Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Even More Snow!!

While the first brush of snowfall has made its' way over much of the state during the overnight hours it will keep a few flurries or snow showers around in the central/eastern parts of the state early today. A dusting to a few inches may be expected from central to eastern Iowa, the eastern third of the state has been put under a Winter Weather Advisory for their chances of seeing an additional 1-3 inches of snowfall today, leaving their storm totals from 2-5 inches. This additional snowfall has created some troublesome areas of travel as roadways are being reported as mostly to completely covered this morning.

Beyond today's snowfall, the next event to come across the state is expected on Wednesday as a low pressure system begins to form over the Midwest and track northeast. This low will move east of the state of Iowa, but it will likely put areas of eastern Iowa in a favorable location for receiving potentially significant snowfall amounts. It is for this reason that areas of eastern Iowa (approximately the eastern third) have been put under a Winter Storm Watch for Wednesday. While much of the state may see a few flurries or light snow, areas east of a Nebraska City, NE to Des Moines to Waterloo to LaCrosse, WI line will likely see greater than 3 inches of additional snow. Some areas, mainly east-central Iowa, may have the potential for 6 inches or more of snow through Wednesday. This snowfall combined with an increase in winds will create blowing and drifting snow, and of course hazardous driving conditions on Christmas Eve. Later updates will refine the snowfall totals and locations for this Christmas Eve snowfall...

The latter half of the week will be full of interesting weather to go along with those interesting family times. A potentially strong storm system to the west of the state will lift warm air into and through Iowa during the day on Thursday and Friday. This warm air will allow even surface temperatures in the upper 20s and lower to mid 30s despite the snowfall. While this will hopefully create a crust on the current snowfall to hamper any additional blowing snow, it may create problems of its' own with any precipitation that falls. Forecasts have a wintery mix, to even rain in the forecast across the state on Thursday afternoon through Saturday. As you may be thinking, ground temperatures will certainly not get above freezing with the considerable snow cover, thus leaving any liquid precip as freezing upon contact with surfaces. Be prepared to leave early or travel in some hazardous conditions if this comes to be for the latter half of the week. Luckily at this time it does not appear to be significant or widespread, but something to keep an eye on for holiday travel.

I had a question on the previous blog entry about more of a long range forecast, and wish to at least give recognition to it here. With all that has been going on in the short term, I haven't taken a long look at the January forecasts, etc. Weather models in the long range will change quite often, thus there is no good way to indicate anything more than trends. Current Climate Prediction Center forecasts do have Iowa in a probability area of seeing above normal temperatures in January. Above normal temperatures in January won't necessarily be above freezing, rather temperatures in the teens and 20s on average instead of some single digits and lower teens.