Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Update - 06/25/19

As mentioned in the previous post (to read that one click here), the summer weather pattern is in full swing.  As long as there is a fair amount of flow aloft and temperatures aloft aren't TOO warm, there will be at least scattered thunderstorms, if not an organized cluster of storms.   Case in point is what happened this past Saturday night.    That event produced some devastating wind and hail at some locations.   It also produced more heavy rain!

In the past week, here is what was observed across the central part of the country....

Some of these totals were impressive, adding to the excessive amount of rain that has fallen since last June.  Speaking of which, for the 365 day period ending Sunday, June 23, the amount of precipitation that fell at some locations is a record.  Take for instance at the Dodge City airport.  From June 24, 2018 through June 23 a whopping 37.07 inches of moisture was observed.  The previous record for the same period was 33.05 inches that fell in 1997!  But, that pales in comparison to what fell just south-southeast of Pratt where 57.89 inches fell!  AND that pales in comparison to what fell ENE of Udall where 75.31 inches was observed!  Here is a map of percent of what fell and the percentage of normal for the 365 day period ending this morning (June 25)...

So, since the weather pattern is now in summer mode, IS it going to get hot and dry?  Looking at the satellite image for today....

An upper ridge has strengthened across the central part of the country.  This means the main branch of the westerlies (jetstream) coming off the Pacific has shifted to higher latitudes.  Typically with this type of setup during the summer the flow aloft becomes less and less which can prevent thunderstorms.  But, as long as the temperatures aloft aren't too warm, there can still be storms despite the lack of flow.  However, they are usually isolated in nature or at least scattered meaning most will not have much rain.  Here is the outlook through early next week.

High temperatures should still be moderated due to wet soils and a lot of vegetative growth (and green).  Afternoon temperatures in the 90s should prevail for at least the next week. Going into July there doesn't look like a lot of change.  There are some hints that the last 3 weeks of July may see additional thunderstorms - and possibly cooler weather .  I'll try and fine tune that outlook in the next post.

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

BTW, in that previous post I mentioned snow levels exceeding low in Colorado.  Did you see the reports from this past weekend?

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Summer Time Pattern - Update 06/18/19

Since the last posting on the 1st of the month (you can read it by clicking here), there have been areas that have dried out - at least on the top several inches.  However, there has still be plenty of rain across the high plains.  The active growing vegetation, generally wet soils, and overall weather pattern has mitigated hot temperatures so far.   Pretty much as expected.   Here is the amount of rainfall since the first of the month:

The latest round overnight (Monday night) was widespread across the plains.  Some locations got over 2 inches.  As of early this afternoon a disturbance aloft was helping to generate additional thunderstorms across Kansas.  On the satellite image, this disturbance is represented by the red X...

Although there will be a risk of severe weather this Tuesday afternoon and evening, another concern will be flooding in some locations.

Side note:  Interestingly where a moderate drought had developed this month across parts of North Dakota....

They are expecting quite a bit of rain during the next week....

For the High Plains, as hinted at in the title of this post, a summer time pattern has developed. But, does this mean hot and dry for the foreseeable future?  No!  Granted, the jet stream has shifted north (as seen on the satellite image above), which is typical as time progresses into summer.  But, as long as there is flow across the central U.S., there will continue to be periodic episodes of weather systems capable of producing thunderstorm complexes.    In the precipitation map above, that is for the period through next Tuesday (25th) morning.   It appears another upper trough will develop across the Rockies by the weekend (21-22) or early next week.  This WILL allow hotter temperatures across the high plains!  But, I doubt not much more than mid-upper 90s and that should last only a few days before another frontal boundary moves through.  In fact, with the upper trough that develops, it should be progressive (won't sit there causing the atmosphere to bake).  This will also allow much below normal temperatures for the Rockies.  I wouldn't be surprised to see pretty good snow across the higher terrain of Colorado with snow levels dropping unseasonably low.

Going into late June and into July, the pattern should promote a few days of "hot" and muggy weather followed by moderating temperatures with a chance for storms.  Then back to hot for a few.  I don't see any indications of the weather settling into a hot, dry and stagnate pattern. going well into July.

As far as Cedar Bluff Reservoir - it's up another 2 feet since the first of the month!  It still has quite a ways to go before it would reach normal elevation.  My July 1 date of reaching full I made on March 11th, will most likely not happen (I only had a 60 percent chance of that happening anyway).  A few BIG complexes of heavy rain on the Smoky Basin could still get it there.  At least it's still rising.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Crazy Weather - Updated June 1, 2019

Most unfortunately I have had limited time to do anything but NWS obligations and personal obligations this past month - thus limiting time to post something to this blog.  I think for June I might post something short and quick more often (remember this is blog is just done on my personal time and not an official post from my work at the NWS).  When I retire from the agency I'll be able to post frequently.

Anyway...as expected May was a really active month.  In the last post in early May (you can read it by clicking here) I said: "I expect May to be a really active month and eventually almost everyone across the high plains will have above normal rainfall. But, there will probably be a lot of hail, wind and even tornadoes too.   That said, I would expect some areas to have flooding issues during the month."

I wish I was wrong.  Not only in Kansas, but for much of the central part of the county this is shaping up to have the potential to be a disastrous spring and summer in regards to not only agriculture, but for infrastructure and local economies (for instance moving the County Stampede out of the Manhattan area).

For a while during the late summer I was having concerns for dryness that was developing across much of the western half of Kansas.  April was shaping up to be the driest on record.  But there was still hope as there had been quite a few active weather systems.  But at the time they were passing well north and south of western Kansas.  But, thanks in part to changes across the northern Atlantic Ocean basin, the Equatorial Pacific, and a warming  Gulf of Mexico - the weather systems finally had enough boundary layer moisture to work with.  Also, west Texas was starting getting wet too.  In some areas record rainfall for the month of May fell.  Other areas were close. Here is the amount of rainfall that fell across the central part of the U.S. for May:

A phenomenal total of 30.08 inches was observed at a location 2.7 ESE of Rose Hill in Butler County.  Even in Dodge City (city limits) there was over 13 inches!  At the Dodge City airport there was 8.42" - the fifth wettest May on record.

As far as percent of normal....incredibly some areas it was 5 times what is normal!

Do I need to even post the drought monitor?  I will anyway. 


So, what is next?  The pattern has been set...and has been since last fall.  It looks like the feedback mechanism from the antecedent conditions to atmosphere may have started. Also, the active upper level winds should continue, in general, across the central U.S..  What this translates to is for continued opportunities for episodes of active weather of thunderstorms.  The feedback from the very wet conditions and growing vegetation (extending into west Texas) will likely mitigate any hot and dry stretches for the foreseeable future. This should translate to below normal temperatures for June, and quite possibility into the typical hotter months of July and August.  Does this mean very few or no 100 degree days for the western high plains?  For some spots - I think that is a real possibility.  This "COULD" be one of those summers when the growing degree days ends up considerably below normal.   The combination with late planting of row crops...it should be a concern - but not guaranteed of course. 

Here is the rainfall outlook from the Weather Prediction Center through next Saturday morning:

For those reservoirs with record or near record amounts of storage and with rivers continuing in flood stage (especially for Oklahoma) - this outlook if it's even close may have disastrous consequences (even more that it has been).

BTW - does anyone remember what I said about Cedar Bluff Reservoir back on March 11th?    "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."

As of this Saturday morning the level of Cedar Bluff was 2130.00!   As far as reaching 2144?  I still think that as a real possibility although going from 2130 to 2144 (another 14 feet) will require about 70,000 acre feet of water.  In other words, as the reservoir fills it spreads out and takes a greater volume of water to raise the elevation.  Given the river is flowing - springs are open - and a continued wet pattern, I would up continue my original prediction of a 60 percent chance of it reaching 2144.  Wow, wouldn't that be nice?

Ok - I'll TRY and update again this week.