Forecast Turnaround Might Spare Holiday Travelers

IMG_0242Call it a major reversal of fortune for the Upper Midwest.  If computer models are to be believed today, a major winter storm set to strike parts of Iowa on Christmas Eve might not materialize.  The latest runs show a much weaker system moving in that would drop only minor snow accumulations.  While this might still affect travel it at least does not hint towards major travel disruptions during a very busy time of the year.

That’s the good news, but as is usually the case with weather forecasting, the good news can’t last for long.  I don’t like to talk about things this far out, but it is a pretty crucial time of the year with the holidays so I want to mention something so long as everyone reading this reminds themselves that anything can change between now and January.

Long range forecast models are pinning a rather powerful storm system to reach the Upper Midwest sometime around the New Year’s holiday.  The impacts, track and timing of this storm are beyond uncertain, but I feel it’s important to mention this for two reasons: 1. There are a lot of people who make plans during this time frame and 2. It could bring about another wintry change in the pattern.

Forecast models are showing a lot of cold air behind this storm, indicating some of the coldest conditions yet will ring in 2011 over a large area including Iowa.  This would easily translate into temperatures below zero and dangerously cold wind chills.  Something to keep in mind in the weeks ahead.  Winter has not been kind to Iowa so far, but the worst may yet be to come.

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