Thursday, June 26, 2014

Update - June 26, 2014 - We're still in an active pattern but summer is setting in!

See the previous post by clicking here

Additional convective events have taken place since the last posting.  This morning (Thursday June 26) another MCS (Mesoscale Convective System) was sliding southeast into south central Kansas.  The 14 day precipitation map does not include much of this precipitation.  Over the past two weeks there has been excessive amounts of rainfall and unfortunately some damaging hail and high wind.  The hail and wind is certainly not unusual even for late June.  Some areas have measured in excess of 6 inches during the period. All areas have received rainfall but there are still pockets that have missed out on heavier rain and have received  less than a quarter of an inch.

For the month of June much of the area has received much above normal rainfall and in some cases near record values.  The map below shows areas in pink that have measured between 10 and 15 inches for June! But at the same time, there are a few localized spots near Elkhart, Johnson, Coolidge and near Hugoton that have received  less than 1 1/2 inches of rain.

Locally in the Dodge City area rainfall has varied in amounts too.  At the Dodge City airport we have had 6.81 inches (keeping in mind that in town MUCH heavier rain has fallen - even double) and this is the 8th wettest June, so far.  For the Water Year (that started October 1, 2013), the accumulated precipitation has now gone above normal.

However, there is still quite a deficit going back to the beginning of Water Year 2011 that started October 1, 2010.  Many areas across the high plains are similar if not worse.

Because of the deficits, much of the area is still in a drought.

So, this has certainly been a nice period of improvement but much, much more rainfall is needed to break the long term drought that took years to develop.  During the short term, that is through early July, there should still be opportunities for systems of storms rolling off the high terrain to the west.

Sometimes when it gets green and wet there are some feedback mechanisms into the atmosphere that promote additional opportunities for convective events during the warm season.  West Texas and eastern New Mexico did receive abundant rainfall during the past 30 days and this will have a positive influence on Kansas weather, at least for the next several weeks. However, there does now appear to be changes taking place in the atmosphere that point to a summer pattern developing.  Does this mean it's suddenly going to get hot and dry?  Not likely.

I still am holding hope that with some feedback into the atmosphere and with a residual but diminishing overall favorable weather pattern that there should still be periodic opportunities for convection well into July.  I'm hoping that a Rockies Monsoon (that typically develops during the first part of July and lasts into August) will be developing soon.  With the overall pattern we've had this should help areas of eastern Colorado and far western Kansas.  How far this activity gets is a big unknown.  More on this later.

There should still be periodic cold fronts (weaker) that should bring a few days of thunderstorms across the high plains.  In the earlier post this week I had mentioned a "cold" outbreak for the July 4th period.  It still looks to be on track but mainly impacting the upper midwest/corn belt.  We should still get a taste of that well into western Kansas.  Thus, I would not be surprised to see a couple of days of storms from July 2nd through July 5th with below normal temperatures.

So, for July I would expect near normal rainfall at most locations.  Yes there will be spots that receive much above normal  rainfall due to stronger storms at their location and unfortunately a few spots will receive less than normal rainfall.  Temperatures should end up near normal to slightly above but I don't see days and days of 100's and wind.

One final thought...there continues to be much talk about El Nino.  We are NOT in an El Nino just yet and there continues to be some uncertainty about that evolution (even if it will develop, let along becoming a strong one).  I'll talk more about this later but for now I offer the following graph.  The numbers of SOI (Southern Oscillation Index) needs to be significantly negative for several months.  It just hasn't happened yet.

I'll try and update this blog again around July 11.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Brief update - June 21, 2014

Due to time constraints and travel to conferences I have not had time to update this blog.  This will be brief.

NOTE:   It would also be helpful to read the previous posts on this blog if you have not done so before now.

For official long range forecasts, go to The Climate Prediction Center.

During the past 3 weeks the overall weather pattern has certainly been favorable to produce precipitation, finally!  As expected the pattern has evolved into one that provides opportunities for precipitation.  In addition, the pattern is NOT favorable for very hot days.  Yes, there have been a few 100 degree days but for the most part there has not been extreme heat.  Dodge City has failed to reach 100 this year and it appears that we will go through June without an occurrence.

Some areas of central and southwest Kansas have had in excess of 10 inches during the period!  There are large pasture ponds in parts of Clark, Kiowa, Clark, Ellis and Trego counties (as well as other central and eastern KS counties) that filled after having been dry or nearly dry for several years!

The U.S. Drought monitor shows the area has improved as far as drought is concerned (long term conditions) but there is a lot of improvement needed.

The outlook through the remainder of June is for a continued opportunity for rainfall, and in some cases excessive rains.  Temperatures will likely remain normal to below.  I doubt there will  be any 100 degree days although a few spots could top the century mark.  Looking into July, I expect there will be additional episodes of precipitation and cooler temperatures.  Overall, July may end up near to above normal on rainfall and temperatures will likely end up around normal.  This outlook will be reassessed next week (week of June 23).  One period I'm watching with interest is around July 4th, or at least that first week of July.  There are some early indications that it may turn much colder with ample precipitation then.  If that pans out, there may not be ANY 100 degree days at Dodge City for July!  I'll take a deeper look next week.

The Weather Prediction Center of the National Weather Service is calling for quite a bit of rain during the next 7 days, which I concur.  It looks like late Sunday into Monday (22nd and 23rd) there may very well be widespread 1 inch rains with isolated 3 or 4 inch amounts possible. This is contingent on the development and evolution of an  MCS (Mesoscale Convective System) but it is looking more and more likely.

Rainfall expected from June 21, 2014 through early June 28, 2014