Wednesday, June 28, 2017

How ironic - Updated 06/28/17

Moderate drought conditions have been creeping up on northern Missouri.  Here is the latest map for that area:

Then, the following is what is expected over the next 7 days.  Ha!  The heaviest rain is predicted to be in that same location!  This also happened in late April wiping out the drought in southern Missouri, Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma.  The only real area of concern is Montana and North Dakota.

So far, from what I posted on the 23rd (you can read it by clicking here) there really is no change.   I should have some time to go into more detail by the end of next week.  Hopefully most will get the wheat harvested by then. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Cooler-Hotter-Cooler-Hotter Update 6/23/17

After a brief warmup this week with upper 90s and a little over 100 (with wind), a significant cold front moved through this Friday morning.  Temperatures through the weekend will be some 15-25 degrees below normal!  The pattern that brought this cooler air also was responsible for the thunderstorms this week.  Quite unfortunately, the wind patterns from the surface to the higher levels were very conducive to produce supercell thunderstorms, capable of producing giant hail and wind.  There were good rains though, except that not all locations got wet.  Here is a map of rainfall during the past 7 days:

The best chance for thunderstorms with this current break in the heat will shift into southern Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma through this weekend.  But, then the pattern will shift north again bringing opportunities for thunderstorms into northeast Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska.  And then by the end of next week we're probably going to be back into the really hot air again.  There will be storm chances throughout the week, especially early but then shifting north with the heat.  Here is the precipitation outlook through early next Friday...

I still feel that the pattern won't get "stuck" going into much of July.  Meaning that the hot and dry will be offset by periods of cooler and chances for storms.  I'll try and get a little more detail later next week.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Summertime weather - Updated 06/19/17

As expected (or feared), the weather made a sudden change to a summertime pattern.  A huge upper level ridge/high has set up over the Four Corners region.  Unfortunately for much of the high plains, temperatures in the middle levels of the atmosphere have warmed enough to prevent much in the way of thunderstorms, at least widespread.  Now, what you see on the satellite image below, is actually a favorable pattern to get the North American Monsoon going (in 2-3 weeks).   This upper high (the big ol' ugly blue H) will meander back to the west or even south and southeast at times and will lose it's magnitude too at times.  What this results in is occasional northwest flow events allowing thunderstorm complexes to move into the high plains.  For the next several weeks there will be periods of "turning hot", brief cool downs (significant at times), dry stretches but intermixed with a few opportunities for thunderstorms.  At least it's NOT a "hot and dry for the foreseeable future".

Here is that satellite image:

We just went through one of the hot and dry periods, especially across parts of the panhandles, eastern Colorado and southwest Kansas.  Then one of those brief cool downs occurred yesterday and today.  The flow aloft will be conducive for a few thunderstorm complexes this week, especially during the evening and overnight hours as that high has shifted slightly west.  Unfortunately (or fortunately for those still cutting) not everyone will get much rain. 

The following map shows how much rain has fallen the past 14 days.  As you can see (or probably already know), many areas have received very little or nothing at all. 

Click for a larger version.

After hot temperatures, especially the last half of this week, the high will be suppressed and will shift southwest.  This will allow another cool down this weekend and into next week.  This next cool down will be even cooler than what came through yesterday and today.  That could favor better chances for rain across Texas and eastern New Mexico.  However, this time of year differences can occur easily with just minor changes in the flow (surface and aloft).

Here is the latest outlook from the Weather Prediction Center for the "average" amount of rainfall possible through this coming weekend.  Some will get more, some less (or much less):

  I'll try and update again by the end of the week.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Is the gravy train about to leave the area? Update 06/08/17

In the post I did on May 25th (you can read it here), I said...

"Now does this mean this wetness will continue?  Absolutely not!  The faucet could shut off at any time.  But, it's been my experience, and I've talked about it in this blog many times, that once it gets wet and green during the spring across the central plains, there can be a feedback into the atmosphere.  Initially we'll see that with lower daytime temperatures.  I'm going to be optimistic and go with overall above normal precipitation (some areas will be lower) into mid/late summer.  But, I still think there will be dry periods and during those dry periods there should be pretty hot temperatures, just not that long of periods."

It would appear that we are now (after this afternoon's rain) headed into one of the stretches of dry and hot weather.  The question that I'm starting to wrestle with is will the pattern trump the green and wet conditions and have frequent dry and hot periods?

First, here is a map of estimated rainfall during the past 14 days.  Some areas continued very wet (i.e., Ford County where Dodge City is located), while a few others have received below normal rainfall during this two week stretch.  Such is the case with warm season rainfall.

Incredibly, Dodge City is now WAY ahead of the pace to have a record wet year. But as I said, it could shut off at any time.  Is that time now? 

Looking at this mornings satellite image....

There was an anomalously strong upper system moving  into the western US., that will bring much colder weather to the west and then severe weather to the northern Rockies and northern Plains this weekend and into the first of the week.  But for the high plains the EML (Elevated Mixed Layer) will intensify and spread across the area.  This will likely result in temperatures aloft that will be far too warm to allow thunderstorms to occur across the high plains.  It will also result in much hotter temperatures.  As everything passes and digs into the eastern U.S., temperatures aloft "should" cool enough to allow a return of at least scattered thunderstorms by the end of next week.  Thus, it "should" be about a 7-8 day stretch of dry for the high plains.  

Beyond this pattern change and through the end of next week, things get a little fuzzy.  I see some signs of heading into an early summer pattern of hot and mostly dry.  But at the same time, there are still signs of occasional episodes of thunderstorm chances.  Again, once it gets green and wet, there is often feedback into the atmosphere.  But I have also seen patterns of rainfall just completely shut off.  I'm cautiously optimistic that there will still be enough chances for storms that it won't come to a screeching halt with heat getting out-of-control. 

BTW, here is a look at the U.S. drought monitor.  It's pretty impressive the amount of area that have seen a drought removal!  The northern plains (specifically North Dakota) should see some improvement over the next 7 to 10 days.

 ...and the possible precipitation through next Thursday (the precip over western KS was falling today - Thursday)...

 I'll try and post again around the 15th.