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!