Colder weather moving in, but December outlook still not known

Snow plow. Courtesy City of Muscatine

By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton, courtesy Radio Iowa
Much colder weather is settling over Iowa, especially compared to last week’s highs in the 50s and 60s, but this chill is nothing unusual for the time of year.

Meteorologist Dennis Todey, director of the U.S.D.A.’s Midwest Climate Hub in Ames, says the arctic chill is far to the north and it’s likely not going to be wafting into Iowa anytime soon.

“Alaska has been fairly cold and parts of Canada have been fairly cold and the natural progression is, okay, there’s cold built up there and that it breaks off and comes down into the States either here or further east, but right now, it’s not doing that,” Todey says. “It’s just kind of hanging out up there or it’s dissipating and moving over into Canada.”

Todey says the same weather pattern has been in place for several weeks and there’s little shifting. “We just have a ridge of high pressure over a good portion of the country that has held really strong for some time now and it’s led to very warm, very dry conditions, very pleasant for this time of year, but setting up for some potential issues,” Todey says. “There have been some shots of coldish air but nothing astoundingly cold for this time of year.”

While it’s still too early to predict whether Iowa will have a White Christmas, Todey says there will likely be changes in the weather by the end of the month. “We are expecting along the way here, maybe the latter part of December or into the first of the year, there will be some cold coming,” he says, “but in the next — at least in the middle part of the month, we don’t see much in the way of major cold.”

Todey says while there has been very little precipitation for the past several weeks, that won’t be a major concern until early spring. December and January are typically Iowa’s driest months of the year.