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Cold, Windy, Wet Thursday.

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The answer to the age old question of where does an 800 pound gorilla go…..pretty much wherever he wants to…… sort of applies to our current weather situation. Let me explain; we have what amounts to an 800 pound gorilla bearing down on us right now in the form of a very strong disturbance aloft. The projections regarding just where it goes and when and with what intensity have varied considerably over the last several days.

For example, the two maps on the right show what I will refer to as energy centers aloft at around the 18,000 foot level across the continental US. Both are generated by the European Center which is usually pretty reliable. They both are valid for the same date/time which is this coming Saturday at 7 PM. The top one is the most recent one, based on data from 7 AM this morning and the most notable feature is the bulls eye in extreme S MO. The bottom one is based on data just 36 hours earlier only notice that the bulls eye from this earlier data run is now located in Central MN. That is quite a change and the impacts on the sensible weather associated with which ever solution is correct are enormous.

That is just one example, others abound.

Obviously, from the above, the numerical guidance we receive has been having a very difficult time dealing with what amounts to the atmospheric equivalent of an 800 pound gorilla. Those difficulties continue with the data we have been receiving so far today which still present a wide variety of solutions.

One thing that is for sure though is that it will be turning much colder tonight and for the next few days after that. After seeing daytime highs in the 80s again today, the surface cold front will be pushing on through the state tonight followed by much colder conditions, strong northerly winds, cloudy skies, and periods of rain with even some wintry precipitation mixed in.

We expect to start off Thursday morning in the low-mid 40s and end the day in the lower 40s or possibly even the upper 30s. Wind chill values will be generally in the 20s or low 30s at best for much of the day as well. As the cold front moves through tonight, there will be a good chance of showers and possibly some thunder, but the severe threat appears to be minimal. Then, cloudy skies and periods of mostly light rain are expected through Thursday. By that evening or early night, the air will be cold enough at the surface and aloft to support a mixed bag with rain/sleet/snow all possible. No accumulation of the wintry stuff is anticipated though.

After that, the attention turns to Friday morning when temperatures could be at or below freezing. It depends on if our skies clear out quickly enough and if the winds settle down enough, both questions that do not have obvious answers at this time. One set of guidance has us clear and below freezing, another has cloudy skies and temperatures above freezing. Our course of least regret has been to put 32 on the forecast map just in case and there will no doubt be some locations that will reach freezing that morning. Lingering clouds and chances of light rain will keep us quite cool through Friday as well.

Temperatures will slowly moderate through the weekend and especially by early next week. So, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot

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