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Tracking a colder end to October

A significant pattern change ahead could produce the first snowflakes of the season. Here’s when temperatures will free-fall.

Some modest warmth this week will quickly become a thing of the past as we finish out the remainder of the month. A substantial pattern shift is expected to unfold for the final days of October as a substantial area of warmth builds across the western parts of the Country.


As that warmth builds, colder air to the north will become dislodged and head south towards the Quad Cities region. This colder air mass will limit our highs to the 40s by the middle of next week and may also drive the opportunity for the season's first snowflakes.


The million-dollar question: Can we get a storm system to develop and move just right to lock into some of the colder air to switch any precipitation to snow? While there are hints that a system could develop next week and tap into some of the colder air that's present, there are still other solutions that keep the more substantial energy to our south and leave us dry. The fact that the cold air will be in place certainly improves our odds of seeing some snow around here, but I wouldn't count on anything sticking or accumulating this early in the game. Here's why:


Meteorologist Eric Sorensen put together some really interesting statistics regarding the season's first snowfall. Looking back at the last five years, many of our first flakes have fallen during the month of October, and early, too!

When it comes to the more substantial snowfalls, looking at an inch or more of accumulation, those dates are pushed back even further, with last year being an outlier. Who can't forget the Thanksgiving weekend blizzard?

The averages tell the story best though. Our average first snowflakes fall in early November followed by some true accumulating snow by December.

While the incoming cold air appears it will remain locked in place through the first week of November, time will tell if enough energy can come together to make some use of it. One thing is for sure, I certainly wouldn't bank on shoveling any snow soon, at least in the near term. We'll continue tracking the pattern as it unfolds next week.

Meteorologist Andrew Stutzke