Friday, December 7, 2018

In the post I did a few days ago on the 4th (you can read that by clicking here), I discussed the upcoming weekend storm moving south of Kansas with the expected precipitation being just south of Kansas.  The storm this morning was near San Diego and that is denoted by the red L on the following satellite image...

In most winters storms in this vicinity moving towards the central U.S., they would benefit the local region with precipitation (whether that be liquid, freezing or frozen).  This particular storm has already brought copious amounts of rain and snow to California and good for them!  But as the storm continues to trek to the east and even southeast, it is also going through a weakening trend.  Regardless it will eventually produce a ton of rainfall across Texas and parts of Oklahoma.  It does appear that it will pass WAY south of the central U.S. and may even be so far south that the northern extent of precipitation may not even reach Oklahoma City!

So far this fall and early winter, the first part was very wet across the central part of the plains, centered on Kansas.  Later weather systems started trending north and impacted Nebraska, the midwest and eastern Kansas as we got deeper into fall.  Now with this weekend storm going so far south, there does seem to be a signal - a signal that I'm a little concerned about as far as future precipitation trends for the high plains, even going well into the growing season (including summer). I'm hoping this is just an adjustment period as the overall weather pattern (upper troughs and ridges) has been set for this next 10-11 months.

I'm not going to change my thoughts on near to below normal temperatures for the winter, nor will I waver from a normal to above normal precipitation outlook - at least just yet.  The change may be just temporary.

For the next couple of weeks it appears that weather systems may weaken as they approach the central U.S., but then intensify again just east of Kansas.   I'm still not seeing a signal for the brutally cold air, even though the Arctic Oscillation and MJO have been in a favorable phase.

Here is the precipitation outlook through the end of next week...


I'll try and update again in about a week.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Update - 12/4/18

The active pattern continues across the central U.S. but with locations being impacted the greatest shifting north and then south.  The post Thanksgiving "mini" blizzard on that following Sunday was tame compared to the storm that came through this past weekend (1st/2nd). That weather system produced copious amounts of rainfall across eastern Kansas and very heavy snow across Nebraska.  Based on soil moisture profiles, much of the eastern half of Kansas is fully saturated.  Only light amounts of moisture fell on the high plains.  Farther south and east there were two days of severe weather including tornadoes in Oklahoma and then especially Illinois.

In the previous post I had mentioned that weather systems so far this fall have been farther south and stronger than originally forecast.  Although this past system took a northern route, it was expected to do so.

This morning there was a dusting of snow across Kansas from just weak forcing aloft.  No biggie.

In the last post I did on the 26th, I pointed out a system way out in the Pacific near Guam.  That system is now going to be our next impacting storm.  However, this time it appears that it will take a southern track!  While it will be very wet across California and Arizona, the storm will be weakening as it moves east.  It will, however, be strong enough to pull copious amount of moisture northward as it moves into the southern plains.  Oklahoma and Texas and then eventually the gulf coast will most likely receive a lot of rain! On the northern fringes there will be ice and snow, but the details of areal extent are impossible to lay down at this point, since the system is still off the coast.  At this point the northern edge of the precipitation shield will likely be just south of Kansas.  But hold on!

On this mornings satellite image, the low shows up as the swirl in the moisture off the west coast...

Since the system is still off the coast, the exact track is still highly uncertain. Yes, there is still a chance it could move farther north.  The farther north the track, the farther north the precipitation.  In Kansas the temperature profile would support snow.   I might have a chance to throw out another post at the end of the week, but it's best to just follow the National Weather Service ( for details as we get closer to the weekend.

Even though temperatures have been below average for a while, there still isn't any indication of the brutally cold Arctic air that's been building.  With the sharp ridge aloft just off the west coast earlier this fall broken down, at least temporarily, it will be difficult to get the really cold stuff.  But that ridge will likely reform yet this month.

Back to that satellite image....there are two areas of flow aloft from the deep tropics across the Pacific near the equator.  In fact, there may be a tropical storm develop southeast of Hawaii!  On the 25th there was just one area of flow from the tropics.  I'll have to watch this because usually exciting things happen across the central U.S. with this tropical energy being transported into higher latitudes.  Regardless, this should keep an active pattern across the country.  For the high plains, it could be Oklahoma/Texas that are impacted the greatest, or it could shift north into Kansas and Nebraska, but not the Dakotas or upper midwest.  More in later posts.

BTW, here is the precipitation outlook from the Weather Prediction Center through next Tuesday the 11th.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Quick update - 11/26/18

Back on 11/12/18 in the previous post I did, I ended with:

"I would not be surprised to see something around Thanksgiving or shortly after."  

Obviously there was a pretty major blizzard across parts of the central U.S. and midwest yesterday.  That system intensified as it moved out of the Rockies and was a little farther south than what many forecasters (and computer forecast models) had predicted.  There has already been a half dozen systems or so this fall that have been stronger and farther south than what had been expected, and that just MIGHT BE the trend this winter.  

Since the previous post on the 12th, the flow aloft has changed, at least temporarily.   Back on the 12th there was a very amplified ridge aloft across the west coast and that has since broken down enough to allow flow aloft to enter the western U.S., bringing heavy snows to much of the Sierra Nevada range (and also to the central Rockies).  On the satellite image below....

The bright area across the bottom of the image circled by blue represents deep tropical moisture, most likely associated with the warmer than average sea surface temperatures (i.e., the developing El Nino).  There has been an atmospheric response/coupling from these warm waters in the form of a sub-tropical jet stream transporting energy and moisture north into the higher latitudes.   In addition, there is a pretty good upper low near Guam across the central equatorial Pacific.  That could be a player in the U.S. weather a little down the line.  There is also a deep and strong system across the Gulf Of Alaska. 

All told, the flow aloft will continue to be rather active for the next 10 to 14 days.  There should be several more impacting storms across the central U.S., but details of timing, intensity and location will be unknown until they develop and enter the continent.  The first may be as early as the end of this week and the following may occur towards the end of the weekend or first of the next week (Dec 2-5).  Brutal cold air is not showing up at the moment.  But there is a rather robust MJO developing and the impacts may be much colder air as we get into December.   More on that later.

I'll try to update again by the weekend.


Monday, November 12, 2018

Update 11/12/18

The post I did a week ago on the 5th, I discussed a developing system that was to bring some snow to the central part of the country.  There had been many shares of a viral post about 6 to 12 inches of snow expected.  As I have mentioned numerous times in this blog, often someone will post a map of computer generated snow or rain amounts (that usually changes dramatically every six hours).  If it's "exciting", the post will usually go viral as people just blindly post or share these maps without any thought to the validity.  I guess that goes for just about everything.  Shoot even this morning there is a viral post about a huge whitetail deer that was reportedly hit by a vehicle south of Dodge City over the weekend.  It was a picture of a deer that has been circulating the internet for THREE years!

Back to that first system that occurred mid-week.  As I mentioned in that post (you can read it by clicking here), I was expecting a very narrow band of heavier precipitation (snowfall) that could be from a lot to basically nothing!  There ended up being several narrow bands.  The heaviest near St. Francis in far northwest Kansas and around 5-6 inches in the flint hills of eastern Kansas.  Dodge City for instance only got 1/2 inch and areas west and southwest got nothing at all!

The weather system that occurred yesterday (Sunday) and overnight was much stronger and more capable of producing heavier snowfall than what it originally appeared.  At this time last week when I did that post, there was just a "hint" of something that looked like it would impact southeast Colorado and into eastern New Mexico and into parts of the panhandles for late in the weekend.   Since it ended up stronger and more functional, that just might be a sign of things to come for this winter and following spring. 

Looking at this mornings satellite, the system that brought the snow is the red X across eastern New Mexico....

On the satellite image, one very important feature is the blue squiggly line that stretches up into Alaska.  That represents a sharp ridge aloft.  It's in a perfect location to allow systems to amplify as they drop into the Rockies which can also bring major shots of cold air into the U.S..  This ridge won't be in that location ALL the time, but I have a hunch that it will be there at least in the background of the flow aloft, meaning there will be repeats throughout the winter. When this occurs again during the dead of the winter, I have pretty high confidence of below zero temperatures across the high plains several times this cold season.

Something else on the satellite image...there are three areas that winds aloft are moving from the deep tropics to higher latitudes (the green arrows from the bottom of the image to the top).  This will continue to be sources of forcing going into the spring.  More on that later....

For this week, temperatures will be moderated by the snow cover with highs generally below normal until mid-week.  Lows tonight should drop well into the single digits.  There is another hint of a minor system for the weekend.  Will it also be stronger than expected and produce more snow?  I'm not too confident of that, but additional cold air looks like a strong possibility.

Following that system this coming weekend, I'm not seeing much at the moment although I would not be surprised to see something around Thanksgiving or shortly after.  Regardless, much warmer weather does seem to be in the offing beginning next week. 

The overall pattern is still in a flux and not set yet as it continues to develop and get established.  At some point during the next 2 to 3 weeks there should be a southwest U.S. or southern Rockies storm.  I'll attempt to update again in about a week.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Short update - 11/5/18

The previous post I did on the 19th of October (if you haven't read it, please do so by clicking here), the satellite image I posted showed the state of the jetstream at that time.  Today, there are major differences.  Here is this afternoons look...

The biggest change is the very strong jetstream that is coming off the Gulf of Alaska and southeast towards the central plains.  Minor disturbances in this strong jet have brought a couple of small rain events to the central plains during the past 4 or 5 days.  It will also be contributing to a possible tornado outbreak across the southeast U.S. later this Monday evening.  The configuration has also allowed for a very cold airmass to build up across the higher latitudes of Canada.

The little red X across southern Alaska appears to be a signal for some amplification that will bring a swath of precipitation across the central U.S. late Wednesday into Thursday, and that would be in the form of snow.  For forecasting purposes, these type of dynamic weather producers get most of their forcing from the wind aloft.  Thus, they have very sharp gradients of nothing to potentially a lot of precipitation. In this case, you probably have already seen forecast graphics of snowfall - but everything I've seen is computer forecast generated.  The point with that is that every time the forecast output is run, the resultant precipitation is all over the board, i.e., the models can't be trusted for specific forecasts!   For the purpose of this blog, go to for the most up-to-date NWS forecast.

The configuration of the winds aloft will also contribute to much colder weather for a few days later this week.  If it continues in that configuration, there would also most likely be another very cold shot of cold air the following week.  In the blog I did on the 19th (see above link), I mentioned November being near to above normal on temperatures for the entire month (but that was with very low confidence).  These couple of cold shots (this and next week) will probably knock the average for the month down closer to normal. 

Other than the precipitation this Wed/Thu there is not a lot showing up afterwards, at least for the high plains, through mid-month.  The pattern is still evolving.  I still need time to identify the main areas of forcing of the pattern.  Another 2-3 weeks may be needed for that.

Friday, October 19, 2018

Update 10/19/2018

In the previous post I did on the 11th (read it by clicking here), the discussion was on the VERY wet period that was in the process of ending and the expected cold coming on the heals.  As most are aware, the cold behind the system was record setting at some location, but regardless was cold enough to do damage to some of the fall crops, most unfortunately.  I saw some readings down into the single digits, especially where there was decent snow cover.  The snow was not unexpected either as I did mention that too.  However, unexpectedly there was light rain yesterday and last night across much of the high plains.  This COULD be one of the signals I'll be looking for as I make the outlook going into the next growing season.  More on that later.

In the meantime, here is the latest satellite image....

There are a couple of interesting and possibly important features on this map.  First, as I mentioned the rain that fell yesterday and last night had been unexpected when I did the post on the 11th.  It was a weak feature that was "left over" from the pattern that brought the cold.  I did not foresee this moving into the plains and providing support for precipitation.  Presently there is another weak system (the X over central California).  It is another minor system that looks like it could provide support for a tad more rain next week for the high plains (around Tue/Wed or so).  This could be one of those signals for things to come this winter.  More on that later.

Also on the satellite image is the red x on the southeast (bottom right) side of the image above.  This is yet another tropical system in the Pacific that will impact Texas as it moves north and northeast as it weakens.  Wow this flooding across central Texas has been unreal and these additional system will extend and even worsen the flooding.   

Here is the precipitation outlook through the end of next week that is provided by the Weather Prediction Center....

Back to the satellite image, the jetstream (strong winds aloft) that extends from  the tropical pacific across Hawaii (green line on the bottom left) probably won't impact the plains yet, but it is also another signal I'll be watching for this winter.

I've had several ask about favorable field week going well into November (primarily to finish harvesting fall crops).   In general, it appears somewhat favorable going into the first week of November with just a few minor rain events (i.e., the one next Tue/Wed).  I don't expect warm and windy though at least through Halloween. I really don't have a good feeling for November but if I was to take a guess - I would go with normal to above normal temperatures on average and near to below normal on precipitation.  Again, just a wag.

The fall is one of the most difficult times to make an outlook as the new pattern is just now getting established, as I've discussed numerous times in this blog over the years.  It depends on where the forcing for the pattern is located and how much contribution each area is providing that is producing the pattern.  The very wet start to October; the record or near record cold;  the minor systems across the southern Rockies and Great basin;  the excessive rainfall in central Texas; the continued tropical systems moving north into the southern U.S.; the tropical jetstream that is moving out of the tropics and across Hawaii... - these are just SOME of the signals I'll be incorporating into an outlook going forward.  Other things will be considered too.  But what is causing those outcomes?  That is the six million dollar question that I'm trying to determine.

You may have seen the OFFICIAL outlook that was released by the Climate Prediction Center on Thursday the 19th.  I disagree with it!  What I really don't like is their message which is "A mild Winter is expected".  Mild to me implies warm with many days of golfing opportunities.  But mild for winter might really mean above normal temperatures compared to winter temperatures that are generally pretty cold.  Really to have a good idea, I would still need another 3-4 weeks to watch this new pattern unfold.

My initial gut feeling and thoughts is this winter should be much snowier (or maybe more freezing rain) with temperatures at or below normal.  I should say snowier from October 1 through April 30.  My best analog year I found is 2009/2010 (for various reasons). As time gets into November, I should have a much better idea so will fine tune (or completely throw out) that initial gut feeling.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Update - 10/11/18

In the quick post I did on Friday (read it by clicking here) I showed the map of potential rainfall from then until the end of this week.  All-in-all that was a pretty good outlook!.  The largest amount of measured rain was near Overland Park with 11.39" but there were many, many reports of 6 to 10 inches across much of Kansas, western and northwest Oklahoma and the Texas Panhandle!  The flooding that ensued was at major levels and there may end up being record marks reaches before all the water recedes.

Back on the 28th of September I mentioned a hard freeze by the middle of October.  There has already been some light freeze conditions in parts of western Kansas (and killing freeze in Nebraska) but the coldest with this current pattern is still a few days away - but get ready!

First, here is a map of rainfall from this wet period ending early this morning (11th)...(click for a larger map)

BTW, the rainfall at the Dodge City airport has already shattered the October record!  The previous wettest October at the airport was 5.00" in 2008 and at the office the total is already 5.95"!  Records go back to 1874!

Looking at the afternoon satellite image....

The flow aloft remains active!  There will be some overrunning of the cold air in place that will generate light rain tonight and for a while of Friday.  The on to the southwest....Hurricane Sergio was moving northeast towards northwest Mexico and the remnants will cross Oklahoma Friday night or Saturday.  More heavy rain is likely across that area.  At the same time, the red X (upper level system) that was approaching western Canada today will dive south into the Rockies over the weekend.  That will help tap into some really chilly air that will be delivered to the high plains late Sunday into Monday.  With the flow aloft, there will likely be a good deal of precipitation with the cold air - yes that means SNOW!  I won't give specifics in this posting as forecasting amounts will depend on exact placement of upper level dynamics.  But, it does appear likely that some areas of the high plains will receive more than six inches of snow!  One source you can check is  Replace the "ddc" with the NWS office that covers your area (ict, gld, ama, gid, etc.).

Temperatures will be falling most of Sunday and freezing conditions will have already overspread the high plains by nightfall Sunday.  Morning temperatures Monday will likely be down into the teens across the higher elevations of the high plains (i.e., near the Colorado border) with readings well into the 20s as far east as as Pratt and Medicine Lodge.

Here is the expected precipitation amounts through next Thursday (although the majority will fall before Tuesday)...

After mid-week, the pattern should start to shift a bit so that dryer and "warmer" weather will return and should start to dry things out, although that will take some time as it won't get that warm.   I hope to have some time by next week to go into detail of what to expect going into next Spring.  I'll need some quality time to get an idea.  That update will be coming soon.

Friday, October 5, 2018

Update 10/5/18

Unfortunately there has been no fee time and I've been on the road just about every day.  Just a very quick update for the upcoming wet period...

During the last few days, I'm sure most of you have see various maps that resemble this....

The map above is the outlook through next Friday the 13th from the Weather Prediction Center.  The amounts should not be taken literally but the area of maximum rainfall should be pretty close to the area that receives the heaviest rains over this next 7 day period.  Many areas in the heavier rain area will receive at least 5 inches during this period.  I won't be surprised at all to see observations of 10 inches for this 7 day period, somewhere within the orange/brown.  It won't come all at once but over the period of 3 or 4 systems.  But obviously this would be too much considering agriculture activities. The risk of flooding in many locations that had flooding back in early September is a real threat.

I'll do my best to update early next week.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Update 09/28/18

In the previous post I did on the 21st (you can read it by clicking here) I discussed it being dry from that point into early October but with perhaps a little bit of precipitation for the first part of this week.  It did rain but most areas got sprinkles and few about 0.05".  I also mentioned several strong frontal passages expected (and they have occurred) and the possibility of the first hard freeze for much of the northern plains and perhaps into the midwest for the period of Sept 28 (today) into the 2nd.  The front that swept into Kansas and Oklahoma this morning was the leading edge of pretty chilly air!  There was widespread low temperatures well into the 20s this morning across the northern plains.  Widespread frost and a light freeze will occur this Friday night/ Saturday morning that will extend into Iowa and Illinois (and a hard freeze into Minnesota).  For Kansas there should be enough cloud cover to prevent any frost - for this time.

The weather pattern for the fall and into next year is currently forming and is getting established. Later in October I'll try and identify some areas of forcing and will attempt to give a very early and preliminary outlook going into next growing season.  Look for this by mid-October.  I'm already seeing some significant changes across the eastern Pacific.  It will be interesting as this settles into the pattern here in a couple of weeks.

For this next seven days attention is drawn to a major hurricane across the eastern Pacific.  Looking at the satellite image from this afternoon....


Hurricane Rosa was very powerful and was moving straight north (thanks to those changes across the Pacific that I mentioned above).  The hurricane will weaken as it moves north (cooler waters) but the impacts will be felt across a large area of the southwest U.S. in the form of torrential rainfall.  The remnants will likely  move as far east as western Colorado.  There is a very small chance that it could move farther east which would impact the high plains (but not likely).  Regardless, several of those systems across the Pacific will eventually impact the central U.S. during the next 7 days or so.  Details are HIGHLY uncertain so the map of precipitation provided by the Weather Prediction Center going into the end of next week will likely change.  Here is that map with the current thinking....

I will do my best to give an update later next week.  I'm starting to see signs pointing to a major cold push (i.e. a hard freeze into at least Kansas) by mid-October.  Again, hopefully I can find a little free time to update later next week.


Friday, September 21, 2018

Update - 09/21/18

In the post I did on Monday the 17th (to read it click here) I discussed the tropical system that was expected to develop across the Baja area of California (more specifically the Gulf of Baja).  In that post was the map of potential rainfall during provided by the Weather Prediction Center.   Quote "Don't take values or maximum amounts literally.  This is just a first approximation.  The Baja system has not fully developed and the front has not made a move yet.  But, it appears very likely that widespread precipitation across the central plains will occur.  The question is exactly where and how much."

This this another example of the intricacies of weather and how predicting exact values even a few days out are nearly impossible.  Widespread precipitation did occur across the plains, BUT some areas got very little.  Plus, it ends up as just a one day event for many.  Here is a look at the rainfall during the 24 hour period ending this Friday morning (09/21) at 7 AM.

The majority of the very heavy rain has shifted quite a bit farther south than what originally appeared possible.  There are several reasons.  First the cold front was a bit stronger and thus ended up moving farther south.  Second, the tropical system did eventually develope as expected.  But the track of the system ended up a bit farther south too!  The result is that the heavy and widespread rains are expected to be centered over Oklahoma instead of north central Kansas as depicted in the early Monday post.    Details of exact tracks of systems (fronts, upper level disturbances, etc. will almost always be off to a degree - that is if they even develop).

Here is the afternoons satellite showing the position of the remnants of the Baja system and the brightness  over much of Oklahoma where the heaviest rains were occurring...


As of 420 PM Friday, there had already been nearly a foot of rain southeast of Norman, OK and it wasn't even close to being done!  Many areas of flooding were occurring.  THIS could have been farther west and north where many were drilling winter wheat or harvesting corn!  


Looking ahead another very small chance for precipitation is possible early next week (Tue/Wed) but odds are rather small.  

Here is the potential rainfall trough next week provided by the Weather Prediction Center...


In general, it should be dry into early October.  There are hints of several strong frontal passages late next week and into the following week (28th-02nd) which may bring the first hard freeze to much of the northern plains and perhaps midwest.  I won't be surprised if there is at least frost into northern Kansas on a few of those mornings.

The weather pattern for the fall and into next year is beginning to form and getting established during this next few weeks.  Later in October I'll try and identify some areas of forcing and will attempt to give a very early and preliminary outlook going into next growing season.  Look for this by mid-October.   I'll also try and get another post done sometime next week to update on the possible mid-week precip.

Monday, September 17, 2018

Update 09/17/18

Overdue posting of the High Plains Weather!  I got really busy this past few weeks and since this blog is done on my personal "free" time, I just got overwhelmed and unable to post anything.   The previous post on the 31st of August was during the middle of an unseasonably wet and cool period.  That ended, essentially, about a week ago on the 10th.  Many areas of plains received widespread precipitation but unfortunately many areas had way TOO much rain with many locations flooded.

The map of precipitation is not available and I don't have the resources at the moment to generate a map.

This past week and weekend got very warm and windy which is rather typical for the first half of September.    Many have asked if this was related to Hurricane Florence on the east coast and the short answer is NO!  Now that the Atlantic Basin is getting very quiet (tropical system wise), the forcing is transitioning to the Pacific side.  Most importantly for the plains is the gathering energy across the eastern Pacific and western Mexico.  It appears rather likely that a tropical system will develop near the Baja region.  At the same time there will be a series of upper level systems racing across the northern plains which will contribute to a cold front moving into the central plains by Wednesday night or Thursday.  On this afternoons satellite, those upper systems are denoted by the red X's across the Pacific NW.  The potential Baja system is the X and additional thunderstorms (white blobs to the right of the green jet stream) near the right hand corner of the image...

The impacts of the front moving into the plains and the approach of the tropical Baja system should result in widespread thunderstorms by the end of the week.  Those that are even close to drilling wheat (if it's dried out enough) may want to rethink that planting as some locations could get excessive rainfall and runoff/erosion.  Those that might be laying feed down - you might also want to reconsider until after the weekend.  Here is the latest thinking from the Weather Prediction Center....

Don't take values or maximum amounts literally.  This is just a first approximation.  The Baja system has not fully developed and the front has not made a move yet.  But, it appears very likely that widespread precipitation across the central plains will occur.  The question is exactly where and how much.

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

Friday, August 31, 2018

Update - 08/31/18

There is currently a LOT of tropical activity across the Pacific Ocean (entire basin) that shows no sign of letting up.  The Atlantic may have a period too of increased activity, at least for the first half of September.  Will any of this have an impact on the high plains?  It should, at least indirectly.

In the previous post I did on the 22nd (you can read that by clicking here) I was expecting the "gravy train" of widespread rainfall across the high plains to come to an end, at least temporarily and also to heat up.  After the abnormally cool period, temperatures did warm up significantly with several days of readings around 100 at spots.  Rainfall did occur but more scattered across the high plains.  It's interesting that the wettest area of western Kansas so far this year also got the majority of the latest heavy rainfall!   Here is the 7 day accumulation...

Some areas got pounded again with heavy rain but the areal coverage was small.  Much of the region got nothing at all or very little.  Here is the latest drought map that was generated earlier in the week (doesn't take into account late week rains across Iowa)...

Looking at this mornings satellite image....

There were two tropical systems moving towards Hawaii, again.  But just lake Hurricane Lane, they will encounter cooler water and should start to drift north or get shredded by winds aloft.  I don't see much impact to the U.S. mainland, at least at this point.  I will point out, however, that before Fall concludes there could be a threat to southern California.  It has happened before but it would be a rare occurrence.

More importantly is that red X (upper level disturbance) north of Reno Nevada.  It is headed southeast and will move across the plains later in the weekend.  That will combine with an increasing moist tropical fetch of moisture coming up from the Gulf of California.  The result will be several rounds of thunderstorms with excessive rainfall a possibility.  After that goes by there may continue to be a tropical fetch so additional chances will exist through that first full week of September.  For those with interests for the midwest/corn belt, the rainfall will likely be extreme producing widespread flooding!

Here is the outlook from the Weather Prediction Center through the end of next week.  Keep in mid that this is more of an average - some areas will get less, some more.  Also, at the time of this posting their latest outlook wasn't available.  I feel rains across western Kansas may be UNDER estimated in this outlook particular outlook. 

I'm still evaluating expected conditions for the remainder of September.  This upcoming wet period really wasn't showing itself a week ago.  IF the projected precipitation outlook verifies, that would have an impact going well into September as temperatures would be moderated from wet soils and also a continued "green" landscape.  I'll try and update next week.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Update - August 22, 2018

This post will have to be somewhat brief as my personal time has been limited lately....

Is the gravy train of rainfall about to come to an end, again?  Recently there has been enough flow aloft to carry thunderstorm clusters off the higher terrain into the western high plains.  Many areas of the high plains have benefited with substantial rainfall but unfortunately some areas with TOO MUCH rainfall!  Also, there were a few severe storms producing very large hail (over 3 inch diameter) but from accounts I found the larger stones were few and far between.  The torrential rain may have been detrimental at some locations.

Over the past 2 weeks, here is an estimate of rainfall across the plains....

As mentioned at the start, some locations had too much rain!  There have been a couple of systems that brought 4 to 6 inches on several occasions.  But, there were also locations that didn't receive that much during this 14 day period, especially across northwest Kansas and far SW Kansas and parts of the panhandles.

The current system (Wednesday/Wednesday night) will bring more thunderstorms but not all areas will benefit.  After this goes by, there will be a drying trend AND warming trend!  Temperatures by the end of the week and through the weekend will be back to normal.

Here was the latest satellite image....

The system (the red L) across Idaho will weaken as it moves into the northern plains.  More importantly is the fetch of tropical moisture from the tropical eastern Pacific ocean that stretches into the inter-mountain west that will likely get cut off for a while, at least into the central plains.  Here is the outlook from the Weather Prediction Center through next Wednesday the 29th....

There may still be scattered thunderstorms during the end of the current week and into next week, but the coverage will be limited even though temperatures will be heating up.

As we get into September, it is one of the most difficult months to forecast for as far as a long range forecast.  The pattern that gets established during the fall (usually late September and early October) will continue in some similar fashion into the following spring and summer and dies out during the following September.  The current pattern of circulation across the globe that got it's start last fall, is waning.  I believe the pattern is starting to transition into the "new" circulation (part old, part new).

Currently what will throw a monkey wrench into the flow aloft is all the typhoon activity across the western Pacific that has been going on for well over a week and now the eastern Pacific tropical activity, i.e., Hurricane Lane and potentially additional tropical activity developing.  I'll have to watch this and give an update on what to expect as we transition into September.  Will it be hot and dry in September?  Possibly but confidence is low.  I'll try and update later next week and give more insight into September and beyond.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Update - 08/10/2018

In the previous post on July 30th, (read that by clicking here) I discussed coming out of the very wet period across the high plains, especially for eastern Colorado and western Kansas.  I suspected that things would dry out considerably through mid-month except for the far western high plains that would still be under the influence of the North American Monsoon.  Looking at the precipitation for this past 7 days it's pretty obvious that it did NOT dry out that much.  Well, except for my hacienda which is smack dab in the middle of the driest part of SW KS!  You would think I would have more control than that! :-)

With the latest episodes of precipitation, there continues to be a bit more improvement on the long term drought conditions across much of the high plains.  The Flint Hills region continues to suffer.

Looking at this afternoons satellite's busy!

The upper high across the Rockies has become very strong and has shut off most of the North American Monsoon, or at least tempered it a little.  There was also a very vigorous upper low approaching the far Pacific Northwest.  There may be some wave energy propagation going on based on what is expected with the little itty bitty X over northeast Kansas.  That feature is expected to move south during the weekend and will interact with lots of thunderstorms developing across north and west Texas.  If all things work out, that little system should gain strength as the result of a lot of latent heat release from the storms.  It appears almost certain that this will occur.  However, what happens next is in question.

Since the steering flow aloft is chaotic and very weak, the movement of that eventual system is very much uncertain.  It "should" drift north late Sunday into mid-week next week.  It will likely move randomly as addition thunderstorms develop every day.  Where it ends up will determine eventual amounts of rainfalls and location of the heaviest.  The margin of error will be huge!  Here is the outlook from the Weather Prediction Center for the next 7 days with the majority of what you see across Kansas and Oklahoma falling by mid week.

Don't count on specific values at this point but the message is clear - there should be a really good chance for beneficial rains across southern Kansas into Oklahoma and central Texas. It "could" be a little farther north and west - it just depends on that eventual track.  Which means?  Yes, it "could" be farther south and east and much of the high plains gets nothing.  Bottom line - check with local forecasts for your area (preferably the NWS).

I did a presentation yesterday at the Kansas Grazing Lands Coalition Range School and one of the things I discussed was the Madden Julian Oscillation.  An outlook or prediction I can make going into September is based off of the MJO.  The following graph shows where the MJO has been and what is expected moving forward.

The current MJO, which was unseasonably strong for a July event, is currently decaying rapidly as it quickly moves into the southern Hemisphere.  The remnants may regenerate across Africa and the western Hemisphere by the last week of August. The prediction is rather convincing for this to happen, at least it should form into another MJO event, just maybe not that strong.   The impacts on the United States often mirrors what has happened during past events.  A composite of MJO sensible weather that occurred in the past during August/September can be seen on the following charts - first for temperatures...

and for precipitation....

The charts increase confidence that the northern plains will be heating up and remaining mostly dry for probably the balance of August.  For the high plains, this increases confidence that temperatures should remain around to perhaps below normal going into the last of August.  As far as precipitation, the end of August into the first week of September may see increased odds for additional rainfall.  Confidence is not extremely high, I would just be leaning in that direction.   Of course, this all hinges on IF the MJO can get going again and there is not other atmosphere forcings that counter the MJO.

More on this in the next post which I hope to do later next week.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Update - 07/30/18

As advertised, the cool down and increase in precipitation persisted during the past week or so.  But, that may be it for a while (other than precipitation this afternoon and evening moving south through Kansas).  The MJO that I talked about in the past few posts continued to propagate through phase 6 and into 7 but was weakening pretty rapidly.  Thus, any influences from the MJO will be minimal as it decays.

This past 7 days have been pretty wet for many areas!  Here is a map of estimated rainfall for this past week ending this morning (7/30)....(click for larger version)

The latest drought monitor does NOT include this precipitation so the map that comes out this Thursday will look different for much of Kansas.  But as of last Thursday, this is what it had...

Looking at this late mornings satellite image....

The upper ridge has retrograded (moved west) and has amplified which will allow the weak system moving south through northeast Kansas to carve out a trough in the east.  Flow across the high plains will be north to south which will essentially shut off the rain for a while.  But, it will also allow pretty chilly temperatures tonight and Tuesday.  In fact, I wouldn't be surprised to see a couple of record low temperatures Tuesday morning. 

The pattern will return to a typical summer flow regime for at least the first 10 days of August.  Wet soils across much of Nebraska, eastern Colorado and Kansas will moderate day time temperatures though.  Readings by the end of the week will be in the low to maybe mid 90s but I don't see the scorching temperatures.  There might be a few around 100 by the 10th or so.

As far as rainfall, for much of the high plains there will be none to very little through the middle part of August.  I suppose there could be a surprise in there for a day or two, but in general I don't see much so it will be drying out.  The return of the North American Monsoon will bring more rains to the Rockies and adjacent eastern plains. Here is the latest outlook from the Weather Prediction Center....

By mid-month, I suspect there might be at least a brief change back to better chances across the high plains, but more on that in the next post.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Update - July 20, 2018

The summer pattern has a little twist in it!  The flow aloft across the northern parts of the high plains and into the midwest is stronger than what is typical.  That helped to produce the tornado outbreak across Iowa yesterday.  The extremely sad even that occurred on Table Rock in Missouri was also enhanced a bit by this stronger flow. 

Speaking of the tragedy at the resort in southwest Missouri...  As a professional Meteorologist now for 35 years - what happened yesterday evening, it just absolutely disgusts me and sickens me.  That should have NEVER have happened!  There was an extreme amount of discussion about those storms even as early as Thursday morning as they were moving through north central Kansas. A severe thunderstorm watch discussing high winds was issued well ahead of the tragedy.  The severe thunderstorm warning was issued more than 30 minutes before the event unfolded highlighting high winds as the storms moved southeast at more than 40 MPH!  Those that say it was a freak storm, or there was little warning, or it blew up out of now where.   Complete garbage!  Every thing was done right EXCEPT the reaction or lack of action of individuals.  No one should have been on the water! There should NOT be 17 dead from this disaster. Ugh.

Back to the high plains weather.  In the previous post I did on the 13th (ready that by clicking here), I ended with the discussion (that I started with the post before that on July 6th) about the cool down expected going into August. I've been watching the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) that was headed into a phase space that should bring cooler weather for the last 10 days of July and going into August. 

First, there continues to be episodes of storms across parts of the high plains (but not everywhere).  The rainfall the past week is estimated in this map....

Early this afternoon the satellite image showed deep tropical flow continuing to move out of the deep tropics into the inter mountain west.  

As a fairly strong system (the red L up across southwest Canada) moves southeast, it should drag cooler air into the high plains by the end of the weekend and continuing into next week.  This should also increase the likelihood of precipitation.  Here is the potential during the next 7 days ending next Friday July 27....

So, I do believe the MJO phase position is responsible for not only the deep flow from the tropics, but also the rather strong system dropping out of Canada that will bring the "cooler", or at least below normal temperatures, next week.  Going into August there will still be very warm days (I don't think 100s) but at on average readings will likely be below normal, especially for areas of northern Kansas and Nebraska. 

I won't be around data for the next week so it will likely be July 27 or later before I can update again.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Summer Pattern - updated 07/13/18

In the post I did on the 6th (you can read that by clicking here), I discussed the temporary end to the generous rainfall that had occurred during the "reprieve" but also hinted that it could come back after 7 days or so.  At this point, the pattern aloft is very summer-like, which is not surprising since, well it's summer!  The pattern does look to shift again in that there will be at least a slight increase in precipitation chances.  More importantly might be a "cool down" for a few days, starting especially next week.  Here is the satellite image from this morning...

There are all kinds of disturbances aloft (the red X's) but the flow is very chaotic across the northern hemisphere, again typical for summer.  More importantly might be a brief return of northwest flow aloft across the high plains.  During this next 5 to 7 days there will be an increased chance for rainfall across the high plains. Not all days will have precip and not all locations will get that much, but some areas will see beneficial amounts.  Temperatures by the middle part of next week may be in the 80s during the day time, depending on the amount of cloud cover and that will be the best opportunity for showers and storms.  Regardless, no 100's or windy heat is expected during that period.  Here is the outlook for precipitation amounts from the Weather Prediction Center through the end of next week...

This is just an average.  Some will get more, some will get less.  Hey that looks good across much of the corn belt!

In the previous post I did on the 6th I mentioned the large amounts of rainfall in the Hill City area.  Here is a map (parts of Kansas) showing how much has fallen since April 14th (90 days).

Of note is the red areas where rainfall was over 20 inches during the period!  That is ridiculous!  But just as ridiculous is that not far away amounts were significantly different.  In only a 15 mile stretch amounts differed by well over a foot!  Here is a close-up....

The drought has subsided in the areas that have seen the beneficial rains but where areas have missed out the drought has expanded or gotten worse.  Here is that map.

Late into the summer....

In that previous post I said "and then I kinda think August might be a decent precipitation month but more on that later (I have just a small hunch)."  One of the indicators I've been watching for a few weeks is the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO) which is actually robust for July!  It looks like it is headed into phase space six, which would favor below normal temperatures and above normal precipitation (averaged over a 2-3 week period) across the northern and central parts of the county.  It should be reaching that phase by the last week to 10 days of this month.  I couldn't find many years in observation history that had a decent MJO during July that moved into phase 6.  Two years that it did (1996 and 1989) had much below normal temperatures and well above normal precipitation in late July and well into August, at least for Dodge City.  Could that happen again this year?  I see it as a possibility.  I'll try and update that prospect later next week.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Update - 07/06/18

If you've been curious why this blog hasn't been updated in a while....I've been sicker than a dog!  I got bit by a brown recluse around June 10 and then got a systematic secondary infection from that bite and it's been a whirlwind of visits to the ER and doctors.  I still feel like crap but I have just enough energy for a short update.

Back on the 15th in that post (read it by clicking here) I discussed the reprieve in the weather that was expected.  Although I don't have a precipitation map since the 15th, for the past 14 days (June 21 through 7 AM this July 6) there have been very beneficial rains and in some cases excessive rain!  Some areas though still were running a little short during that period.  Here is that map...

I'll discuss more in detail in a later post about some of the rains that have accumulated since May 1 (hint - look at that pink area during the past 14 days near Hill City).

The rains have certainly helped in the drought in some areas - but not all as some locations still are missing out on the heavier amounts.  Here is the latest map...

The reprieve is ending at least temporarily, although I don't see the really excessive heat for at least 7 days.  A big upper ridge has been retrograding and will suppress widespread precipitation for a while. 

The North American Monsoon should help to bring additional precipitation later in the month (it will temporarily shift way west) - and then I kinda think August might be a decent precipitation month but more on that later (I have just a small hunch).

Here is the outlook from the Weather Prediction Center through the end of next week.

I hope to update again next week - barring any more spider bites and infection!