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  • Tim McGill

50 Possible Wednesday Then Weekend Snow

More Weather Whiplash

This is the last day of possibly the coldest stretch of weather we have seen in just over ten months. If we fail to hit 40° today it will be the first time we have seen three consecutive days with highs in the 30s since the end of February.

After today's chill we'll go from spring like weather Wednesday to maybe our first real sticking snow of the season this weekend. More on our snow prospects below.

Cloud cover should hold our highs in the upper 30s this afternoon. We can't complain too much since our highs will be right around or a degree or two above the average high of 37°.

We quickly bounce back from the 30s to near 50° Wednesday. 40s for highs are expected Thursday (maybe a 50° high in a few spots) and Friday before temperatures tumble during the day on Saturday. At least a few models suggesting we start off in the 40s early Saturday morning but drop into the 30s during the afternoon. This is followed by the coldest air of the season so far with highs in the lower to middle 30s Sunday and Monday.

The GFS model temperature anomaly forecast for Wednesday is rather remarkable for the early part of December. Almost the entire country is forecast to see temperatures tomorrow afternoon anywhere between at least a few degrees above average to near 25° above average. The model shows us around 12° to 17° above average which would mean highs from near 50° to the middle 50s. Florida is the "cool spot" at least in terms of anomalies. Most of that state will be between 4° and 10° below average.

Dust Off The Shovel?

We are due for some sticking snow. Since October we have seen a trace of snow on four days and the only measurable snow so far was .7" back on November 24th. That means if we include today our snowfall is about 2.4" below average. The GFS model has rain developing late Friday and into Saturday. Falling temperatures Saturday could change rain over to snow in the afternoon with that snow possibly continuing into early Sunday morning. The model hints at another shot of snow late next Monday into Tuesday.

The models show a world of difference for this weekend snow. The GFS model brings about an inch of snow to the city with up to three inches in our northern and western suburbs. The European model buries us in heavier snow.

The GFS model suggests the brunt of the snow from this weekend system will fall in northern Illinois. The very highest totals though will be around three inches. Most of that snow would fall Saturday afternoon into Saturday night.

The European model is laying down a swath of heavier snow from southeastern Iowa through northern Illinois and on into northern lower Michigan. It lays down over a foot of snow north and west of the city. Near the city itself there is a strong gradient where snowfall amounts vary from several inches down to just one inch.

The models big difference in their solutions for snowfall amounts indicates that we need to wait on future forecast runs before we get too concerned about this system. A LOT CAN CHANGE between now and then. The GFS model seems to be more consistent with its snowfall projections so I am leaning towards it right now. Stay tuned!

Long Range Looking Relatively Mild

We will come out of this seasonably cold snap tomorrow and then see a return of colder air for a couple days early next week. Beyond that though the forecast for December is relatively right through the middle of the month and just beyond. The 6-10 day temperature probability forecast has us outlooked for above average temperatures overall from December 13th through December 17th. The longer range 8-14 day forecast from December 15th through the 21st has even higher probabilities of the Midwest being above average overall. It's worth noting that there is no portion of the U.S. on either map that is forecast with probabilities for below average temperatures.

There are signs this pattern could continue into the start of 2021. The experimental multi-model ensemble has us outlooked for above average temperatures overall through both the week ending on Christmas day and the week ending on New Year's Day. As I mentioned yesterday, the area of orange and red that represents temperatures at least 1° to 5° or more above average grows bigger and moves more over the Midwest during this two week period.

Precipitation Picking Up?

The lack of snowfall so far is just one indicator of our quiet precipitation pattern since the start of November. We are also down more than two inches below average in rainfall. The longer range precipitation probabilities forecasts hint this might be about to change. The 6-10 day forecast from December 13th through December 17th has us slightly favored for above average precipitation overall. The 8-14 day forecast from December 15th through December 21st has outlooked for above average precipitation overall too. This doesn't tell us what type of precipitation will fall but taking into consideration the long range temperature forecasts, it would appear that much of this could be in the form of rain.

Here is my 7 day forecast:

Today: Cloudy, a bit breezy High: 39

Wednesday: A.M. patchy fog then becoming partly cloudy Low: 33 High: 50

Thursday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 32 High: 50

Friday: Mostly cloudy, light rain late Low: 37 High: 49

Saturday: Light rain mixing with/changing to snow Low: 39 High: 45 (falling into the 30s pm)

Sunday: Snow mainly early then partly to mostly cloudy Low: 28 High: 36

Monday: Partly to mostly sunny Low: 24 High: 35



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