Friday, May 25, 2018

Update 05/25/18

The atmosphere is trying!  At least during this past 7 days there has been an increase in precipitation spatially and more occurrences.  Impressive rains fell across eastern New Mexico and the northwest Texas Panhandle.  But wow some areas that have missed out continue to miss on the bigger rains!  Here is a map of the past 7 days....notice the pockets of very little rain during this period:

Again, some of the areas that have missed out (like Amarillo and northwest of Liberal) continue to miss.  You would think that eventually law of averages would prevail.  But, this atmospheric flow that is in place is NOT typical for May.

Here is the satellite image from this Friday morning....


The flow across the central U.S. is very weak for this time of year.  Yet, there have been a few disturbances that have moved through that have brought almost daily thunderstorms in the region.  That will briefly change for a couple of days but then attention turns to the upper low (the red L) and trough across the far western U.S..  This system should gradually transition to the east during the next 5 days, but will also be weakening as it does.  However, there should be enough flow aloft to bring a chance for more organized severe weather to the high plains - maybe as early as Sunday evening, but more likely next week.   Here is the outlook for precipitation through next Thursday:

BTW, look at all that rain for the southeast!  This will be from (mostly) tropical system  Alberto, which may make hurricane strength before making landfall.

Temperatures will continue on the very warm to hot side (hottest will be this weekend and then late next week).  This month will go down in the record books at many locations as being the warmest May on record (and this right after one of the coldest Aprils on record)! 

Later next week I'll refine the rain and temperature outlook for June through the end of the summer for the high plains. 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Update - 05/18/18

This past week has seen several episodes of thunderstorms - some of which have unfortunately brought destructive hail and wind.  The event unfolding today (Friday) and what is expected in parts of the area Saturday may be the last for at least 2 or 3 days.

So far the atmosphere this month has not been too kind in producing widespread substantial rainfall as the boundary layer moisture from the gulf has been marginal to OK but the temperatures aloft have been a little on the warm side.  Here is the rainfall during the past 7 days ending this morning....

Precipitation totals the past 30 days sure shows pretty much the same area of dryness that has persisted since the fall....

The system moving into the central plains today and this weekend will help generate more hail and wind but also rainfall that should be more widespread than recently.  Additional chances will exist later next week too, which is obviously good.  Here is the outlook through next Friday (including rain from tonight)...

That area across west Texas and parts of the Texas Panhandle looks intriguing.  That might be related to the sub-tropical jet that I discussed a couple of months ago.  I'll keep watching that for signs of helping the rest of the high plains.

As far as easing the drought, not so much, at least yet.  Here is the latest drought monitor for the country....

Looking at the satellite image, the flow aloft (jetstream) is really disorganized in general (at least for May standards). 

That might also be a reason for substantial rainfall that has not been necessarily widespread.  One good thing I guess is there has not been exceedingly hot temperatures (upper 90s into the 100s) as one might expect with dryness overall. 

I'm still seeing just a small glimmer of hope that overall wetness may increase in June.  But there is still nagging signs that overall precipitation will remain generally less than normal.  I've had occasional thoughts of a 2011 summer.  I'm not calling that yet, but if things don't turnaround a bit by early June then it's something to consider.  More later....

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Update - 05/10/18

Well at least some areas got lucky with decent precipitation!  A relatively weak system moving out of Wyoming with somewhat marginal boundary layer moisture was able to produce a Mesoscale Convective System (MCS) Wednesday evening.  A swath of 1/2 to 1 inch of rain was observed with even a few spots getting around 1 1/2 inches!  Wow that is welcome news that a weak system could produce that!  Here is a map of the rainfall...

Does this mean that this type of occurrence will continue?  Unfortunately no.  Another similar setup is present today (Thursday) but now the atmosphere will be fighting warming air aloft (the dreaded cap) which will make it more difficult (not impossible) to produce widespread precipitation, at least in the short term.

Looking at a recent satellite image, the jetstream is relatively weak (especially for May standards) across the plains.  This may actually be a good thing.  That marginal boundary layer moisture mentioned above will gradually increase.  As long as it doesn't get swept way south and east again, then the continued chances for additional rainfall should exist, at least on a scattered basis. 


For a while it has appeared that at least the last 10-15 days of May should be somewhat active.  I'm not seeing anything to discount that notion at the present.  I've been leaning towards the pessimistic side lately because of the limited boundary layer moisture.  But now maybe things are turning around a bit.

Here is the outlook from the Weather Prediction Center through the 17th...    

The central and eastern Corn Belt....that area continues to get precipitation.  Is that too much?

It looks like next week will be more active with a potential for more widespread activity.  I'll try and update next Monday.

Thursday, May 3, 2018

5/3/18 latest

The past week has been very typical of spring - finally.  Wind and lots of it, warmer weather and then severe thunderstorms.  As is typical with mid-spring, the high plains were essentially left high and dry for most areas.  There were isolated low precipitation supercells on Sunday but those don't bring much moisture anyway, besides hail.  The most widespread rainfall occurred yesterday (Wednesday) but mainly from central into eastern Kansas, and Oklahoma.  Unfortunately there was a lot of hail too.  All this after the extremely windy period from Sunday until Tuesday.  Speaking of wind, the Dodge City airport observed 50 MPH winds on 8 different days in April.  The most since 1992 was 5 days so it was extra ordinarily windy!

Today the parting storm was slowly moving from near northwest Kansas (the red X on the left) so additional showers and storms were scattered across parts of the area.  Here is the satellite from earlier today...

As far as precipitation totals this past week, there were many that did not receive a drop.  That is very discouraging but not unexpected.  Here is that map....

Going forward, the pattern does not favor much hope for widespread rain events for the high plains.  Anytime we get at least meager surface moisture nearby, there will be occasional opportunities for at least widely scattered activity.  The best chance for much will be later next week.  Don't expect a lot.

Here is the latest outlook from the Weather Prediction Center....

Overall, there will be more opportunities later this month but at times I'm discouraged at what I'm seeing in the pattern going well into the growing season.  But, there have been brief glimpses of what could be active periods beyond mid-May.  I should have enough time to post around the 9th/10th.  I'll try and narrow it down. Stay tuned.