 3-5 inches of snowfall through tomorrow morning. Portions of northwest Iowa and others that are not included under any winter weather advisories/warnings may see some snowfall, however it is expected to be under 3 inches total through the morning. Winds are expected to increase through the day and especially overnight, creating blowing and drifting snow for much of the state.

To see the latest advisories/warnings for the state and the latest graphic weather story check out the Des Moines NWS Awareness page. Updates are expected later tonight with reports on snowfall and new forecasted totals.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Intense Winter Storm

Yesterday saw an amazing winter storm set up over portions of the state, as a snow band was created that included some amazing snowfall amounts. A majority of the state of Iowa received little snowfall, to areas that received a general 2-4 inches and then to an area near Mahaska and Marion counties as well as some surroundings that neared a foot of snowfall! Yes, a foot (12 inches) of snowfall fell just north of Oskalooska yesterday alone.

This morning has one cluster of showers and embedded thunder moving through the eastern third of the state. A mix of rain, sleet and freezing rain is falling with that round. Expect additional accumulations of ice and snow today across much of the southern and eastern portions of the state. The northwestern quarter of the state should be able to stay mainly snow today, with accumulations in the 3-5 inch range although higher isolated amounts aren't out of the question. This snowfall and mixed bag of precip has prompted there to be several advisories issued, if you wish to view them please check out the latest from the Des Moines NWS Awareness page.

Even once todays' mixed precipitation is out of the way, expect snow to begin to fall tonight and last through Tuesday. As another low pressure system moves near the area, potentially putting some areas of the state under the gun for some hefty snowfall accumulations. The NWS has already issued Winter Storm Watches for some areas of the state, indication that more than 6 inches of snowfall is possible on Tuesday. An update on accumulations from today as well as a forecast into how much snow may fall with the next system in the next update.