Blustery & Cold Tuesday Leads To More Snow Thursday

AFTERNOON/EVENING UPDATE:  Tuesday, February 19, 2013, 4:11 p.m.

As of this blog update, we’re now less than 48 hours away from our next winter storm.  A “Winter Storm Watch” has been issued for all of Iowa and part of northern Illinois, especially the west-central part of the state, and this includes the Quad Cities from around midday Thursday until Friday morning.

Any snow before noon Thursday will be on the light side.  It will intensify in the afternoon and this is the GFS forecast map for 9 p.m. Thursday showing the entire area socked in with moderate snow.

Now that we have much better sampling of the storm and based on the latest QPF (the amount of available moisture being forecast by the models), I’m adjusting my forecast snow totals up some for Thursday afternoon until Friday morning.

It now appears that all of southeastern Iowa, west-central Illinois, and the Quad Cities will see 3-6″ of snow.  This includes Burlington, Keokuk, Mount Pleasant, Muscatine, Iowa City, and Wapello, Iowa, and Galesburg, Monmouth, Geneseo, Aledo, Princeton, Mount Carroll, Sterling, and Rock Falls, Illinois.  There could be a few isolated totals that top 6″.

For the hometowns not included in the “Winter Storm Watch”, (Galena, Illinois) up to 3″ of snow is expected.

Central, west-central, and southwest Iowa, have a better than 50% chance of seeing that heavy snow.  As you can tell from the greens, yellow, and brown over eastern Iowa and northern Illinois, the chances of seeing widespread 8″ snow totals drops quite a bit!

Nevertheless, we’ll be dealing with one of the biggest snows of the winter season Thursday into Friday.  Officially, the biggest snow this winter in the Quad Cities was the 4.9″ on December 20, 2012.

That’s how it looks now.  I’ll check things out again Wednesday for you.


ORIGINAL POST:  Tuesday, February 19, 2013, 9:04 a.m.

Dang, it’s cold today!  What happened to the spring preview yesterday?  Nevermind, we live in the Midwest!

After a spring-like high of 57° Monday in the Quad Cities shortly after noon, an Arctic cold front blasted through the area bringing rain, wind, and much colder temperatures.  The rain quickly turned to big snow flakes and the Mississippi and Illinois Valleys saw anywhere from 0.1″ to 3″ of snow accumulations on grassy and elevated surfaces.  The biggest problem with the roads was the rain and melted snow freezing with temperatures dropping into the single digits and teens early Tuesday morning.

While I know the 1.5″ that accumulated at the Quad City International Airport Monday was not the first snow of the season (we’re now up to 12.2″ for the winter of 2012-2013), I’ve been wanting to share this quote before our next snow arrives Thursday afternoon.  Yes, I’ll be talking about that in today’s blog.

Anne Sexton, in a letter to W.D. Snodgrass (November 28, 1958):

I am younger each year at the first snow.  When I see it, suddenly, in the air, all little and white and moving; then I am in love again and very young and I believe everything.”

Today and tomorrow will be the proverbial “calm before the storm” Thursday afternoon.  However, it’s going to be very cold today with highs in the teens and lows tonight in the single digits to near zero.  If that wasn’t bad enough, the winds will be howling to at least 20-40 miles-per-hour for much of today and early tonight making the wind chills dangerously low.

Our storm for Thursday already has much of the Southwestern United States under a potpourri of winter storm watches, warnings, and advisories for today and Wednesday.

As the storm moves out of the Southwest into Rockies toward us, many weather service offices across the Plains, Midwest, and the Mid-South already have a “Winter Storm Watch” in place for Thursday and Friday.  (That’s the dark blue on this map.  The light blue is for wind chill advisories.)

While the Quad Cities, eastern Iowa, and northern Illinois are not shaded in, as of Tuesday morning, I do anticipate that happening later Tuesday or early Wednesday.  And, as the storm pieces of the puzzle come together, any “Winter Storm Watch” issued will be fine tuned to a “Winter Storm Warning” or a “Winter Weather Advisory”.

Now, what’s going to happen?  Since the storm is now two days out, we have a much better idea of what should transpire.  The storm continues to slow down.  Light snow will develop from southwest to northeast across the area around midday or early afternoon Thursday.

The map above is for Thursday (2/21) at 6 p.m.  I expect the light snow or flurries that develops early to intensify by late afternoon or early evening.  The heaviest snow is represented in the darker green.

Here is the forecast map for six hours later at midnight.

At that point, the heaviest of snow will be falling across eastern Iowa and northern Illinois.  Snow will then diminish to light snow or light freezing drizzle Friday as the storm departs.

What about “snotals” two days out?  As I said several days ago, 4″ looks to be a good starting point and my forecast hasn’t deviated much from that.  This is not going to be the “storm of the century”.  It doesn’t need its own name from The Weather Channel.  It’s the Midwest — it snows.

With that being said, I think the heaviest snow will fall across Iowa with lesser amounts across Illinois.  2-4″ will probably fall around Burlington, Mount Pleasant, and Keokuk, Iowa, and in the Quad Cities, with only a couple of isolated spots seeing closer to 5″.

Around 2″ will likely fall east, northeast, and southeast of the Quad Cities.

Just for the heck of it, here’s an interesting map from the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center (HPC) that supports my thinking.

The darkest red represents a 95-100% chance of picking up at least two inches of snow!

And, on this map, you can see the “bulls eye” where 6″ or more of snow may fall in far southwestern Iowa!

loser to home, the greens represent a 30-40% chance of seeing more than 6″ of snow.  Except for an isolated report close to 5″, I don’t expect anyone across far eastern Iowa or northern Illinois to see that much snow.

So, the bottom line is that the storm will hit Thursday afternoon, evening, and night.

Snowfall amounts will range from around 2″ across northern Illinois to around 2-4″ in the Quad Cities and southeastern Iowa.  Some locations there may see an isolated 5″ total.

Have yourself a great Tuesday.  If anything major changes, one way or the other, I’ll update you.  Otherwise, this is my latest thinking and I’m going to work out now and work on cleaning the house.  In less than a week, I’ll be a working man again!


6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Deb Griffin Senko on February 19, 2013 at 9:22 am

    You made me laugh today with your new word “snotals”. Enjoyed reading your blog and found it to be very interesting but kind of bummed since it won’t be the storm of the century. lol!!! You have a nice Tuesday yourself.


    • Deb,

      Thank you. I will be dropping that word, but it’s funny for now. 🙂

      I’m glad you checked out the blog and smiled. Enjoy the warmth of your house and be careful later this week.



  2. Posted by Pete on February 19, 2013 at 9:55 am

    It’s EXTREMELY windy up by Waterloo. High profile vehicles should allow for extra time and be alert, as the gusts are surprisingly strong.


  3. Posted by Cinchy on February 19, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    I am not in the Watch Area and I am very sad !


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