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Weather Blog | Nosedive from 70s to snow

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Posted at 6:35 AM, Feb 26, 2024

Good Monday bloggers,

This is going to be an interesting end to February to say the least. We are likely going to set one or two record high temperatures today and tomorrow. This will be followed by a very strong cold front and possibly snow Tuesday night!

I have lived here my whole life and I have seen situations like this before, but they are rare. Let's go through this.

TODAY:
We are in for some great weather. We are going for a high of 77° which would break the record high of 76° set in 1896. We will see some high clouds with a south-southwest breeze at 10-20 mph. Now, there is a higher fire danger due to the dry ground, low humidity, warm temperatures and increased wind.

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A strong cold front will be moving into the northern Plains this afternoon.

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TUESDAY:
This will be quite an interesting day and night of weather. The very strong cold front will be on our doorstep as our highs climb to the 70s. Another record high will be in jeopardy as temperatures drop to the teens and 20s in Nebraska with snow. We will not see any rain and thunderstorms with the front as the Gulf of Mexico moisture is shunted to the east by southwest winds.

But, there is a system lagging behind the front. This could bring winter precipitation to our area.

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There is a slight (level 2 of 5 risk) of severe weather along and east of the Mississippi River. Large hail, damaging wind and even tornadoes are possible.

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Let's take a closer look at this weather situation.

TUESDAY 3 P.M.:
Highs will once again climb to the mid and upper 70s. We are going 75° which would break the record set in 2016 of 73°. We will see increasing clouds with a southwest wind 10-20 mph. A higher fire danger is possible as well.

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TUESDAY 3-11 P.M.:
The very strong cold front will move through and you will know when it does. The wind will pick up from the north and northwest to 20-40 mph as temperatures plummet to the mid 20s by 11 p.m..

And yes, that is a band of snow moving across the region. And, it could stick to all surfaces even though it was in the 70s, eight hours prior.

Here is why it could stick.
1. It is occurring at night, so we do not get help from the infrared radiation from the sun which comes through clouds.
2. The temperature is dropping rapidly and to levels well below freezing.
3. The wind will be 20-40 mph and this can remove heat from surfaces faster.
4. It has to be a steady period of snow. If it is very light and patchy it will not stick much.
5. There is a trend to it being a two to four hour period of steady snow that may start as freezing rain and sleet. Right now most locations and any surface could see a dusting to 1" coating of snow. And we have to watch for "flash freezing" causing a thin layer of ice under the snow.

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TUESDAY 11 P.M.-WEDNESDAY 7 A.M.:
The snow will be long gone, but the cold will still be pouring in. Lows will reach 15° to 20° with wind chill values in the single digits and teens. The wind will be northwest at 15-25 mph.

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WEDNESDAY 7 A.M.-3 P.M.:
The sun will come back out as the wind decreases to 10-15 mph from the northwest. The band of snow by 3 p.m. will be in Ohio, right next to a line of thunderstorms, some may be severe.

A surface high pressure will be located in the southwest part of the Plains.

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THURSDAY:
The surface high will be in Ohio. The wind blows clockwise around high pressure and this puts us in a warming south wind. We will see highs right back to 55°-60°. There is a cold pocket to our south. This is due to a new small system coming from the southwest. We may get some rain Thursday night and Friday.

Regardless of whether we see the small system Friday, highs will return to the 70s by the weekend.

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Here is a weather timeline summary for Tuesday and Wednesday.
TUESDAY BY 3 p.m.:
Warming to the mid and upper 70s.

TUESDAY 3-9 p.m.:
Very strong cold front and dry. Temperatures drop to 25°-30° on north-northwest winds at 20-40 mph.

TUESDAY 9 PM-WEDNESDAY 4 a.m.:
An increasing chance for a two-four hour period of snow that may start as freezing rain/sleet. Temperatures will drop to 20°-25°. A dusting to 1" of snow is possible on all surfaces with a thin layer of ice underneath.

WEDNESDAY 4-7 AM:
Windy and very cold with lows 15°-20° and wind chill values in the single digits and low teens.

WEDNESDAY 7 AM-3 PM:
Decreasing wind and clouds as highs climb to the 30s.

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So the temperature will drop nearly 60 degrees from 75° at 3 PM Tuesday to 17° a 7 a.m. Wednesday. When you look at the feels like temperature it will feel 70 degrees colder!

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Have a great week
Stay healthy.