Thursday, January 29, 2009

Above Freezing?!?

Another round of snow created hazardous travel conditions across parts of central Iowa this evening. My drive this evening from Ames to Ogden saw over a half-dozen vehicles in the ditch along Highway 30 due to slick conditions and limited visibilities. The snow has tapered off and the winds have begun to subside, this should continue to be the story through the weekend as temperatures continue to rise through Saturday. Another weak system will bring a cold front through and temperatures should fall once again for Sunday afternoon...

Friday highs should range from the upper teens over extreme northeast Iowa to the mid 30s along the Missouri River despite cloud cover. A few more flurries may be possible over central and eastern Iowa during the afternoon and through the evening. Overnight lows heading into the weekend will range from the mid teens to lower 20s over the state. Saturday will be the warmest day of the week as warm air pushes into the state, highs in the mid 30s to mid 40s are likely from northeast to southwest under clear skies and moderate southwesterly winds. A cold front will sweep through during the early morning hours on Sunday, with lows in the lower and mid 20s on Saturday night they will not rise too much on Sunday. Afternoon highs on Sunday will only range from the upper 20s to mid 30s from north to south. Sunday night lows will range from the single digits to mid teens from north to south.

Look for the state to slowly warm a few degrees each day through next week, and no chances of precipitation in the forecast currently. Dry and warm...

Monday, January 26, 2009

Light Snow

Through today and Tuesday we will see light snow fall throughout the state, leaving parts of southern Iowa with a chance of 2-4 inches of snowfall through that time. Other parts of Iowa will mainly see under 2 inches of the white stuff as we work through the day tomorrow. With light winds and temperatures well below freezing, minimal problems with traveling are expected. Beyond this snowfall, Wednesday night may hold another dusting of snow for the state before we stay dry through the weekend.

Temperatures for the early half of this week will begin below normal, but work their way back up to near normal temperatures. Highs today will only reach the 10-15 degree mark as light snow and cloud cover exist. Tonight's lows won't drop too far thanks to this cloud cover as well, with single digits expected across the state. Tuesday will be a few degrees warmer, with temperatures in the mid-teens throughout; overnight lows once again in the single digits above zero. The skies should finally begin to clear for Wednesday, and with westerly winds will allow temperatures to range from near 20 along the Mississippi to near 30 along the Missouri. Wednesday night lows should remain in the teens...

Temperatures look to continue to rise right on through the weekend, the mid-week update will let you know just how much.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Welcome Back Cold & Wind...

It has been a couple of days since we've seen the cold and windy conditions across the state, with temperatures yesterday near 30 to near 60 across the state and winds nearly calm it was a brisk change back this morning. Winds across the state are from the northwest at 25-35 mph and some higher gusts, creating blowing snow over areas that still have the large snow-pack left. For those that are along and north of Highway 30 in north-central Iowa you are under a Winter Weather Advisory until 2 PM this afternoon due to the blowing snow creating some drifting and slick conditions on roadways. The northern half of the state will also go under a Wind Chill Advisory beginning tonight at 9 PM and continuing until 9 AM tomorrow morning. This is due to the cold temperatures and gusty winds creating wind chills that are likely to range from -20 to -30 overnight.

High temperatures today are what they are now for the most part, upper teens to mid 20s across most of the state from northwest to southeast. As mentioned the winds will create some localized hazardous conditions, and create wind chills that are well below zero by this evening. Overnight tonight the cold air has a chance to settle in with lows from near -10 in the north to around 5 in the south, the gusty winds will likely continue throughout the overnight.

Winds will die down tomorrow morning, with partly cloudy skies and winds around 10 mph the temperatures will still remain cold. Highs expected to range from the single digits to only the lower teens from northeast to southwest across the state. Saturday night lows will range from near -10 in the northeast, to near 10 above in the southwest. Snow will likely begin to creep into western Iowa during the overnight hours on Saturday. This snow will continue to overspread the southwest half of the state on Sunday, with cloudy skies and fairly light winds the high temperatures will remain in the single digits to upper teens from northeast to southwest across the state. Lows overnight on Sunday will be from the single digits below zero across the north to the upper single digits above in the south. Snow is still possible over the southwest half of the state, likely ending by Monday morning, total accumulations over the weekend should remain around an inch or two.

Next week looks to remain around average as far as temperatures go, slowly warming each day through Wednesday. The best precipitation chances may come mid-week, but current forecast models are pushing a majority of the storms to our south.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Here comes the warmth!

Winds will be turning to the west and southwest over the next couple of days, and with westerlies from the Rockies through the state of Iowa we'll be in the downslope flow that will/could allow temperatures to soar. Areas where the snow cover is limited or non-existent will see much warmer temperatures when compared to others parts of the state that have several inches to even well over a foot of snow on the ground. These warmer temperatures will continue until Friday when another cold front will move winter-time air back and leave us with below normal temperatures through the weekend. A few small chances of snow showers and flurries over the weekend, but a potentially significant winter storm will once again be in the picture for the first-half of the week.

High temperatures on Wednesday will range from near 30 in the northeast to the lower 40s in the southwest. Temperatures on Thursday will be a few degrees higher, ranging from the lower 30s to mid 40s from northeast to southwest. Lows on Wednesday night and Thursday night will range from the mid-teens to the 20s from north to south. As a cold front slides through overnight and into the morning hours on Friday the temperatures will stall, leading to highs from the mid-teens to upper 20s from north to south across the state. We'll really start to feel the cold again come Friday night, with lows ranging from the single digits in the south to the single digits below zero in the north.

Temperatures will remain in the single digits at most for overnight lows during the weekend, with highs only into the teens. As mentioned, there is some slight chances of snow flurries throughout the state over the weekend with mainly cloudy skies. We'll see better chances of snow creep into the forecast on Sunday night and continue through early next week. More details on the cold returning and the chances of snowfall in later updates...

Friday, January 16, 2009

70 Degree Temperature Swing!

I don't believe you can complain about any temperatures that are at least above zero after the past two days! I've managed the trek to and from campus over the past three days, approximately six miles, in an average temperature around -15 degrees and a wind chill near -30!! The past two nights (Wednesday and Thursday) have had lows ranging from the mid teens to the 20s and even 30s, below zero! This type of cold has not been felt in 13 years across the state of Iowa, and thankfully it is finally coming to an end. While chilly today, temperature will slowly rise through the day and even through most of the night and lead us into temperatures that are some 60 to 70 degrees warmer than last nights' lows.

A weak disturbance is clipping parts of the state today leading to a few snow flurries and the like. Highs today under mainly cloudy skies will still manage to be above zero from the single digits to near 20 from northeast to southwest. Tonights' lows will be right around the same values and temperatures either hold steady or slowly rise overnight. Saturday's highs will be in the mid 20s to mid 30s from north to south across the state and will continue to hover around those same highs on both Sunday and Monday. Lows over the weekend will range from the upper single digits to near 20 from northeast to southwest.

Into next week we'll see nice westerly winds that will create some downsloping for much of the plains states. This warm wind will allow much of the snow across southwest Iowa to begin melting and maybe even disappear altogether by mid-week. Highs on Tuesday and Wednesday will be in the upper 20s, 30s and lower 40s from northeast to southwest across the state. Lows will be in the teens for the state for both nights as well... Our next storm system doesn't look to come into the area until Thursday next week, so enjoy the upcoming warm weather!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Winter Storm (Jan. 13-14) Recap

Another impressive clipper system struck the state last night and into today, and behind its' wake we are left with frigid temperatures in the negative teens and twenties for tonight and in the single digits below zero for tomorrow. The low pressure system tracked out of the Dakotas and over western Iowa, then took its' eastward turn and moved along I-80 during the night last night. This left a swatch of snowfall of 6"+ from Algona through Waterloo/Cedar Falls and nearing the Cedar Rapids area. Other parts of the state still saw 3-6 inches, with western and southern thirds receiving a dusting to 2 inches (Graphic Below). No matter the amount of snow, the cold temperatures and strong winds this afternoon provided hazardous travel conditions and required a majority of schools throughout the state to cancel classes. The winds have begun to die down this evening and should continue to do so throughout the nighttime hours, however, they will still be high enough to warrant wind chills in the -30 to -45 range across much of the state when combined with temperatures in the -10 to -30 range!

Expect sunny skies tomorrow, but highs only in the single digits below zero for much of the state at best. Lows on Thursday night will once again be in the negative teens and twenties, just a few degrees warmer than tonight. Another small shot of snow is possible on Friday/Saturday for parts of the state before we begin to see a slight warm-up. As the strong ridge responsible for well-above normal temperatures in the western third of the United States creeps slightly east we'll be able to see temperatures at least near the freezing mark during Sunday and through early next week.

January 14 Snow Totals

January 14 Snow Depth

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Winter Storm (Jan. 13-14) Update #1

A Winter Weather Advisory has been expanded to the southwest to include more counties in the state of Iowa. This has been done as forecast models have came together on a solution that brings the low pressure system south out of the Dakotas, and then east/southeast over the southern third of the state. This path is favorable for snowfall to occur across much of the state, with accumulations likely in the 2-5 inch range for areas north of a Sioux City to Des Moines to Ottumwa line. While this snow should begin to occur this evening over much of the state and continue through the overnight hours, winds after the event may still pose a blowing snow threat for parts of the state.

While most of the state is looking at a general 2-5 inches of snowfall, there is hints at a band of snowfall that may lead to as much as 7 inches of snowfall across parts of the state. The low pressure system is already conducive to banding of snowfall as shown by current radar over the Dakotas, and it is expected that this type of situation shall continue into the evening and overnight over Iowa. Currently the Des Moines NWS office believes that this band may be most likely along a line from Algona to Washington line. Additional updates tonight may discuss this heavy snow possibility...

Winter Storm (Jan. 13-14)

Less than 24 hours after our previous storm has ended we are looking at another quick clipper to move near the state and give us additional snowfall. Snowfall amounts will vary from less than an inch in southwest Iowa, to 4-6 inches being possible across northeast Iowa. Winter Weather Advisories have been issued for areas of the state where snowfall is expected to be greater than 3 inches. This snowfall should begin this evening over much of the state, and continue through the nighttime hours. As the snowfall begins to taper off tomorrow morning, the winds will once again increase to 20-30 mph and will likely create blowing snow and some ground-blizzard conditions. Thus expect some hazardous travel conditions from late this evening through the overnight, and likely well into tomorrow morning where the snowfall and winds will combine to create low visibilities and drifting on roadways.

Additional storm updates are likely later tonight...

Winter Storm (Jan. 12) Recap

The winter storm to affect the state on January 12 and early morning on January 13 was enough to cause many school cancellations and delays, among many hours of hazardous travel conditions. Snowfall amounts were only totaling 1-3 inches across the state (graphic below) through the afternoon hours, and with the low tracking over the central portion of the state as it moved eastward it allowed the southern half of the state to even reach above freezing temperatures during the afternoon. This spike in temperatures was enough in some areas to create a crust on the recent snowfall and stop it from blowing as previous forecasts expected. The northern portions of the state did not see these higher temperatures, thus had the snowfall ready to blow when northwest winds picked up at 25-35 mph. Visibilities for much of the afternoon and overnight were held well below one mile, and travel was not suggested for several hours throughout the state.

Winds have now subsided this morning, and roads are being cleared to allow the rest of the day to run smoothly before our next storm system.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Winter Storm (Jan. 12) Update #1

Snowfall totals through this afternoon only totaled 1-2 inches across most of the state, however, a few areas did receive up to 3 inches. Some parts of the state did receive the snow, and also some much warmer than forecasted temperatures. The low pressure center that moved across the state did so further north than expected, leading to a warm front to move across approximately the southern half of the state. Temperature rose well into the 30s, which may have led to a crust on the snow that will keep it from blowing with the strong northwest winds. Other parts of the state are still under a Blizzard Warning as temperatures did not rise enough to warrant the cancellation of the warning.

Current observations show some light snow is still scatted over some areas of the state. Otherwise strong northwesterly winds have moved into both western and central Iowa, and are 25-35 mph with gusts nearing 40 mph across much of those areas. The eastern third of the state should see these winds within the next couple of hours, and continue through the night. Expect hazardous travel conditions throughout the night, with at least partially covered roadways over the entire state. Currently the northwest and west-central portions of the state are advising no travel due to the high winds and blowing snow, this includes I-29 from Sioux City to Omaha.

Additional storm updates are not likely, although a recap of the storm is possible tomorrow. The next winter storm is likely to impact the state beginning Tuesday evening with more snow and high winds.

Winter Storm (Jan. 12)

A band of moderate snow is currently moving over central Iowa this morning, this band of snow should slowly make its' way eastward through the morning hours. Areas of western Iowa received 1-2 inches this morning as this band moved through, and areas of central and eastern Iowa should be looking at 1-4 inches of snow through this afternoon. Although the snowfall amounts are not going to be significant in all areas, the storm has prompted Winter Weather Advisories for much of the state through this afternoon for the snowfall of 1-4 inches with some localized higher amounts possible.

Once again as I'm sure every weatherman has stressed this morning, the problems are likely to arise late this afternoon and this evening and continue through the nighttime hours as the northwest winds increase dramatically. Wind speeds of 25-35 mph with higher gusts are likely, and with this very light snowfall it will create at near-blizzard if not blizzard conditions for much of the state. Blizzard Warnings have been issued for parts of the state for this evening and overnight. Schools that did not close this morning may be letting out early this afternoon, or you may at least expect that evening activities be canceled due to the expected conditions.

Thus far, little in the way of snow reports have been received, a later update is possible this afternoon once the snow has passed through much of the state.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Will it ever stop!?!

The snow that is... Iowa has seen several inches of the light and fluffy snow on two consecutive nights now (Friday and Saturday), and we're likely to make it a third come tonight (Sunday). I was surprised at road conditions this morning, as even though an inch or two of additional snow fell last night the drifting and blowing of this snow provided ample drifts over every road I drove on just after 6 AM. I would assume that road crews are already out and are slowly but surely getting the roads cleared for Sunday afternoon traffic across the state. While today should be sunny and fairly mild, it'll be the calm before the storm as another system moves into the state tonight.

Snowfall amounts will vary from less than an inch south of I-80; 1-2 inches along I-80; 2-3 inches between I-80 and Highway 20; 2-4 inches north of Highway 30. Much of this snow should fall during the overnight or morning hours on Monday, with the snow amounts being the lesser evil from this storm system. As the cold front moves through during the afternoon and evening hours across the state, winds out of the northwest will increase dramatically. With winds expected in the 25-35 mph range, and gusts upwards of 50 mph possible, many counties across the northern half of the state have been put under a Blizzard Watch for Monday afternoon and overnight. The light and fluffy snow that has fell the past two nights and the additional snowfall tonight will create hazardous blowing snow that will cause near zero visibility and quickly drift roadways. The winds should begin to subside during the late overnight hours and improving conditions are expected on Tuesday. Additional storm updates are possible this evening...

Temperatures today will be fairly mild in the lower 20s to mid 30s from northeast to southwest. Lows tonight in the teens for much of the state, and warming on early Monday into the mid 20s to mid 30s before the cold front slides through. Monday night lows will range from near -10 to only the single digits from north to south with dangerous wind chills possible. Tuesday's highs in the single digits to teens from northeast to southwest; Tuesday's lows in the single digits below zero to the lower teens.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

First Winter Storm of '09

Although it isn't much I think we can count it as the first winter storm of the 2009 year for Iowa with Winter Weather Advisories posted for the northern half of the state. This winter storm comes with a mixture of precipitation types for the state, with areas south of I-80 looking at only light rain today and areas to the north various winter precipitation. For the most part the northern half will be looking at light freezing drizzle or some light flurries if it lingers tonight. The light drizzle or light rain may be enough to produce a few hundredths of an inch of ice accumulations which may create some slick conditions on untreated roads. Areas to the northwest are in an area where snow may mix into the forecast, but little accumulation is expected. Areas of southern Minnesota and South Dakota will be receiving the heaviest band of snowfall with 2-6 inches being forecasted for parts of the states respectively. Expect the precipitation to begin this afternoon and end by midnight tonight as the low pressure system responsible continues to move eastward out of the plains.

Beyond this system we'll see the cold air funnel back down into the plains states with high temperatures on Sunday only in the 20s to teens across the state. Windy conditions will also prevail into early next week as temperatures moderate into the 20s and 30s across the state. The next chance of snowfall looks to come Tuesday night, although nothing significant is expected.