Friday, March 27, 2020

Update - March 27, 2020

This is certainly a challenging time for all of us due to the COVID-19 pandemic, low crude oil prices and other "things".  I've finally have mustered up enough time and desire to get an update done to this blog.

In the last post I did on the 6th (if you didn't have a chance to read it you can click here), I discussed several upcoming storm chances (10th, 13, 20th) and all verified for the most part.  What many have probably already witnessed or observed though is that the region that has the drought is mostly missing the majority of the precipitation.  Here is the latest drought map...

...and the map of precipitation over the past 2 weeks.

It is definitely concerning that the pattern right now is not helping out much with this drier area on the drought map.  But, we've been in a pretty active pattern!  Did you know that, for instance, the winter of Dec-Jan-Feb for Dodge City was the 16th wettest on record?  For Hays it was the 4th wettest winter on record!  This does NOT happen unless the pattern is an active one.  The million dollar question is if this will shift west and south.  I think there is a chance as the spring progresses and boundary layer moisture becomes more abundant. But there is still nagging feeling of uneasiness. If the Climate Prediction Center drought outlook has any validity (it's pretty optimistic) .....

Looking at sea surface temperatures over the past week....

The eye catcher for me is the anomalously warm water in the Gulf of Mexico.  Early spring conditions such as this in the presence of an active pattern usually contributes to quite a few outbreaks of severe weather.  This would include Kansas, eventually.  Just not sure how far west.  But, it's also a source for that aforementioned boundary layer moisture that hopefully will get farther west with time going forward.

Looking at the Friday afternoon satellite image....

The next weather system affecting the high plains is currently (as of Friday afternoon - the red L over northern Arizona) poised to move out into the central U.S. tonight and Saturday.  But for most of the high plains it appears that it will come out too far north to benefit much, as far as significant precipitation.  The wrap-around precipitation will bring rain and SNOW to the northern part of the high plains.

The red X west of Washington on the map will bring a better chance for precipitation for larger part of the high plains early next week (primarily late Monday into Tuesday) but it could very well do what the other systems have done lately - missing much of the drought area.  But, keeping fingers crossed.

There are other systems that could impact the region going into April but I suspect there may be a temporary slowdown.  On the satellite image you can see the bright colors on the far lower left.  It looks like this could be yet another MJO developing but this time enhancing farther east.  Looking at composites of MJO's, the predicted path and evolution would favor above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation for much of April.  BUT, there appear to be other more important factors in forcing the atmosphere for the spring.   So, I'm not sold on above normal temperatures and below normal precipitation for April.  In fact, I would still lean towards an active pattern.  Active enough to get another strong storm or two - or three or four.  Remember my date of April 21-22 I threw out there in the post I did on the 27th of February?  Yeah, there is a reason for that.

Also, there is some indication that the Arctic Oscillation and North Atlantic Oscillation may be starting to flip negative or at least near neutral.  This could enhance storm systems moving into the central U.S..

Here is the Arctic Oscillation....

...and the North Atlantic Oscillation....

As far as more cold.  We are just too early yet.  I'm very confident of well below freezing temperatures occurring again, several times, for much of the high plains. 

Here is the outlook for precipitation through next Friday, April 3rd...

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

Friday, March 6, 2020

Update - March 6, 2020

There is still no sign of the "really" cold air as the jetstream configuration just doesn't support an least yet.  The yet meaning some Arctic type air could still make an appearance before we can start talking about Spring.

In the previous post on the 27th (you can read that by clicking here), I discussed the March 3 system that did take a very southern route and bypass the central U.S. completely.  Here is the precipitation that fell during this past 7 days.

Also in that previous post on the 27th I mentioned a potential for another system around the 10th.  As of today that looks like it will occur a day or two early.  The biggest impacts will be central and Eastern Kansas although there could still be showery type precip farther west, but not significant.

The Madden Julian Oscillation continues to be somewhat least strong enough that there is a really strong response in the flow aloft moving from the tropics and then north into the higher latitudes. The positioning and strength should favor an active pattern across the central plains for a while longer.  Based on some observations, I think there is a reasonable chance (good) of another system one that might be a strong storm that will impact the central U.S. between the 13th and 15th.  There is really not a storm at the moment to track but it is something to watch.  Based on the cold air being bottled up north, I would imagine that if the storm occurs it will be mostly liquid.  But, hey that is a long time off yet.

Beyond that potential storm, I see the possibility of another storm around or shortly before the spring equinox. It's just more of a hunch at the moment.

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

I'll try another attempt at updating this blog later next week.