It will be very windy tonight and Thursday across eastern Iowa. A strong area of low pressure will continue tracking to the north, leaving behind gusty westerly winds. Gusts tonight could be as high as 45 mph, with wind gusts as high as 50 mph at times during the day Thursday. A Wind Advisory is in effect Thursday for parts of the KWWL viewing area.
The wind will die down later Thursday evening, and we will be left with relatively quiet weather through Friday morning.
We are tracking our next storm system that will enter the United States this evening. That storm will bring us our first dose of winter weather Friday and Friday night. Here is the timing of that area of low pressure.
The center of the storm will be over eastern Wyoming at 6 AM Friday, and will track through northern Kansas by 6 PM Friday, and by 6 AM Saturday the low pressure will be around eastern Missouri and western Illinois. The heaviest snow band will be along and north of that track.
The National Weather Service in Des Moines has already issued a Winter Storm Watch for Black Hawk, Bremer, Butler, Grundy and Tama counties for Friday and Friday night. The La Crosse and Davenport forecast offices will hold off just a little bit longer on issuing a watch, since it is farther out in time. They will most likely issue one within the next 24 hours.
Temperatures will be in the middle and upper 30s as the storm system begins to enter the region Friday afternoon. Initially, we will have some dry air to overcome. Once the air becomes saturated, the precipitation could initially begin as a rain snow mix anytime after the noon hour Friday. As the afternoon goes on, and the air cools, the rain will eventually switch over to all snow, and continue through early Saturday morning. This means the Friday evening commute could be tricky, so keep that in mind. With temperature around freezing (32°), this snow will be a “wet” snow.
Even though the snow will come to an end on Saturday morning, our issues won’t be completely over. The wind will pick up and could blow the fallen snow around, reducing visibility and causing travel issues.
As far as snowfall amounts, early indications point to widespread 1 to 3 inch totals, with a swath of 3 inches or more in eastern Iowa. This all depends on the exact track of the low pressure, how quickly the onset of the precipitation starts/changes over to snow, how much moisture is available, and the rate at which the snow falls. Another factor to keep in mind is how quickly soil temperature drops over the next 48 hours, which as of Wednesday were averaging right around 50°.
We are around that time of year where we typically receive our first inch of snowfall. Here is the climatological average, along with the first inch of snowfall the past three years.
Stay with KWWL Storm Track 7 for the latest forecast, as we get a better idea on the track of the storm.
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This post was written by Kyle Kiel on November 18, 2015