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Bitterly Cold Tonight, Warmer Next Week

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As is usually the case, there were some surprises regarding this recent winter weather event.  Notice the reported snowfall totals from last night through early this morning and the heavier amounts were pretty much located along the I-40 corridor as expected.  However, the amounts were a bit of a surprise as the air was colder and drier than usual for a heavy snow event so those totals in the 4-5 inch range were certainly at the extreme upper bound of what would be expected.  Notice also there was quite a gradient just to the north of that heavier band as snowfall amounts quickly dropped off to little or nothing NE of Hwy 412. 

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Now we will be dealing with the cold as our skies are clearing and the winds will be light.  With snow on the ground and very dry air in place, that will allow temperatures to really bottom out tonight.  With the possible exception of the downtown urban environment, most locations should be in single digits and some of the colder valleys may even drop briefly into negative territory.

Full sun on Saturday along with a southerly breeze will try to thaw things out, but it will be a struggle.  Where the most snow is on the ground, temperatures may not get above the freezing mark and for those north of the heavier snow zone, it will be a struggle as well since those southerly winds will be blowing off a snow field.  Bottom line is temperatures at or just above freezing for the afternoon hours followed by another quick cool down that night.

Sunday will start off in the teens but a stronger southerly wind together with lots of sunshine should bring daytime highs into the lower 40s for the most part.  Again, those southerly winds will be blowing off what is left of the snow field to the south and that will keep us cooler than would otherwise be the case.  There will be some high level cirrus clouds on Sunday and even more cloud cover for Monday which will inhibit the warm-up to a certain extent.  Even so, look for temperatures to be in the 50s Monday afternoon and as you can see on our forecast page, even warmer for the next several days after that.

In fact, it will feel downright Spring-like for several days next week with the much above normal temperatures both at night and during the day.  A weak frontal boundary Tuesday night into Wednesday morning is not expected to cool things off much and we will still be much above normal through Thursday. 

After that, it starts to get interesting again as some of the longer range guidance is suggesting the potential for another round of significantly colder air to arrive for that weekend.  However, that is by no means assured due to a lack of consistency in the longer range guidance by that time frame.  For now, it looks like cooler but not a return to arctic air by next weekend followed by what should be another quick rebound.  The guidance for precipitation with that system is also very questionable as some model runs suggest little or no precipitation and others suggest a potentially very wet system.

We certainly need the moisture as drought continues to rear its ugly head across the sooner state as you can see on the latest drought monitor.

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Looking further down the road, the 8-14 day outlook maintains an above normal temperature pattern as the general rule going into that following week, on average.   That time frame may see a more unsettled pattern as well, but there continues to be considerable uncertainty regarding any major weather makers over the next few weeks.

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So, stay tuned and check back for updates.

Dick Faurot

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