A large area of high pressure from Canada has moved south into the middle of the country. It has brought some very cold air from northern Canada to the US for this time of year. Not only is it very cold…it is very dry.
Several National Weather Service forecast offices around the country send up weather balloons to gather real-time data of the atmosphere. This data gives us a look at the vertical profile of the atmosphere. The sounding from the National Weather Service forecast office in the Quad Cities showed just how dry the air really is. Here is a look at what the data looks like plotted. The precipitable water value is very low.
We now plot the 0.08″ value compared to all of the soundings on record for this location. You can see this is lower than the daily record of 0.14″. This is just another way to show how dry the air associated with this strong area of high pressure. The dry air will help us get to record low temperatures by Tuesday morning.