The last gasp of a cold spell

When we put together our forecast for Dubuque, they were at the tail end of their extended inhabitance of a February cold spell for the record books. Wednesday dipped down all the way to -13, but the Thursday low was a relatively mild 2 above, a difference of 15 degrees. Not bad! The biggest issue with the forecast was a tendril of light snow that moved through the Mississippi Valley. It came about 12 hours later than expected, which meant that everyone missed on the precipitation forecast, even the select few who actually through it might snow. Victoria-Weather was better than the rest on temperatures, and won the forecast with ease.
Actuals: Wednesday – High 12, Low -13
Thursday- Trace of precipitation, High 18, Low 2

Grade: C-D

Dubuque, Iowa

We’re headed to the northern US tonight to see what catastrophe is happing up there. Catastrophes everywhere.

At 1153PM, ET, Dubuque was reporting clear skies and a temperature of -8. Dubuque was smack dab within the upper level trough responsible for the wild weather in the south, and the cold weather in the Plains. A feature tolling along the base of the trough is going to trigger change across the nation.
An inverted rough will be directed to the north from the advancing low in the Lower Mississippi Valley, and will pass over eastern Iowa through the day Wednesday. There won’t be a lot of moisture available to this disturbance, but with temperatures as cold as they are, big, dendritic flurries are more than possible. As the feature propagates, it will elongate, and circulation will become distorted. With less northerly flow, Thursday looks to be the first day of a true warming trajectory.
Tomorrow – Flurries, High 12, Low -10
Thursday – Warmer and partly cloudy, High 17, Low 2

TWC: Tomorrow- Partly cloudy skies during the morning hours will become overcast in the afternoon High 17, Low -9
Thursday – Partly cloudy skies. High 22, Low 1

AW: Tomorrow – Some sun, then turning cloudy and cold; a little snow this afternoon with little or no accumulation High 15, Low -5
Thursday – Cold with intervals of clouds and sunshine High 21, Low 2

NWS: Tomorrow – A 30 percent chance of snow, mainly after 2pm. Patchy fog before 8am High 14, Low -12
Thursday – Mostly sunny, High 21, Low 3

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy. Patchy fog in the morning. A 40 percent chance of light snow in the afternoon, High 13, Low -6
Thursday – Mostly sunny, High 18, Low 2

WN: Mostly cloudy, High 14, Low -12
Thursday – Partly cloudy, High 21, Low 3

FIO: Tomorrow -Overcast throughout the day. High 17, Low -11
Thursday – Foggy until morning, starting again in the evening. High 23, Low 4

Clear night in Dubuque. Brr. But at least good news is on the way.

Double Duque’s

Does that title make you think of Dubuque? it did in my head, but I’m not sure about it now, seeing it on paper. Anyways, this is in reference to the fact that we had two forecasts in Dubuque last week. Anthony made a forecast on the 18th, and I followed up on the 21st. There was no overlap in forecast period, and I can say that we both defeated 2 of our rival outlets. The difference was that Anthony tied all of the other ones, and The Weather Channel throttled the rest of us on the 21st. So congrats everyone, you pretty much all won (except Weatherbug and Forecast.io) on the 18th, but The Weather Channel really stood out on the 21st.
Actuals: Wednesday, Trace of rain, High 75, Low 57
Thursday, High 78, Low 67
Saturday – .01 inches of rain, High 78, Low 57
Sunday – .32 inches of rain, High 78, Low 67

Grade: B-C (18th) A-C (21st)

Canton, Ohio to Dubuque, Iowa

One day. One long day, and four states, those are the stats on this Midwestern trek. It will take a little over 9 hours, albeit those will be traffic slogged in Chicago, to cover 608 mles. How bad will traffic be? Google suggests an alternate route through Indianapolis that is less than an hour longer, but covers 72 more miles. The pace of our route is 66.4mph, which doesn’t seem daunting, but it does seem optimistic.

Canton, Ohio, via VisitCanton.com

Low pressure in the Great Lakes is bringing some northerly flow to the Northern Plains and cycling in batches of rain and isolated thunderstorms to most of our route. The low is shifting north and a little east, however, and by tomorrow, the Ohio and Indiana portions of our journey will be in the clear. A second volley of wet weather will cycle into the region late in the day tomorrow, and while most of the activity will be heavy clouds in northern Illinois, we should expect some rain in spits and starts between Chicago and the Quad Cities, with thinner clouds bout those same spots of rain between Davenport and Dubuque. Not much, but it will be there, probably when you are bringing luggage to your hotel.

By Dirk – originally posted to Flickr as Dubuque Iowa, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=7121481

Dubuque, Iowa

Yes! We are forecasting for the same city in Iowa twice in a week. Anthony and I are operating on slightly different calendars, and there was overlap this week. Which of us does Dubuque best?

At 853AM, CT, Dubuque was reporting clear skies and a temperature of 63 degrees. Winds from the east were picking up, feeding into a line of very strong thunderstorms that were barreling down I-80, passing through Marshalltown on their way to Cedar Rapids and Iowa City. The heaviest activity will remain south of Dubuque, but Dubuque won’t be completely unscathed when all is said and done.
The line of storms is a true derecho, following a stationary front that runs south of Dubuque towards Missouri and into Kentucky and Tennessee. The northwestern part of the boundary is poised to lift further north as an area of low pressure moves through Iowa, reinvigorating the chance for showers and storms later this evening. The low that lifts north is just a mild perturbation in a broader, progressively weakening system in the northern Plains. The weakening of this parent low means that clearing will be slow to come to Deubuque, and this weekend will be plagued by chances of rain throughout the weekend as the system occludes over eastern Iowa. There may be a stray thunderstorm embedded within showers.
Tomorrow- Overcast with rain and some thunderstorms, High 74, Low 56
Sunday – Rain, heavier and with embedded storms late, High 77, Low 64

TWC: Tomorrow – Cloudy early. Scattered thunderstorms developing later in the day High 78, Low 57
Sunday – Scattered showers and thunderstorms. High 80, Low 67

AW: Tomorrow – Cloudy, humid; a shower or thunderstorm in spots in the afternoon High 76, low 58
Sunday – Remaining cloudy, thunderstorms, strong late; humid High 80, Low 68

NWS: Tomorrow – Showers and thunderstorms likely, mainly before 7am. Mostly cloudy, High 78, Low 60
Sunday – Showers and thunderstorms likely. Mostly cloudy, High 81, Low 68

WB: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy. Showers and thunderstorms likely in the morning, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon. High 74, Low 58
Sunday – Showers and thunderstorms likey, High 77, Low 68

WN: Tomorrow – Mostly cloudy with scattered storms, High 78, Low 60
Sunday – Mostly cloudy with thunderstorms likely, High 81, low 68

FIO: Tomorrow – Rain overnight and in the morning. High 72, Low 61
Sunday – Possible light rain throughout the day. High 80, Low 69

I’m a little cooler than most, especially on Sunday, but my logic is this: Rainy, cloudy days rarely happen when it’s 80 out. Here is the radar, with a line of storms screaming through southern Iowa.

Dubuque, Iowa

As we close in on the official start of Summer later this week, let’s take a look at how the Upper Midwest will fare over the next couple of days.

At 953pm CDT, the temperature at Dubuque, IA was 68 degrees under mostly cloudy skies. A weak boundary continues to linger from Michigan through IA back into the Central Plains. It’s the focus of scattered shower and isolated thunderstorm activity and looks to remain so for tomorrow. There’s a chance of scattered shower activity during the daytime hours as it shifts away from the Dubuque area, while thunderstorm activity should remain off to the south. Thursday should be on the dry side as the aforementioned boundary shifts away and in advance of another low pressure system shifting into the Dakotas. There might be some shower activity on Friday, but not Thursday!

Wednesday: Scattered showers possible. High 71, Low 61.
Thursday: Mostly cloudy and warmer. High 75, Low 56.

TWC: Wednesday: Morning showers. High 75, Low 63.
Thursday: Partly cloudy. High 77, Low 56.

AW: Wednesday: Cloudy, a touch of rain. High 72, Low 62.
Thursday: Mostly cloudy; comfortable. High 75, Low 56.

NWS: Wednesday: Chance of showers. High 74, Low 62.
Thursday: Mostly sunny. High 76, Low 57.

WB: Wednesday: Chance of storms. High 71, Low 63.
Thursday: Mostly sunny. High 74, Low 57.

WN: Wednesday: Mostly cloudy with scattered showers. High 74, Low 62.
Thursday: Partly cloudy. High 76, Low 57.

FIO: Wednesday: Light rain until afternoon. High 73, Low 64.
Thursday: Partly cloudy throughout the day. High 77, Low 59.

There’s some light rain shower activity off to the west. We’ll see another day of this smattering of activity before things clear out.