Weather Journal

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HALFTIME OF WINTER, DON'T GIVE UP ON IT YET...

The writing is on the wall…or in this case the teleconnections. The weather pattern is getting set to make a change and that means the east coast ridge is going to get beat into submission, at least for awhile. That… Load Article

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SNOW IN MIAMI, THE WORLD NEARLY ENDED BACK IN '77

January of 1977 was no picnic here in the Midwest. Many places had one of their coldest months ever without the traditional January thaw. In my local area the month ended up as the coldest on record, only to be… Load Article

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AFTER A BIT OF SUN IT'S BACK TO THE DUNGEON...

Holy cow, the sun came out Wednesday afternoon! That’s a big deal with low overcast ruling our skies much of the past few weeks. Unfortunately, not all of my area got in on the sunshine. As you can see in the… Load Article

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BAD SLEDDING, ONCE AGAIN!

January hasn’t been too bad for most of us in the Midwest. It has had some cold moments but most of the snow has remained up north in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Here’s the temperature departures to date. The largest deficits are… Load Article

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NEXT THING YOU KNOW, I'LL BE MOVING THE LAWN...

After the mess many of us endured Sunday night and Monday, I’m happy to report the weather is looking up the rest of the week. The jet will remain aligned off the Pacific in such a way that no Arctic… Load Article

Weather Journal

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A FAST CHANGING PATTERN THE NEXT FEW DAYS...

That storm that split the Midwest in half Tuesday brought a wide variety of weather. Stevens Point, Wisconsin knocked of 11″ of new snow while some spots in the warm sector had nearly an inch of rain.

Temperatures ranged from the 60s over the southeast Midwest to the teens northwest. Here in Cedar Rapids we transitioned from rain and 45 in the morning to snow and 25 by late afternoon. Winds reached 46 mph as the system rapidly intensified on its journey northeast. Certainly an interesting day.

I also came across a telling graphic from the Iowa Mesonet. It shows the days in Iowa this winter with at least 1″ of snow cover. Quite a contrast over a small distance from less than 3 days in parts of southern Iowa to more than 32 in the northeast corner.

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That’s also had a big impact on temperatures. Here’s the January departures and you can clearly see how much colder its been where the snow cover exists.

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Wednesday will see a cold front slowly descend across my local area. Temperatures will hold steady in the far north where the front passes early. In the central and south readings will gradually fall in the afternoon as winds veer from the south to the northeast. Look at the 6pm temperature contrast in my area from 8 in Decorah to 41 in Burlington!

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Along and north of the front a wave should generate some light precipitation.  Most of the snow falls in SE Minnesota and northern Wisconsin. Here another 1-4″ looks possible. The GFS has this for totals.

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The potential exists for some freezing rain in parts of SE Wisconsin and far northeast Illinois as colder air arrives Wednesday night. The GFS is showing this for ice potential.

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Otherwise rain is expected in the warmer air of the northern half of Illinois where moisture kicks in as the system develops. This moisture injection really doesn’t happen until the new wave has passed eastern Iowa. Thus, the majority of my area won’t see much. Here’s the total precipitation expected through Wednesday night.

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After this, things turn colder as a huge high pressure builds into the Upper Midwest. That will keep things fresh and quiet the rest of the week. The next round of wintry weather which may involve precipitation type issues arrives over the weekend. Lots of questions still exist with the evolution if the pattern here so I will remain on the sidelines until things get clearer in the coming days. Until then, roll weather…TS

About Terry Swails

Terry Swails

Born and raised in Iowa City, Iowa

Terry Swails has been a television meteorologist in the Midwest since early 1977. He began his broadcasting career at KWWL-TV and has also been employed by KDUB-TV, KWQC-TV, and WQAD-TV, where he has been the prime time meteorologist for the last 5 years.

A popular fixture in Quad Cities television since 1986, Terry's passion and commitment to weather is well known. Aside from his television duties, He produces forecasts for the Quad City Times, a number of Quad City radio stations, and does work as a private consultant.

An avid storm chaser, Terry spent a week with legendary forecaster Tom Skilling in search of tornadoes in 2010. They saw their first tornado together (a violent multi vortex EF3) outside Wakita, Oklahoma. Terry and well known storm chaser Jim Reed also watched the eye of Hurricane Irene go directly overhead on the shores of Coney, Island in 2011.

With his vast knowledge of weather and unique perspective, Terry is also the author of several books. His first Superstorms was completed in 2005. He followed that up with Un-Natural disasters in 2008, and All I want to for Christmas is to see a Tornado in 2011. Terry collaborated with his wife Carolyn Wettstone on the last 2 books and has utilized her experience as a writer and former television anchor in a number of weather related projects.

Terry says he hasn't met a storm he didn't like. Tornadoes and snowstorms are his bread and butter and predicting the atmosphere is a challenge that never gets old.

Terry says this web site is a compilation of his life long love affair with weather. He points out "I put everything I would want as a meteorologist into the site. It's fun, informative, and even educational." He also adds, "I hope you find it enjoyable as well!"

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