Friday Afternoon Update on the Weekend Snow

9:30 PM UPDATE to include the WINTER STORM WATCH.


The sky will be mostly clear tonight.

Jan 30 Vis Sat

Low pressure is forecast to move east across Missouri Sunday bringing snow to Iowa.


Clouds increase early Saturday morning with snow developing late in the afternoon (mainly after 3 pm). Here is forecast where the snow should be at 7 PM Saturday.

Blog Graphic 1

Snow becomes widespread across Iowa during the evening. Snow continues through Sunday morning before tapering off in the afternoon. Heaviest of the snow will fall from 10 PM Saturday through noon Sunday.

Expect hazardous conditions on the road Saturday evening through Sunday night.

Here is the latest snow forecast.
Blog Graphic 5


The gusty northeast wind will increase Saturday night and remain windy through Sunday blowing. This will cause blowing snow and at times reduced visibility.  The strongest wind will be from midnight Saturday through about 8 PM Sunday.

Jan 30 Wind Forecast

Sunday will be much colder with wind chills during the day near zero or slightly below.  Temperatures remain in the teens throughout the day.

Clouds clear late Sunday night giving us sunshine to start Monday. Clouds increase in the afternoon as we track the next chance of snow to be here Tuesday morning into Wednesday morning.


Posted under Update

This post was written by Schnack on January 30, 2015

Chance of Snow Then COLD Air

Forecast Bar


Tonight: Mostly cloudy and windy with a 20% chance of a rain shower. Low: 34-38. Wind: SW to NW 15-30 mph.

Saturday: Partly cloudy and windy. High: 40-45. Wind: NW 15-30 mph.

Saturday Night: Mostly cloudy. High: 28-30. Wind: SW 10-15 mph.

Sunday: Mostly cloudy. High: mid-upper 40s.

Monday: Cloudy and windy (NE 15-25 mph) with a 70% chance of rain/snow. High: mid 30s.

Tuesday: Mostly cloudy and windy (N 10-20 mph). High: near 30.

Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High: upper 20s.

Thursday: Mostly sunny. High: upper 20s.

Friday: Mostly sunny. High: upper 20s.

Weather Extra Bar

The cold front over the Dakotas this afternoon is forecast to cross Iowa tonight. A few isolated light showers are possible, but most places will remain dry. If you get any rain it would be a trace to a couple of hundredths of an inch.
Nov 7 Current Map

After the front crosses, the wind will increase from the northwest with gusts as high as 45 mph. A WIND ADVISORY is in effect tonight into early Saturday morning.

Blog Graphic 2

The chart below shows the wing diminishing after 3 pm Saturday as high pressure moves closer to the state.

Nov 7 Wind Forecast

We are tracking a storm forecast to bring our first measurable snow to parts of the area Monday/Monday Night. As of Friday evening the storm is located south of Alaska. The WPC forecast map for Monday morning has the low over the Kansas/Nebraska state line (see map below).

Nov 7 Mon AM Sfc Map

The amount of moisture available to this storm is about 0.50-0.75” (see map below).

Nov 7 QPF

If the amount is used as all snow, parts of the Midwest will have their first accumulating snow of the season. The best chance of 4 and possible 8 inches of snow is located across southern Minnesota (see map below).

Nov 7 Snow Chance

Lighter snow amounts are possible across northern Iowa. There are many factors that can change this area of snow and amount between now and Monday. So be prepared for some changes in the forecast as the storm moves into the United States. At this point, the storm will be able to be sampled by the network of weather balloons launched by the National Weather Service two times a day. This data would be then put into the computer models and give us a better handle on the forecast.

The farther south you live from the Iowa/Minnesota state line the better chance of this being light rain and little to no accumulating snow…that is as of Friday evening. There will be adjustments to the as the day gets closer. So stay up to date on the latest forecast if you have any travel plans.

No matter what happens on Monday, there is one thing for certain…VERY COLD air is moving south.

Blog Graphic 1

A large area of cold air from Canada will be moving south and arrive in Iowa Monday night and it will stick around for about 1-2 weeks. High temperatures will be in the upper 20s and low temperatures a few degrees above 10. It is going to feel more like January. Here the 8-14 day outlook showing below normal temperatures and below normal precipitation through the 21st.

Nov 7 8 to 14 day outlook



Posted under Forecast Discussion

This post was written by Schnack on November 7, 2014

Tracking Rain/Snow for Tuesday

Forecast Bar

UPDATED at 4:30 PM

Tonight: Mostly cloudy. Low: 33-35. Wind: N 5-10 mph.

Tuesday: Cloudy with an 80% chance of rain/snow. High: 35-42. Wind: N 10-20 mph.

Tuesday Night: Light snow ends. Snow accumulation: trace to 2”. Low: 20-25. Wind: N 15-25 mph.

Wednesday: Mostly cloudy and windy (N 15-25 mph). High: near 30.

Thursday: Partly cloudy. High: mid 40s.

Friday: Partly cloudy. High: upper 40s.

Saturday: Mostly cloudy. High: low 40s.

Sunday: Mostly cloudy with a 20% chance of rain/snow: High: mid 30s.

Monday: Mostly cloudy. High: upper 30s.

Weather Extra Bar

It has been a very nice late winter day. Spring (Vernal Equinox) officially begins March 20. Check out the 4 pm temperatures across Iowa.

Mar 10 4 PM Temps

At noon today, the visible satellite image showed where the snow was on the ground impacting the temperatures (northeast Iowa).

Mar 10 Snow vs no snow

So far this afternoon the rivers have remained in check with no major problems. There have been some significant rises on streams with localized flooding due to the snow melt today. The Iowa River at Marengo has been flooding a bit this afternoon. Click here for the latest flood update.

The sky will become mostly cloudy tonight as low pressure tracks closer to Iowa. A light wintry mix will develop in the morning and continue into the afternoon. It will transition to light snow during evening as temperatures begin to drop and the wind increases from the north. Light snow will taper off Tuesday night.

Mar 10 Tue Rain Snow

Wednesday is going to be much colder with highs in the upper 20s to low 30s and a gusty north wind. Not to worry, temperatures rebound back to the 40s Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

There is a slight chance of a light rain/snow shower Sunday as temperatures drop back to the 30s.

A look back on this day in weather history, a snow record was broken. The most snow from one storm fell from March 10-14, 1951. It is a state record.

Mar 10 Record Snow


Posted under Forecast Discussion

This post was written by Schnack on March 10, 2014

Updated Snow Forecast as of 9:30 PM

The heaviest of band of snow has been across southern Minnesota and crossing the state line into Iowa this evening. Snow reports have ranged from 1-4″…. the heaviest in Minnesota. The most unstable part of the atmosphere is across southern MN where the snow is falling at 1″ per hour. The forecast is for it to come south a bit overnight. The snow extends back into South Dakota.

Mar 4 MW Radar

The southern edge of the heavier snow will come close again to Waterloo and Dubuque (along Highway 20). There is a lot of uncertainty about how much snow makes it as far south as roughly Highway 20. I will keep the narrow band of 1-3″ on the southern edge of heavier band circled above. Here is the latest WSI RPM snow forecast.

Mar 4 RPM

Here is the graphic I will show during the 10 pm news (see below).  There is going to be such a sharp cutoff. I could possibly narrow the 1-3″ snow band a bit more. I am going to leave it this way for the show. Mar 4 Updated Snow Forecast


We will see how this plays out. I will post snow totals here on the blog tomorrow morning.


Posted under Update

This post was written by Schnack on March 4, 2014

More Snow and More Cold

Forecast Bar

UPDATED at 4:30 PM

Tonight: Snow ending by midnight with a mostly cloudy sky overnight. Low: -7 to 1. Wind: W/NW 5-10 mph.

Tuesday: Cloudy with a 90% chance of snow in the afternoon. High: 5-12. Wind: Variable 5-10 mph.

Tuesday Night: Cloudy with a 90% chance of snow. Low: -1 to 8. Wind: NE 10-15 mph.

Wednesday: Cloudy and windy (NE 10-20 mph) with a 70% chance of snow. High: near 10.

Thursday: Mostly cloudy. High: near 5.

Friday: Partly cloudy and windy (S 10-20 mph). High: mid teens.

Saturday: Partly cloudy and windy (SW to NW 15-25 mph). High: near 30.

Sunday: Mostly cloudy and windy (NW 15-25 mph) with a 20% chance of snow. High: near 5.

Monday: Partly cloudy and windy (NW 15-25 mph). High: near 0.

Weather Extra Bar

Light snow continues to push across Iowa this afternoon making roads slick. Please use caution if you are traveling tonight. Click here for the latest road conditions. The snow tapers off by midnight while the sky remains cloudy overnight. Here is the radar at 4:10 pm showing where the snow was falling.

Dec 30 Radar 410

Another round of snow will develop Tuesday afternoon and continue through the night before tapering off early Wednesday afternoon. Here is the current WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY for this time period.

Dec 30 Advisory

Most of eastern Iowa will see 2-4” with isolated higher amounts near 5”. Wednesday will be windy with a 10-20 mph blowing the powdery snow around.

Blog Graphic 5

Thursday through Saturday will be dry as temperatures warm to near 30 Saturday. This warm-up will not last long. A couple of cold fronts will push through bringing more Arctic air south with high temperatures Sunday and Monday in the low single digits.


Posted under Forecast Discussion

This post was written by Schnack on December 30, 2013

Light Snow or Flurries Thursday

 UPDATED at 3:45 PM

Tonight: Mostly clear. Low: 18-24. Wind: W 5-10 mph.

Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High: 36-44. Wind: W 10-15 mph.

Wednesday Night: Mostly cloudy. Low: 27-30. Wind: SW 10-15 mph.

Thursday: Mostly cloudy and windy (NW 15-25 mph) with a 30% chance of light snow/flurries. High: mid 30s.

Friday: Mostly cloudy. High: upper 20s.

Saturday: Partly cloudy. High: mid 20s.

Sunday: Partly cloudy and windy (S 15-25 mph). High: low-mid 30s.

Monday: Mostly cloudy. High: mid 30s.

Tuesday: Partly cloudy. High: near 30. 

It was nice to see the sun today. It has been too long. It felt like seeing a good friend you have not seen in for a while. The lighter wind also helped out making it feel more comfortable outside. The clear sky gave us a chance to see where the snow is on the visible satellite image. There is little to now snow on the ground across southern Iowa. There are still a few inches of snow on the ground across northern Iowa. See map below.

The sky will be mostly clear this evening giving us the opportunity to see the International Space Station. The ISS will be visible this at 6:36 for 3 minutes. It will travel from the WNW to NE. The maximum elevation is 46 degrees above the horizon.

The next chance of any precipitation will come Thursday a low pressure system will track from North Dakota to central Wisconsin. As the cold front swings through Iowa there is a chance of light snow/flurries. The better chance of seeing any snowflakes is the farther northeast you live in Iowa. The wind will be gusty from the northwest. The HPC forecast map for Wednesday evening is below.

The next five days will be mainly dry. Here is the liquid (rain/snow) forecast from Tuesday evening to Sunday evening. The low amount in northeast Iowa is the chance of light snow Thursday.

Friday and Saturday will be colder with highs in the 20s. Clouds will linger Friday. More sunshine is expected Tuesday. Sunday will have a gusty south wind. I am going to be pessimistic at this point with highs in the low 30s. There is still plenty of time to up the afternoon highs if we have plenty of sunshine. The latest computer model guidance any precipitation for Monday farther south. Because of that I have pulled the chance of rain/snow from the forecast.


Posted under Forecast Discussion

This post was written by Schnack on February 12, 2013

Light Snow/Flurries Tonight

UPDATED at 4:00 PM

Tonight: Mostly cloudy and not as cold with a 20% chance of light snow/flurries. Little to no snow accumulation expected. Low: 2-8. Wind: SW 5-10 mph.

Wednesday: AM: Clouds and flurries. PM: Clearing. High: 19-26. Wind: NW 10-20 mph.

Wednesday Night: Mostly clear and cold. Low: -4 to 5. Wind: NW 10-15 mph.

Thursday: Partly cloudy. High: low 20s.

Friday: Partly cloudy and windy (NW 15-25 mph). High: near 20.

Saturday: Partly cloudy. High: low 20s.

Sunday: Mostly cloudy with a 20% chance of a wintry mix. High: low 30s.

Monday: Mostly cloudy with a 20% chance of rain. High: upper 30s.

Tuesday: Mostly cloudy with a 20% chance of rain/snow. High: mid 30s.

It was another cold day with temperatures this morning below zero and afternoon highs in the single digits and low teens. Clouds have been increasing across eastern Iowa this afternoon. Here is a visible satellite image from this afternoon.

The band of clouds over us tonight produced some light snow in western Iowa and eastern Nebraska last night. We will have a chance of light snow or flurries tonight with the potential for light accumulation (less than 1”) in some spots. Flurries will continue into Wednesday morning.

High pressure will move south into the Midwest and clear the clouds Wednesday afternoon. The sky will be clear Wednesday night and it will be colder across the northern half of the viewing area. Some locations will drop below zero again for morning lows. Here is the HPC surface map for Wednesday evening.

Clouds will increase Thursday afternoon with chance of light snow Thursday night. There might be a few flurries lingering into early Friday morning, but for the most part the light snow would be confined to Thursday night. Some light accumulation is possible.

Friday and Saturday will be partly cloudy with a gusty northwest wind Friday and a much lighter wind Saturday.

We are tracking the potential for some active weather Sunday through the first half of next week. Sunday could be a sloppy day with a wintry mix of rain/freezing rain/sleet and snow. It is too early for any specifics on precipitation type/location and amount. Here is the GFS model showing the critical thicknesses. Each of the colored lines could potential be the “rain/snow” line. The pink shading is the precipitation.

Here is an early look at the amount of moisture in the system from Friday evening through Sunday evening. Since there will be no precipitation Saturday the amount on the map from the HPC is for Sunday.


Posted under Forecast Discussion

This post was written by Schnack on January 22, 2013

Update on Possible Weekend Rain/Snow

UPDATED at 4:20 PM

Tonight: Light showers will end this evening otherwise mostly cloudy. Low: 28-36. Wind: N 5 mph.

Friday: Mostly cloudy. High: 38-44. Wind: NE 5-10 mph.

Friday Night: Mostly cloudy. Low: 24-29. Wind: NE 5 mph.

Saturday:  Mostly cloudy. High: near 40.

Sunday: Cloudy with a 50% chance of rain/snow. High: mid 30s.

Monday: Mostly sunny and breezy (NW 10-20 mph). High: mid 20s.

Tuesday: Partly cloudy. High: low 30s.

Wednesday: Partly cloudy. High: upper 30s

Thursday: Partly cloudy. High: low 30s.

There have been a few light rain showers and some drizzle today amounting to a few hundredths of an inch. The light showers will be ending this evening. Here is the radar from 2:18 PM today.

Friday and Saturday will be dry but with lots of clouds around. High temperatures will be above normal with readings near 40 degrees.

Now for the latest on the chance of snow and now rain mixed in for Sunday. The model data from this morning shows the low tracking from Oklahoma to about Indiana from Sunday morning to Monday morning. Here are the computer model tracks and HPC.

There is a little more warm air getting wrapped into the storm with the latest model updates. That would make this more of a rain/snow mix changing to snow at some point in the afternoon Sunday. The temperatures are forecast to drop during the afternoon as the low moves east of Iowa. The liquid from this storm in Iowa is going to be light. Here is the liquid in the storm from Saturday evening to Sunday evening.

The map below shows the chance of 1”+ of snow from Saturday evening to Sunday evening. The best chances of any accumulating light snow would be across northern Iowa.

The wind will increase from the NW Monday with sunshine and colder temperatures. The highs in the 20s on Monday don’t last long as temperatures are expected to rebound back into the 30s as early as Tuesday.


Posted under Forecast Discussion

This post was written by Schnack on December 6, 2012

Temps/Snow Data/Snow Records

The chart below is the high temperatures from December 1 through today. Early in December we had about a week with temperatures below normal. By the way the white line is the normal high for the day. Most of December and now into early January our high temperatures have been above normal. 


The two maps below show the snow depth as of today (bottom left) to last year on this day (bottom right).

There is just 16% of the lower 48 states covered with snow. Compare that with 2011 with 45%. Here are is a look back through 2005.
16% Today
45% 2011
56% 2010
42% 2009
35% 2008
28% 2007
27% 2006
55% 2005

Here is how much snow has fallen so far and how much we had up to this point last year. WOW what a difference.

Location: This Season/Last Season/Normal to Date
Waterloo: 2.6″/24.9″/14.2″
Dubuque: 2.6″/27.6″/16.5″
Cedar Rapids: 0.8″/13.0″/17.4″
Iowa City: 1.0″/10.0″/11.7″

Snow facts for Waterloo:

Least Snow in a Season (Dec/Jan/Feb): 11.6” 1967-1968 

Consecutive Days of No Measured Snow: 286 February 24 – December 6, 1914  

Least Snow Calendar Year (Jan 1-Dec 31): 6.5” 1922 

Latest Initial Occurrence of Trace: December 6, 1948 

Latest Initial Occurrence of 0.1”: December 20, 2004

Latest Initial Occurrence of 1”: February 10, 1944


Posted under Precipitation Totals, Records, Winter Weather

This post was written by Schnack on January 6, 2012

Snow Depth and Water Equivalent

It is that time of year when flooding becomes a concern. We have had a lot of snow this winter. Here is a list of snow totals for this winter from our local big 4 cities, other Iowa cities with climate reports and regional cities surrounding Iowa.

Waterloo: 45.3″
Dubuque: 56.1″
Cedar Rapids: 30.3″
Iowa City: 32.9″

Iowa Cities:
Mason City: 45.8″
Des Moines: 31.5″
Sioux City: 33.0″
Davenport: 48.3″

Regional Cities:

Minneapolis, MN: 74.9″
Rochester, MN: 59.5″
Duluth, MN: 74.8″
St. Cloud, MN: 50.0″
International Falls, MN: 74.8″
La Crosse, WI: 53.1″
Madison, WI: 61.0″
Milwaukee, WI: 50.6″
Green Bay, WI: 57.3″
Eau Claire, WI: 59.6″
Chicago, IL: 53.4″
Rockford, IL 49.0″
Omaha, NE: 28.6″
Sioux Falls, SD: 39.0″

All of this snow will melt as the days get longer and warmer. Just how fast it melts and any additional precipitation will be the main factors on how much flooding will occur. The latest outlook from the National Weather Service (NWS) has a slightly above normal chance of flooding across all of eastern Iowa and a much greater than normal chance of flooding along the Mississippi River. Keep in mind this outlook was issued before more than one foot of snow fell across southern Minnesota this weekend.

The map below shows the snow depth as of this morning.

The snow depth doesn’t tell the whole story when it comes to flooding. The snow depth map does not tell you how much water is in the snow.  The water equivalent map below is more representative of what we want to see.

There are some locations in southern Minnesota where there is still 4-6″ or slightly more of water in the snow on the ground. In terms of flooding, the best case scenario would be no more precipitation and a slow warm up through early April. The slow warm up would result in a gradual melting of the snow.  The worst case scenario would be a rapid melt due to very warm conditions and more precipitation.

You can find the latest river levels and forecast river levels for all the forecast points along the rivers in eastern Iowa by clicking here. This link is also located on the right hand side of the blog and will remain there for further reference.


Posted under Flooding, Precipitation Totals, Winter Weather

This post was written by Schnack on February 22, 2011