Terry’s Take: Only 81 days until spring!
At 10pm Thursday night, the temperature in Mason City, Iowa was 19 below and falling fast. Directly under the Arctic ridge, winds are light and skies are clear and the Arctic hounds are baying! By morning, the ridge will be over SE Iowa allowing sub-zero temperatures of 10-20 below to cover much of the upper and central Midwest. Record lows are a real possibility looking at current trends. The record in the Quad Cities is 17 below and it’s been around since 1879 (135 years)! This is rare air! Some schools that are back in session have already delayed classes for up to 2 hours.
This stab of cold will be brief as another bitterly cold front assembles in Canada. Out ahead of it south winds will return Friday afternoon and warm temperatures substantially by Saturday. In fact, readings should approach freezing Saturday as far north as the Quad Cities. Saturday night, the wheels fall off as the coldest air mass in 18 years blitzes the Midwest. I can’t stress enough, this is the real deal when it comes to big ticket cold. By Sunday night temperatures will tank on gusty NW winds that will send wind chills into the 30-45 below zero range. Wind chill warnings are just a matter of time. I included the meteogram off the European model and it drops the low to 24 below zero Tuesday morning. It also shows temperatures remaining below zero from Sunday night through next Wednesday…at least 72 consecutive hours!
I also have the latest snowfall forecast from the GFS and it shows a snow band preceding the Arctic blast. It comes awfully close to the Quad Cities but at least for now, the worst of should fall just to the southeast.
Other forecasts as you can see below are further southeast on the storm track and resultant snowfall.
Anyway you slice it, old man winter is in a giving mood. Only about 8o days until spring, hang in there!