Friday, March 25, 2016

Update 03/25/16

In the last post I did on Monday, the post title mentioned discouragement.  You can read it here.

Every day into the spring that the pattern doesn't "behave" as expected, I'm getting just a bit more discouraged and pessimistic.  Ugh.

After the monster fire that engulfed over 400,000 acres this past few days from northern Oklahoma into south central Kansas, we could really use some moisture!  There are a couple of weak systems that "should" be strong enough to bring some.  The Weather Predicition Center offers this solution for precipitation through the end of the month.

I really don't like that much of the high plains is going to get missed again.  Yes, some spots will receive some beneficial moisture but it's not enough!  Then, there will be big upper level storm develop across the western U.S. next week. BUT, it will likely weaken as it moves into the plains.  The result, will be much warmer weather, but a lot of wind too.  Unfortunately the majority of the precipitation will occur across the eastern plains with that system.  I'm afraid that there will be a few days again of very critical fire weather conditions.

As we go another day without much precipitation, the "D" word is creeping back into the picture.  Here is the latest drought monitor assessment:

BTW, in that previous post I discussed the cold that had occurred over the weekend.  K-State put out a nice article (Google it on-line for e-updates from Kansas State) that had a few temperature maps from the mesonet stations. 


With a very full schedule, I may not get this blog updated until later next week or weekend, but I'll try.  By then, I hope I see favorable changes in the pattern (for a wetter spring).

Monday, March 21, 2016

Getting discouraged - Update 03/21/16

In the previous posting (read it here) I discussed the cold and how much colder it was going to get over the weekend.  I cannot find the map I saved, but there were numerous low temperatures Sunday morning in the single digits and low teens across the plains.  The budding and blooming trees took a big hit, but I don't believe an assessment can be made on the winter wheat for another few days.  With the unseasonably warm weather expected Monday and Tuesday, followed by another blast of cold weather, it can't be good.

In the headline...."Getting discouraged".  Why?  Another strong system will move into the plains late Wednesday and into Thursday.  This storm will have enough cold air to produce heavy snow and blizzard conditions from northeast Colorado into the midwest and Great Lakes.  It is taking a very similar path that the January storm did, almost exactly!

In the posts I've been doing since December, I had high hopes of normal to above normal precipitation for the spring (March, April and May).  However, every day the pattern doesn't respond in the way I was anticipating, I'm slowly getting more concerned the outlook may have been too optimistic.   It's way early, so I won't throw in the towel yet.  I'll try an update later this week.  This is my busiest time of the year and free time to do this blog is very tight.

In the meantime, here is an outlook of precipitation for this week and into Easter Sunday.  Good for much of the corn belt anyway!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Bad News, Bad News, Good News, Bad News? - Updated 03/17/16

In the last post I did on the 10th I discussed the possibility of freezing temperatures (without even looking at much weather).  It is so early!  It didn't take much of a cold airmass to deliver the bad news.  This morning the mercury dropped down into the teens at some locations in Kansas.  Some 20s were noted in the panhandles too. Click on the map for a larger version...

I'm assuming it was cold enough and the wheat far enough along across southwest Kansas that there was probably some damage this morning.  That was the first bad news.  The second...perhaps even colder over a larger area by Saturday morning.  Yep, it's early in the spring and this should be expected anyway. 

The good news?  On this mornings satellite image, there was a disturbance across northern Idaho that will race southeast and will provide enough lift and energy to bring a swath of rain (but snow too) across parts of the plains.  But only a small area will receive the beneficial moisture.


The expected precipitation amounts (or I should say the potential amounts - including melted down snow)...

The 3rd bad news?  Going back to the satellite...the jet stream is really screwed up!  That east to west flow across the Great Lakes and into central Canada is pretty unusual.  I'm going to have to have some time to interrogate the pattern across the Northern Hemisphere.  It is NOT what I was expecting.  I originally thought March could end up wetter than normal.  But, I'm NOT liking the trend I'm seeing, even into April.

I hope to update by Sunday or next Monday...

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Update - finally - March 10, 2016

If you frequent this blog, I'm sorry that I haven't been able to keep up with it.  I've had personal issues that have prevented me from updating this, or even looking at much weather.  It's been a stressful several weeks.

In the last update I did on February 27 (click here), I discussed the blocking located off the southwest U.S.  that had been occurring all fall and winter.  In fact go all the way back to late summer and you will see that I had a concern about the warm waters off the SW coast that might prevent California from getting the catastrophic flooding that everyone was predicting.

About mid-December the pattern across the US shifted east and essentially cut off the precipitation for the plains.  Based on atmospheric forcing (much of that was across the north Pacific) and other indicators, I was NOT expecting the sudden shift!  Thus, I had a really bad forecast for much of the late winter.  My confidence in the pattern was shaken and it still remains "up-in-the-air".

Looking at the current situation...

Again, I have not looked at much during the past few weeks, but based on a lot of the forecasts and computer models there should have been a pretty good chance for rain across much of the plains, especially the south plains.  The upper level low and upper level jet stream configuration did develop but became MUCH more amplified and pretty much took the plains out of the game, for now.

Looking at the satellite from this morning...


That upper level low?  All the south into central Mexico!  This is unreal!!!!  There has been a lot of snow, especially in the higher elevations. I bet by the time this moves out there will be all-time record amounts of March snow in that part of the area.  Absolutely crazy!  With the low being this far south, it has kept the rainfall out of the plains.  The lower Mississippi Valley, however, has been pounded.  Look at how much has fallen in the past 7 days (look at the scale on the right)....

BTW, the amounts in Mexico are not accurate on this map, so disregard anything south of the Rio Grande.

Also on the satellite map you may notice the jet stream (the green lines) way up north.  That has prevented and continues to prevent cold air from invading the plains.  That is a GOOD thing, right!  Which brings us to the question, "is it going to get cold again".  I hear that the wheat has jointed as far north as the OK/KS border (at least in some fields).  It's only March 10 and the average date of the last spring freeze is well into April.  Without looking at much weather lately, I really think that temperatures well into the 20s (as far south as perhaps the TX Panhandle) are pretty likely.  Unfortunately, that might not occur for another several weeks.  Not good.

I'll take a closer look as I get a chance and update this blog sometime this weekend or first of the week.

In the meantime, the upper low in Mexico should (emphasizing should)  move back into south or central Texas by the weekend.  Rainfall will be limited northwest and west of the track, but it appears more heavy rain is expected across areas that have already received copious amounts. Unfortunately the high plains will probably receive a little or maybe even nothing.

Again, I'll try and update by the end of the weekend or first of next week.