Sunday, March 24, 2019

Update - 03/24/19

For those that are new to this blog...these posts are my own ideas and are done on my own time.  It is not part of the agency I work for (National Weather Service).  However, since I do a lot of presentations for livestock and crop producers, I felt it necessary to periodically update folks of what is going on weather-wise.  But, since this is done on my own time outside of work, I find it difficult sometimes to post more than once every week to 10 days.  It is what it is.

The active weather pattern continues across the high plains, obviously!  Will it ever slow down enough to get field work done?  In some areas that is happening, but only slowly.  The latest weather system to impact the central U.S. was weakening and had already moved into the midwest as of early this morning.  The latest upper level map from Saturday evening shows the system as the red "L"...

The system did produce a fair amount of rain!  The map below is amounts as of yesterday (Saturday morning) but additional precipitation fell since then (that map was not available as of this posting).

Since October 1, the percent of normal is staggering!

There may be a brief lull in storms for the next week to 10 days, although there will be some scattered precipitation. 

It won't be getting too warm though so drying will be slow.  However, with the sun angle increasing substantially over that period, normal temperatures will be getting higher!  There still won't be those really warm days to get that soil temperature up and those soil temperatures will remain below normal for this time of year (but improving).

Another cold shot should arrive by this coming weekend that may knock down temps again.  I'll see if I can get another update in by the end of this busy week I have coming up.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Update - 03-13-19

Just a quick update from the post on the 11th...

The dry intrusion from this extremely strong storm forced the precipitation rapidly east leaving much of the western part of Kansas with WAY less rain that was anticipated (or potential).  I'll update later this week with those amounts.  Thus, the inflow into HorseThief Reservoir, Clark and Cedar Bluff will be MUCH less, at least for now.

Here was the satellite image from this morning showing this extremely strong dry intrusion (the brown arrow) and the area of precipitation (highlighted green area)....

One big part of this storm will be the epic blizzard from northeast Colorado into northern Nebraska plus the tremendous wind gusts to the south of this storm.  By the time it's over, I bet we see some 80 MPH wind gusts across parts of the panhandle and southwest Kansas.  My guess is there will be a least a dozen pivot sprinklers overturned with other damage to weak structures.

I'll update again Friday.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Update 03/11/19

In the previous post I did on 3/5, (read it by clicking here), I finished the blog mentioning "quite a storm" that would have many impactful elements around the 12th/13th.  That storm is currently on track and it looks like a doozy for the high plains (and central part of the country).  It's best to stay current on this storm by checking out

Here is this mornings satellite image....

The upper part of the storm is very far south and is tapping into to loads of Pacific moisture!  As this system turns and then heads towards the central U.S., it will cause a surface low to rapidly deepen by Wednesday.  In advance of this happening, there were will be several rounds of rain (and even thunder) moving out into the central U.S..  For many days computer forecast models have been  indicating very excessive rain for the high plains which would be detrimental as soils are saturated and there is still a lot of frost in the ground.  Runoff from excessive rainfall would cause flooding.

At this point amounts will probably average around 3/4 of an inch from this storm, but there still will be locations 1 1/2 to 2 inches from embedded thunderstorms.  In those locations there will be local flooding.  I came back from Topeka yesterday (Sunday) and I've never seen so much standing water and rivers/creeks this fall for this time of year.  Incredible! 

With frost still pretty deep into the ground and with the overly saturated profile, I've also calculated several runoff scenarios for a few of the lakes.  I think there is a reasonable chance that HorseThief Reservoir will see a 3 to 5 foot rise after this storm, which will inundate several of the Yurts and camping spots.  Also, Clark County Lake will probably also see a 3 to 5 foot rise, despite the outlet opened up to lower the lake to repair the spillway.  And finally, Cedar Bluff.  The springs are open, the river has been flowing (when it's not been iced over), and there has been a steady rise in the reservoir since October.  With the runoff from the melted snow over this past weekend; with the runoff from this upcoming storm; and with the general weather pattern, I'm banking on a 100 percent chance that it will go to 2130 (or just 14 feet low) by July 1. I'll put the odds at 60% of reaching conservation "full" (2144 ft) by July 1.  Honestly, if it ends up less than full, I'll be disappointed and a little shocked.

Back to the up-coming storm.  The system will generate high wind!  Speeds of over 60 MPH by Wednesday will be likely.  Farther north and west (across northeast Colorado into north central Nebraska), there will be an epic blizzard!  Again, check details with   It's not out of the question that "wrap-around" snow will reach as far east as Garden City through Wakeeney... at least it'll be close.

In the previous post I discussed additional opportunities for more precipitation and colder than average temperatures going deep in to March.  This continues to look like a pretty likely scenario.  This no doubt will continue woes for agriculture.  From the Kansas State Mesonet (here is the link to this valuable network of observations:, soil temperatures are at record lows for this time of year.  At the Colby station....

This morning here were the 2 inch soil temperatures....

What is amazing was the percent saturation of soil at 50 cm deep....

Here is the 7 day outlook for potential precipitation, although the majority of this is for this current storm...

I'll try and update later in the week.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Update - 03/05/19

Well, if you read the previous blog on the 23rd (you can read it by clicking here), then you're not surprised by what has happened this past 10 days.  It's unfortunate for the livestock producer as this weather has been taking a toll.  I'm hearing a lot of mortality, especially for newborns.

In producer meetings I spoke at during the past month, I had mentioned how brutal February into March was going to be.  But, I also was expecting a pretty good warm-up by mid March that would probably last into mid-April before yet another surge of cold would return.  Much of that notion was derived from the cycle of the general pattern that developed during the fall.  Also, confidence was increased based on the phase of the Madden Julian Oscillation (MJO).  Many of the long range tropical models hinted at the MJO going into a warmer phase for U.S. starting mid-month.

But now confidence is growing that the MJO may not make it much past the eastern part of the Indian Ocean Basin.

If that indeed happens, look for the cold to continue, on average for the remainder of March!  That's not to say that there won't be several days of above normal temperatures (in advance of storm systems), but in general the high plains should end with more cold days that warm.

Here is what typically occurs during these phases of the MJO (2 and 3) for March.

As far as storm systems, there appears to be quite a few more opportunities, not all of which will hit the high plains of Kansas.  But, there should be more precipitation, and some of that will be liquid, some of it frozen.  The odds are continuing high for at least one more blizzard across parts of the high plains. 

Here is the outlook for precipitation through early next week.  Speaking of which, around the 12th or 13th, there will likely be quite a storm.  Details of course this far out cannot be nailed down.  But I would imagine that particular storm will have everything (i.e., snow, rain, lots of wind, thunder, and possible hail for mainly eastern KS)...

I'll try and get an update out early next week.