Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Quick update - 04/28/15

The post I did on Sunday (click here) I showed a satellite image of a large upper low that was expected to bring heavy rains to Texas Panhandle, western Oklahoma and north Texas.  Most of Kansas was going to miss out on the bigger rains.

That upper low has made slow progress to the east.  Currently this afternoon it was located across southeast Oklahoma.

The weather system did indeed bring widespread and soaking rains to much of the drought stricken southern plains.  There was even decent rainfall that fell across the southern row of counties in Kansas.

Click on the map for a larger version...

It appears we're going to go through a dry and warming trend the remainder of the week.  There will be increasing chances for precipitation later in the weekend and especially next week.  In fact, next week may get rather stormy at times.  More on that later....

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Update 4/26/15

Just a quick update....

The system that went through on Friday afternoon and evening brought some spotty heavy rain but for the most part a large chunk of the area missed out on significant rainfall.  This seems to have been a theme lately.  The following map is 24 hour rainfall ending Saturday morning.  Click for a large version.

As expected, a strong upper low has intensified over southern New Mexico.  In most cases, this position for this time of year would bring widespread rain and thunderstorms to the central and southern plains.  However, this time it appears that numerous storms developing across northwest Texas will force the heavy rains to the south (due to latent heat releases).  As a result, much of Kansas and Nebraska will miss out entirely!  The northern gradient of precipitation will be very tight.  In other words, there will be a huge different in amounts as you go south to north.

The current satellite image...

The expected rainfall will certainly help the Texas panhandle into western Oklahoma and north Texas with improving the drought conditions.

  Beyond this system that should be moving out on Monday, it  appears that it will get warm and dry towards the middle part of the week and this will extend into next weekend.    This will NOT be good news for those that have missed out on the precipitation so far this spring.  However, it does appear that we'll be heading into a wetter regime in 7 to 10 days.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Update - April 23, 2015

The last freeze over the weekend was not quite as harsh as the one earlier in the month but I did see a few spots dip into the middle 20s.  I have not seen any crop report on the amount of freeze damage.
At some locations it may not matter as it is becoming apparent that some locations have been too dry to sustain a good stand.  The following map is the amount of precipitation that has fallen since April 1st. (click for a larger version)

 It is very discouraging to see the dry areas so close to areas with decent rainfall.  The heaviest amounts during this 3 week period were in central Kansas across parts of Stafford county where over 12 inches was observed during this time.  Also, there was a very wet area across west central Oklahoma with amounts in excess of 12 inches there too!

Looking at the latest drought monitor for the country....
one of the hardest hit areas of the drought received quite a bit of rain, thus the improvement.  But those that have so dry have seen the drought intensify again.

A closer look....

and the weekly change...

Attention turns to the next weather maker, a fairly strong upper level storm across western Arizona. Take a look at the satellite...

Normally this time of year with the low in this position and with a tropical feed of moisture coming up out of Mexico, this would be the recipe for widespread thunderstorms with heavy rainfall.  But, amazingly the atmosphere is NOT primed as several cold intrusions during the month of April have wiped out a lot of gulf of Mexico moisture (the cold phase that I talked about in previous posts).

However, there should still be precipitation, just not quite as widespread as we normally would see.  Plus the system coming out of the southwest U.S. will be in a decaying stage, in part due to the wind flow aloft across the higher latitudes of North America.  There was another low/system over the gulf of Alaska that will be diving southeast and will bring addition rains late Sunday and Monday.The Weather Prediction Center offers the following forecast of precipitation through Tuesday night.

It appears that we should be past the date for a widespread killing freeze.  Later next week there could be a morning or two by mid-week where the mercury will fall into the 30s, especially across the high plains.  A warming trend will commence beyond the middle of next week and persist into May.

Finally, just as a teaser, the Climate Prediction Center has released their drought outlook into the deep of summer.  I'll discuss the prospects for moisture for the remainder of the spring and summer in a post I hope to do next week.  In the meantime, here is the outlook from Climate Prediction Center...

Friday, April 17, 2015

Update - April 17, 2015

I soon will be back in the office more frequently and can post more often.  As it is, I'm trying to get caught up from several months of being on the road doing presentations.

In the last post I did on the 10th (click here) I posted a map of the freezing temperatures.  Did anyone notice freeze damage to the wheat?  I also mentioned that there would likely be another freeze across parts of the plains.  That still appears to be a possibility.


The following satellite image shows a huge upper low over Colorado and New Mexico which as brought copious amounts of snow to Colorado and has helped produce heavy rains across parts of Kansas and Oklahoma.

Current snowfall at Monarch Pass,Colorado

Rainfall during the past 48 hours ending early Friday morning (click for a larger version)

And the expected rainfall/precipitation during the next 7 days as provided by the Weather Prediction Center

Although I don't have to provide details, it appears this following week will be unsettled with several strong cold fronts and addition opportunities for some moisture. A freeze is fairly likely later in the week, especially across the western high plains.  I'll try and update the freeze possibility on Monday.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Quick update on the widespread freeze (04/10/15)

On Wednesday (8th) I posted a map from the National Weather Service for expected low temperatures that was valid for this morning.  Unfortunately in that agency they have been gradually moving away from true forecasting (beyond the first 24 hours) to more of a collaborative effort with neighboring forecast offices.  The intent was to make images that appear seamless between offices.  Many of the forecasters now just load model data and blend the results.  So, because of that philosophy, the 48 hour forecast for this morning, in my opinion, was a HUGE bust!  Go back on that post and compare the NWS forecast map to what actually happened this morning. (click for a large version of the map).

There was an AG report that was issued by Kansas State about the amount of damage that was done to wheat with the cold that occurred on the 3rd and 4th.  Based on that report, I would suspect that the widespread cold this morning caused further damage to the wheat.  I guess time will tell though.

Also, as I mentioned in the blog post on the 8th, this will not be the last cold of the spring.  But at least growth should slow down a bit as we go through an overall cooling trend.

I hope to provide an update around next Wednesday.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Still expecting more cold - and moisture! Updated 04/08/15

Way back in January and also in early February I had discussed here on this blog site, and at a conference of Crop Consultants in Wichita, about a warm spell expected late March into early April.  My concern was rapid wheat growth to a point where a freeze later in April could be harmful.  I have not checked any AG sight, but I would assume that some of the wheat, especially across southern Kansas and points south, has already jointed.

Although there were just a few brief cool spells lately (with freezing temperatures this past Saturday), the warmth has returned.  However, I'm still expecting several more cold shots.  The first will likely be this Friday morning (see map below) and others will follow into the third week of April.

Low temperatures forecast Friday morning by the National Weather Service....

Keep in mind that the average date of the last freezing temperature is still some time away so this is not unusual at all!

Average date of the last spring freeze....

The pattern

Looking at the late Wednesday afternoon satellite image, there are several interesting systems that will impact much of the area.

First, the upper level low over western Wyoming was ejecting into the plains Wednesday afternoon.  The associated jet stream and surface features were expected to bring severe weather to much of the southern plains and into Missouri.  The threat of large and long tracked tornadoes will exist with this system.   Check with the local NWS offices in your area or the Storm Prediction Center for details.  The link for SPC is: http://www.spc.noaa.gov/products/

However, much of the high plains will be left dry by this system, except for areas of Nebraska and Wyoming.

But, hope is on the way!  There are two more systems that will bring precipitation to the plains over the weekend and then again next week.  See the map above.  Details are uncertain, but the Weather Prediction Center offers the following outlook valid through the middle part of next week.

Beyond next week the Pacific is getting active enough that additional precipitation opportunities (on a periodic basis) will start to become greater as we get into late April and May.  There are some indications that much above normal precipitation is possible, especially for May.

The Cold

The pattern has entered into the cold phase of the pattern, but this April version of the pattern has not been that cold as far as deviations below normal.  I think from the 13th through the 22th will be very vulnerable for a hard freeze.  Beyond that date, I think we will be home free.  I'll update more on the cold as I get a chance.

Friday, April 3, 2015

It snowed! Update 04/03/15

I apologize that I cannot write a detailed blog this week as I've been on the road every day doing presentations on severe weather.  Next week, however, I will have time to do detailed assessment of what has been going on and what will happen this month and into the summer.

By the way, it snowed last night across northwest Kansas and northeast Colorado behind a small complex of severe thunderstorms that produced a LOT of wind damage! Several inches were reported in the Goodland area.

If you go back and check earlier posts, I discussed cold returning around the 4th of April and staying in a cold pattern for 2 to 3 weeks.  Although this is only a very brief visit of colder weather (April standards), more is on the way.

So, I will discuss that cold along with prospects for moisture when I do the blog next week (hopefully Monday).  Stay tuned....