Terry’s Take: Buckle up, we’re in for a bumpy ride!

Posted on: 10:46 pm, January 23, 2014, by

Terry Swails Weather Blog

An extremely dynamic and active weather pattern is taking shape this weekend that will create large temperatures swings, powerful winds, and periods of snow. In time, this transitions to an intense arctic outbreak which looks as bad or worse than anything we have seen so far this winter. Buckle up, this is going to be a real bumpy ride.

1 dvn meteorgram

To help break the temperatures down I’m using the Davenport, Iowa meteogram. (Even if you live elsewhere, the trends will be similar in terms of wild temperature fluctuations). Look how the isotherm spikes from 10 below tonight, to 32 Saturday, to 0 Saturday night, back to 29 Sunday, then crashes to -12 Monday morning and finally -19 Tuesday morning. A total yo-yo effect that encompasses a 51 degree range of temperatures!

In the end the cold wins and you can see why in the 500mb jet stream flow the GFS has Tuesday. Right off the arctic.

1 gfs 500

Below are the temperature anomalies. 40 below normal in and around the Quad Cities! I’ve seen this coming for over 2 weeks. The long range models have served me well…

1 gfs anomalies

When temperatures are dancing around the way they will be, pressures are rising and falling like a beating heart. The end result is a compact gradient that drives powerful winds for prolonged periods of time. Gusts of at least 30mph can be expected the next 4 days across the Midwest.

Snow is also in the forecast but models continue to fight over the track and intensity of a stronger clipper Sunday. Snow is likely Friday night and could accumulate 1-2″. Good consistency here. Saturday night and early Sunday is where a second and heavier stripe of snow is forecast to develop. The GFS which has been all over the board with the track is now further south and sends a nice swath of snow through the Quad Cities and much of the WQAD viewing area. Here is the latest GFS snow forecast.

1 gfs snow

I’m still not confident this is correct, the track could end up further north but at least the 18z NAM was similar on the positioning and amount of snow. Here is the NAM snowfall forecast.

1 nam snow

What happens with the snow will be compelling because when the arctic front hits following the event, the winds will rev up and blowing and drifting could become a problem, especially with temperatures tanking below zero by Monday morning. Ground blizzard conditions are possible in parts of the upper Midwest if the worst case scenario develops. The NWS in Davenport talked about this in an earlier discussion and this possibility is on the table for further review in the days ahead.

That’s pretty much the nuts and bolts of the situation and it will be a day by day thing to see where this takes us. One thing’s for certain, intense cold is in the works beginning Sunday night. Roll weather…TS


  • tammy says:

    I was never so glad to see a weather forecaster be hired , than I was to see someone hired Terry Swails . He’s the best weather man in the Quad Cities. When I want a accurate forecast I go to Terry. The best in the business .

  • Darin says:

    Channel 8 has the best weather guys and gal! Best around!

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