A potent winter storm is creating areas of rain for us here in the Quad Cities, but further to the north its the snow that we'll be watching pile up leading to a colder start to the new year.
Before this system materialized a significant gap in snowfall existed across parts of the Dakotas and parts of Minnesota. These areas had very little in the way of snow on the ground which has helped maintain our warmer pattern here. That will be coming to an end with this system though, as these same areas are expected to pick up anywhere between 8 and 12 inches of fresh snow.
This fresh snow cover will combine with a much colder air mass set to move in by New Year's Day, putting a brief end to our warmer temperature pattern that we have enjoyed lately.
All indications are that a strong arctic high-pressure system will be moving through around New Years Day bringing significantly colder temperatures to our region. Highs will struggle to get out of the 20s for the first day of 2019 and strong winds may initially push wind chill values into the single digits. These colder temperatures could also arrive on the heels of a light snow event for New Year's Eve. Right now it doesn't look like we'll see a lot of snow with that system, but just enough to give us a light coating and make things feel even colder.
Enjoy the warmth while it lasts!
Meteorologist Andrew Stutzke