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KCRG TV9 First Alert Forecast For Dubuque and the Tri-States

KCRG TV9 FIRST ALERT FORECAST FOR SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15, 2018       

TODAY:  SUNNY, HIGHS IN THE LOW 40S. 

TONIGHT:  CLEAR.  LOW 20. 

TOMORROW:  SUNNY.  HIGHS IN THE LOW 40S.      

EXTENDED OUTLOOK MONDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY: 

CLOUDY, HIGHS IN THE LOW 40S, LOWS IN THE LOW 30S, RAIN AND SNOW POSSIBLE TUESDAY AND WEDNESDAY. 

MISSISSIPPI RIVER STAGE AT DUBUQUE:  8.4-FEET & STEADY


KCRG Weather Blog

40s decrease substantially through December

As you might imagine, the overall chance of hitting 40 degrees or higher is the greatest in early December compared to the end of the month. On December 1, there’s about a 50% chance of hitting 40. By the end of the month, the odds lower to 20%, or 1-in-5. That’s all the more reason to enjoy the spectacular weekend ahead of us! On average in December, we’ll hit 40 or greater eight times. Back in December of 2001, this occurred a record 20 times! The December before, though, we didn’t hit 40 once. Since the late 1800s, nine Decembers have failed to hit 40 degrees.

Beyond the Weather: Geminid meteor shower

December is not always known for great weather to look beyond the weather. However, for at least the next week and a half, it looks great. Overnight lows in the 20s are relatively comfortable by December standards. One sight you will not want to miss is the Geminid meteor shower. The annual Geminid meteor shower peaks Friday morning but lasts into the weekend. The best time to look is after 2 a.m. Plan to stay outside at least an hour for your eyes to fully adjust. At peak we could see more than 50 meteors per hour under ideal conditions – away from city lights. They radiant from the constellation Gemini high in the southwest sky. Also, Comet 46P/Wirtanen is getting closer to the Earth. This will be visible with the naked eye, but enhanced with the aid of binoculars or a telescope. It will be closest to Earth on December 16. Happy stargazing!

What are the long-term odds of a white Christmas?

Christmas is less than two weeks away, and the question of “will there be a white Christmas?” is beginning to come up. We consider a “white Christmas” to be one with at least an inch of snow on the ground on Christmas Day. While it’s hard to give a simple “yes” or “no” since a lot can happen between now and then, the general weather pattern is one that keeps highs above freezing through at least the end of next week. There have been some consistent signals of colder weather arriving just before Christmas. Precipitation is harder to pin down, but there aren’t any real snow chances until next Friday at the earliest, and even that is questionable this far out. We’ll have a better sense of this as time goes on. At this point, if we get a white Christmas, it’s probably going to be down to the wire. Regardless of whether or not there’s snow on the ground on the 25th, it’s important to put all of this in context. The long-term odds of a white Christmas in much of the state is actually close to 50-50. Northern Iowa, not surprisingly, has higher odds – it’s about six or seven out of every ten there. Meanwhile, southern Iowa has lower chances over the long-term – about three or four out of every ten years. These are the climatological chances of a white Christmas in several of the long-term climate observation sites in eastern Iowa. This is done by taking the most recent 30-year period of records and seeing how many of them had an inch of snow on Christmas Day. So, if 15 of the years did, then it’s a 50% chance. Anamosa: 64% Cedar Rapids: 47% Decorah: 64% Dubuque: 63% Fayette: 71% Guttenberg: 65% Independence: 54% Iowa City: 44% Manchester: 57% Postville: 62% Sigourney: 42% Tama: 48% Tipton: 47% Washington: 37% Waterloo: 58%

Central Iowa has been in a snow hole

So far this winter, only a handful of snow events have occurred. Nearly all of them have missed the Des Moines and Ames area entirely. In fact, parts of the Des Moines metro area have failed to even reach one inch of snowfall so far this season. The lack of snow extends farther east toward Williamsburg and even stretches up along the Highway 151 corridor. This is really only a matter of good luck (or bad luck if you are in snow removal), though. Southern Iowa has received plenty of snow and remains above normal for the season. Over the next 10 days, very little snow is expected in Iowa as temperatures remain above normal.

Lack of mild weather recently is a rarity

Overall, temperatures over the past several weeks have been unusually cool. Since November 1, Cedar Rapids has had only 14 days with a high of 40 or warmer. That’s the third-fewest on record and is the fewest since 1996. That year, there were only 10 days of at least 40 degrees from November 1 through December 10. 1992 had 12 such days, and this year’s 14 ties 1893 and 1910. In Dubuque, there have been only 11 days of 40 or warmer. That’s the second-fewest on record, behind only 1996 with 10 days. Iowa City is up to 13 days of getting to at least 40 degrees. That’s the second-fewest, behind 1996 with 10 days. However, the airport has only about 30 years’ worth of records. The water treatment plant, which is the long-term climate site, has reported 12 such days, which is behind only 1992 when it had 11 days. So, regardless of which location you pick, Iowa City is in second place. Waterloo has had 13 days of 40 or warmer. That’s tied for 4th-fewest, along 2000, 1992, 1986, and 1978. The fewest on record is nine, set in 1996.