Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Brief update

This will have to be very brief.  My NWS is coming to a close and I have been swamped in that preparation.

The expected cold mentioned in the previous post has come to fruition and will culminate with brutally cold and wind Thursday and into the early weekend.  Any meaningful snow will concentrate on the midwest but won't help in any drought concerns as it will be very dry.  The biggest issue will be the cold (actual temperatures and wind chill indices), as shown below.

The upper air pattern is ideal with the cold buildup across the higher latitudes of North America and is being unleashed south as the blocking high had developed across Greenland.  Here is the upper air map as of this morning...

Expected temperatures Friday morning (and keep in mind Thursday temperatures will not be much warmer and wind chill indices will be extremely cold)...

Warmer weather is expected the last few days of December.  January - I need to find some time to look it over.

BTW, here is a map of precipitation that occurred yesterday by a little weak weather system.

I'm not sure I will be able to update until after the first of the year - as a Non-National Weather Service but as a consulting Meteorologist.  Changes are coming!

Friday, December 9, 2022

The pattern may be set

In the previous post on 11/23/22 (read it by clicking here) the headline was "another swing and a miss?".  I also discussed that this year's pattern was not quite set, or so it would appear.  With the system this week (southeast of the area across mainly Oklahoma but a secondary moving well north) and the system moving by this Friday night and Saturday (again mainly southeast of the area), I believe I have a pretty good idea of the nature of the pattern.  Is it concerning that much of the high plains has been left high and dry?  Absolutely.  But with the changing of the seasons (fall into winter, winter into spring, and spring into summer), the pattern will shift around enough that it won't be totally gloom and doom.  Now to time it.

The system(s) the past 2 days brought good moisture to Oklahoma again (and into the Corn Belt).  Here is a map of that precipitation. 

During the past 2 weeks there was "some" precipitation farther into the plains, but not a lot.

The biggest weather news this next week will be a monster storm that is going to impact much of the central part of the country with a blizzard across Nebraska and the Dakotas and severe convective weather farther south and east.  There will be a big concern for a possible outbreak of tornadoes across the Mississippi Valley.  For the high plains (at least the central and southern high plains), it looks like more of the same with dry and way too much wind.  But....

In the past few meetings and presentations that I have been doing, I mentioned the second half of December could be active and very cold.  I've expected this for several weeks because of some connections to the tropics with the higher latitudes; possible blocking of the jetstream;, and a buildup of snowcover across the northern hemisphere. One thing I look at in a shorter time frame (less than 30 days) is the indices of the Arctic Oscillation and the North Atlantic Oscillation. 

It's not unusual for these indices to go strongly negative.  When the Arctic Oscillation goes strongly negative, it is often followed by a deep intrusion of Arctic air into lower latitudes.  Sometimes it's across Europe or Eurasia and sometimes into North America.  It just depends.  When the North Atlantic Oscillation goes deeply negative, there is usually blocking of the jetstream across the Atlantic and into Greenland.  When this happens weather systems tend to slow down and move more meridional. But, when both the AO and NAO go negative, there is quite often a major intrusion of Arctic air into North America, including the U.S..  That is one clue that December is about to get frigid.  Then top it off with the snow that has built up across the northern hemisphere...

BTW, that area of snow cover across the northern hemisphere had been above record levels and still is above the 56 year mean.  Interesting. 

With all this going on and with the pattern that is setting up, the jet stream flow is going to become (or has become) very energetic and volatile.   After this major storm moves by early next week, the remainder of December will, on average, be colder than normal with periodic episodes of snow (including snowfall for the high plains).  The way I see it, many locations across the central and northern U.S., will have a white Christmas or at least the odds favor such.

As far as precipitation, here is what the Weather Prediction Center is expecting through the end of next week.

That is definately a concerning image for the central and southern high plains, especially knowing that there is going to be more wind.  The periodic snow I'm expecting towards the end of the month will help a little.  I would expect those opportunities to repeat a couple of times going into spring.  

My gut feeling going farther into 2023?  It will be a “normal” winter, active spring and probably a dry and hot summer – all subject to updates as the pattern becomes evident.  

With me wrapping up my career in Meteorology with the NWS, I'm not having much time to update this blog but I will attempt to do so again next week.  As mentioned, a month ago or so, changes will be coming to this blog.  More later.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Another swing and a miss?

Before I get into the woods....here is the system precipitation that impacted some of the area with rain and snow on the 14th.  At least it was something.

Another strong storm will impact the southern High Plains this holiday but largely miss the central and northern parts of the HP.  This sign is both discouraging but encouraging.  Why encouraging?  Because the atmosphere is capable of intensifying storms "nearby". 

Looking at this morning's upper air map

An intensifying and strong upper system over Wyoming was dropping south.  Unfortunately for much of the high plains of Kansas/Nebraska it will "dig" way too much to benefit much of our area.  It will, however, likely bring very heavy precipitation to west Texas (and some of the panhandle) into Oklahoma.  Some of this will be very heavy snowfall too.  This will be the 3rd or 4th time this fall that a system has behaved in this manner.  That "could" benefit the rest of us later this winter and into the spring.  More on this in later posts. 

The exact track and behavior of this system is still unknown, even though it's 24 hours away!  These types of developing and intensifying systems are just plain unpredictable in terms of location and specifics

Computer models will be ALL OVER THE PLACE!  This leads me into a topic that I have discussed numerous times.  Social Media is a platform that misinformation will be shared routinely.  Computer models struggle mightily.  Here is an example of a computer model solution generated on 11/15 and valid for this week (ending Saturday).

Look at those ridiculous snowfall amounts!  And the placement (WAY OFF).  Just 6 hours later when the same forecast model generated data for the same period, this is what it was showing.  

This type of behavior is not unusual.  The models forecasting many days out just can't be trusted.

In later posts I'll do late next week or the following week, I will dive into the outlook going into spring.  I'm starting to see signs that the first cycle of this year's pattern is about to be set.  I should know more in a couple of weeks or three.

Friday, November 4, 2022

Is there any hope?

The title - of course there is.  All dry periods (droughts too) are broken.  But how much can we endure before favorable weather returns?  In previous posts going back a long way, I had pointed out numerous times that, for instance, Dodge City experienced 7 years in a row (2014-2020) of above normal precipitation.  It was almost 9 in a row as 2013 and 2021 were just a little bit below the annual average.  From 1875 through the current time, there had never been more than 3 years in a row.  So, this was highly anomalous to have that many "wet" years in a row.  The pendulum was going to swing the other way, there was no doubt about it.

Remember, the high plains region is considered to be semi-arid and the farther west towards the front range (from New Mexico into Canada), the more likely it is that the year or season will be dry.  That is just a fact of life.  Even with dry years (or seasons), crops have been raised without irrigation.  Obviously, production will be limited in many cases (depending on the environmental conditions during the growing season). This year and season have been brutal for many.  Will it continue into 2023?  I wish it was easy to say one or other but there are just so many factors/issues that influence sensible weather, especially across the high plains.

In the previous post I did on October 28 (read it by clicking here), I discussed again about the new weather pattern that was setting up.  The new pattern then and as it is today (the 4th of Nov) was and is still young.  I have been mostly discouraged but yet there had been and continue to be at least a few signs of promise.  The last one is the system that is moving out of the Texas Panhandle today.  Overnight there was a fairly large area of rainfall and here is a map of what had fallen as of 9 AM this Friday morning...

Granted, many of the areas hardest hit by the drought and dryness had largely missed out, AGAIN! But the system was still likely to produce at least some rainfall (and snow) farther west.  This type of strong system will make more appearances later this fall and winter.  Even though not all areas got or will get precipitation, the evolution of the system is slightly encouraging.

Speaking of precipitation, the October amount was awful.  Dodge City (airport) got just a trace, and this has happened only 2 other times in recorded weather history (back to October 1874).   

As of this morning, here was the upper level map of the jetstream.

The red X approaching the Texas Panhandle was small but mighty.  The red X moving across the Gulf of Alaska will amplify into a deep trough across the western U.S. which will promote warmer and windy conditions across much of the high plains later this weekend and into the first of next week.  The eventual evolution of any system moving out into the plains will likely be towards the end of the week but there is much uncertainty.

Not shown by a map or chart, but there is a decent Madden Julian Oscillation across the Western Pacific.  Forecasts are pretty consistent on its expected movement and evolution.  It would "favor" much colder and perhaps wetter weather centered on mid-November.  Maybe between the 12th and 18th.  Without knowing much about this new weather pattern, confidence is only slightly there for that mid-November weather outlook. 

For an outlook taking us into next spring.. well without knowing details of the behavior of this new pattern that is just developing, I don't really have an answer.  Can I look at history?  I could, can and will but don't put much stock in it.  

As I mentioned in the previous posting, the current La Nina will likely continue through the winter which would be the third winter in a row of a La Nina.  This has only happened two other times (1973-1976 and 1998-2001).   That is only two events to go off of so that isn't much at all.  But lumping the two events together, for the high plains the November-April weather averages out to near normal precipitation and below normal temperatures.  Again, don't put stock in it.  Once this new pattern has completed its first go round, confidence should increase on an outlook into the growing season of 2023.  For now, definately temper expectations.  I'll try and update later next week.

Friday, October 28, 2022

I'm back - sort of

Well, it's been over a month since I've updated this blog due to moving and getting settled in at the new hacienda (see the last post on September 23 by clicking here).  Even though I no longer reside in Dodge City, I'm not retired yet and regardless will still have a strong passion for high plains weather.  So, the title of being back "sort of".  I've now getting some time to get back into routine of figuring out this ridiculous dry pattern we're in.  I'm just now getting "back in the groove" so it will be a bit before I go hog wild into it.

First, a look at the last 30-day rainfall map.  I really don't need to show it as it's pretty obvious - we've been missing the rain.  (click for a large version)

It's somewhat interesting that the southern plains have been a target so far this fall.  Perhaps that is a clue.  Also - the brutal cold that moved into the eastern half of the U.S. last week.  That could also be a clue to this pattern.  There is a LOT to analyze during this next 2 to 4 weeks. 

Those that have read my blog or heard me speak know that the weather pattern that is setting up will be unrelated to what happened in 2021/2022.  It's young, meaning it just started developing this past 3 to 4 weeks.  I have been mostly discouraged, but yet there are a few elements that "could" show some hope.  I plan to be able to address this in more detail the first week of November. 

There is another "sign" that I'm anxiously waiting for which should show itself next week.  I will watch the transformation of energy across the west by mid-late next week and how the eventual system (if it develops) behaves as it moves into the plains.  I will be looking at much, much more but that could be another piece of the puzzle.

Many of you may have heard that this will be a "Triple Dip" La Nina this winter.  I will address what this means in the next post.

Ok - fingers crossed that I can update again later next week. 

Friday, September 23, 2022

Transition Time

The title of this post - "Transition Time".  Not only for the weather but for me personally.  As many of you know I'll be retiring at the end of the year from my agency.  On top of that, I'm moving at the end of this month to Kingman (KS).  It's a hectic time so this post will be very short.  Plus, changes will be coming to this blog by the end of the year.  More on that later...

In the last posting on the 12th (read it here) I began the process discussing global influences that might hurt (or help) the situation for the next 10-12 months, weather-wise.  Remember, September is the transition time between the old and new patterns.  I'll be discussing the new pattern whenever I get a chance later in October.

The cold front (finally a real one to knock back the heat), was probably related to the old pattern but the couple of rainfall events?  Maybe old, maybe new or maybe just a combination of the two.  While it was nice (for most of us), don't be led into a false sense that it might occur again anytime soon.  I mean it is a possibility, but we can only hope and pray.  But the new pattern that is setting up hasn't shown any teeth yet.  Fingers crossed.

For the past 72 hours, here is a map of rainfall.  Some areas got a pretty good soaking!  If only it impacted everyone. (click for a larger version)

Again, I'm moving very soon so I won't have any opportunity to update, at least for another couple of weeks.  See ya on the flip side!

Monday, September 12, 2022

The bleak outlook continues

At least a "few" areas got some rain with the colder airmass this past weekend but even those that got rainfall, most locations got less than a quarter of an inch, or less.  That system producing the rain benefited areas farther northeast, which may an indication of the "new" pattern that is weeks away from setting in motion.  Here is the broad and close up look at what fell...

In the posting I did on August 16, I said "a possibility of a decent front centered around September 6 and maybe that could bring some rain that would be key for fall planting later in the month."

I missed that one by 3-4 days.  It's most unfortunate that rainfall wasn't widespread and amounts were likely to little to benefit the fall planting.

As mentioned in the posting I did on the 1st (read it by clicking here), September is a transition month from the old to the new pattern that develops during the fall.  Predictability really goes in the toilet.  At this point I can only go off of some of the computer models.  This week will become brutal with a lot of wind and increasing temperatures.  By the weekend we could even be flirting with 100 again!  The key to this week will be warm air aloft.  If it doesn't get too warm aloft, then there should be a few days later in the week when there should be at least scattered thunderstorm activity.  Again, unfortunately, any activity will likely be scattered in nature, but least I'm hoping for something.  IF I can use some of the knobology from the waning pattern than started last fall, there should be another significant cool down later next week, say between the 20th-23rd.    Maybe another shot of rainfall then too?

I'm sure most of you have seen various "forecasts" for the winter.  Caution....much of what you see is not based on weather science.  There is one map in particular that was first posted 5 years ago and has shown up on social media every year since - the EXACT SAME MAP!   Predicting what this winter will be like is nothing more than a guess and a wild one at that.  Predictability is ZERO as the new pattern has not set up yet. 

Some are making the prediction off of the notion that a third La Nina in a row will exist.  And yes, this will be a triple dip (3rd La Nina winter in a row).  However, if looking for a predictable weather solution solely off the existence of another La Nina for the high plains - nope.  All La Nina events (and El Nino for that matter) have a different outcome for the plains.  But, what if....what if we could predict based on the existence of another third La Nina?

I can find 2 back-to-back La Nina events during the past 50 years.  1973-1976 and 1998-2001.  The sensible weather for the plains was NOT the same during both events!  But taking into account the last year of the two (1976 and 2001), the fall (Sep-Nov) across the high plains was colder than average with near normal precipitation.  So, could that same thing happen this fall?  I suppose so but at the current time all long range computer forecast models are indicating warm and dry into November.  I certainly hope not.  

I'll try and update again early next week sometime.  Let's hope and pray for something later week.

Thursday, September 1, 2022

Again? Hit and miss rains!

 It seems to be a common theme this warm season.  There have been locations that have received decent rains while others are missing out completely.  It happened again.

In the previous posting I did on the 19th of August, a carry over period of opportunity that I started discussing back in June mentioned the last of August.  That opportunity definately benefited some across the region.  Here is the rainfall that fell this past 72 hours ending this morning 9/1....

There were 2 events covering this precipitation.

Prior to that from last week into the weekend...here is the 72 hour map ending 8/29

Back to the post on the 19th, there was quite robust outlook for rainfall across Oklahoma and Texas.  This also verified (I'm sure many heard about the flooding in the Dallas area) but the spatial area impacted was perhaps a little less and it was a little farther south.  

We are now getting to the time of year that the old pattern that developed last fall is nearing a completion while the next pattern that will be developing this next  month.  It's going to be really tough giving you any indication of what to expect going into October.  All the longrange forecast models I've looked at are indicating a warm and dry September and likely a warm and dry October.  There is simply NO skill in forecasting for October at this point since the new pattern will be emerging then and it's impossible to predict what that will be. I do see a few opportunities for rainfall....fist tomorrow into early Saturday and then perhaps towards the following weekend, September 16-18.  Skill on those predictions is decreasing rapidly.  In the meantime, here is the outlook through next Thursday the 8th.

I'll attempt to update late next week.  

Friday, August 19, 2022

Another quick update

If you missed the last post on the 9th, please read it (click here).  There really isn't much to add to that post.  As we get deeper into September, perhaps I will start to see the evidence of the "new" pattern that will begin to slowly show itself.

In the previous post on the 9th, I said "If fact, in my analysis that I've been using to pick out periods of opportunity, the next  date(s) will be centered on August 18, for just a few days.  If you miss out on that, then the final opportunity for August should be towards the end of the month.  In between - hot and dry.

The date of the 18th worked out for some of you but as is typical, many missed out - again.  The significance was the area that "had" been extremely dry across southeast Colorado and far southwest Kansas got a pretty soaking!  Here is a map of rainfall for the 72 hour period ending yesterday the 18th (morning)....

The next period mentioned would be "towards the end of the month".  That appears to be a possibility too on track.  The cooler weather of the past few days was expected, although I didn't expect it to be quite as cool.  That cooler air was aided by the upper level system over Minnesota that was sliding southeast.  See the map....

Other than what I was expecting for the end of the month and also the period in September mentioned in the previous posting ( a possibility of a decent front centered around September 6 and maybe that could bring some rain that would be key for fall planting later in the month.), there really isn't anything else I can pick out as the weather pattern starts its transition.  Hopefully more on that when I get a chance to post again. I know fall prep and planting is coming up later in September.  Obviously getting rain this next 2 to 3 weeks will be very critical.  

Finally, here is the expected rainfall through the end of next week (provided by the Weather Prediction Center), which by the way is extremely significant for Texas!...

If this amount of rain verifies, will that impact weather going into the fall?  I think so.  More on that later.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Quick update - The weather pattern will be slowly fading

In the previous post I did on the 29th (click here to read it), the final period of opportunity first identified in the June 14th post was August 3-7 Below normal temps and above normal rainfall.  The period prior was for July 25-28 and I was off a few days on that, so naturally the August 3-7 would be off a few days too.  Although there was cooling from the 105 degree weather, the average temperature was closer to normal and slightly below starting on the 8th but it will be brief.  Rainfall was there (so above normal for some, but not all) that started on the 5th.  Here is the rainfall for late August 5th through yesterday the 8th.

There was definately a shift farther west and north this time around.  The upper level dome of high heights has shifted just far enough west that most of Kansas and Oklahoma will lose almost all opportunity for rainfall for at least a week, if not more.   If fact, in my analysis that I've been using to pick out periods of opportunity, the next  date(s) will be centered on August 18, for just a few days.  If you miss out on that, then the final opportunity for August should be towards the end of the month.  In between - hot and dry. 

Here is the rainfall outlook from the Weather Prediction Center through next Tuesday...

The weather pattern that was established last fall will be fading away this next month as we go into September.  Weather events by September will still be influenced by the same pattern. But as the westerlies (upper level winds) begin to strengthen again across the Northern Hemisphere, we'll start to see a shift as October approaches (a combination of old and new influences).  In my analysis, I do see a possibility of a decent front centered around September 6 and maybe that could bring some rain that would be key for fall planting later in the month. 

Friday, July 29, 2022

Rain event was on schedule!

This will have to be very short as I have very pressing issues...

On June 24th (click here) and again on July 14th I mentioned one of the periods I had picked out to have below normal temperatures and above normal rainfall ("July 25-28 cooler again with a above normal rainfall".).  That was amazingly on target although just a few days early.  Here is the rainfall that has occurred this past 72 hours with the majority falling this past 12 hours ending at 11 AM this Friday, the 29th.

Temperatures have moderated accordingly due to the cloud cover and precipitation that will persist through the weekend.

The heat returns next week but it should be moderated by the amount of rain that has fallen (and will continue to fall this weekend). Humidity will likely be a bit higher with the heat.

The next period I had identified (in June and again earlier this month) is:

August 3-7 Below normal temps and above normal rainfall.

The North American Monsoon will continue and hopefully it will slide over again and influence the high plains weather at that point. I'll do my best to post next week but no guarantees.

Thursday, July 14, 2022

Brief update - this is ugly!

In the previous posting I did a week ago on the 7th (click here to read it), I again listed specific dates that I had first posted on June 24.  The period of July 12-18, I posted "July 12-18 A cooling trend with less hot temperatures.  A better than normal chance for thunderstorms, especially July 14-17"  and ended with "It's going to continue to be a struggle for systems to produce widespread rain events.  The North American Monsoon (NAM) has abated a bit (but still going) and let's hope it can regenerate strongly.".

So a little explanation is needed.  The key on precipitation was that last quote, i.e., "it's going to continue to be a struggle for systems to produce widespread rain events".  The cooling did occur, but lasted a whopping 2 days!  That is NOT good!  The 12th and 13th were below normal.  But the remainder of the period is going to be above to much above normal!  That is tied to the expanding upper level high as seen in the upper air map...

That upper high has become very strong, most unfortunately! This will lead to an extended period of very hot temperatures. Those that have missed out on the rains this past 4-6 weeks will suffer the most.

Back to that original post of "A better than normal chance for thunderstorms, especially July 14-17".  The better than normal chance came early with 3 days of thunderstorms on the 11th-13th and because of the expanding upper level high the coverage was dismal.  Here is what fell this past 72 hours....

The North American Monsoon (NAM) has strengthened again but unfortunately has shifted west and too far west to benefit most of the high plains.  But, here is the outlook for precipitation and keep in mind the precip indicated for some of the high plains indicates light amounts...

Hot is here to stay for a while.  In the June posting (and recapped in the July 7th post), I added "July 25-28 cooler again with a above normal rainfall"But keep in mind that it will continue to be a struggle for widespread rainfall.  Essentially there could be 100+ degree temps every day through much of the next two weeks before there is "any" hope of cooling (not that it will be cool by any stretch).   Back in the fall I had made several comments of the similarities to 1956 (the driest year on record at Dodge City).  I'm still holding out on August with some opportunities.  But this might be a run away train at this point so at this time I'm definately not feeling optimistic. 

Thursday, July 7, 2022

Well at least not everyone has been brutally dry!

 In the previous post I did on June 24 (read it here), I put specific periods of opportunities (or not)...

July 4-11  A hotter period with several days, at least, of 100+.  But a few chances of thunderstorms, especially July 7.

July 12-18 A cooling trend with less hot temperatures.  A better than normal chance for thunderstorms, especially July 14-17.

July 25-28 cooler again with a above normal rainfall.

August 3-7 Below normal temps and above normal rainfall.

In between these dates it will likely be HOT and windy!

I was off on the July 7th date by one day as there was pretty good areas of rainfall yesterday (6th).  Even though the following map of rainfall is for a 72 hour period, the majority across the high plains fell yesterday. 

For the past 14 days.....

It's going to continue to be a struggle for systems to produce widespread rain events.  The North American Monsoon (NAM) has abated a bit (but still going) and let's hope it can regenerate strongly.  Colorado and New Mexico have certainly benefited.  Here is the outlook from the Weather Prediction Center through next Thursday (14th)...

I won't be able to update again until at least the 19th...

Friday, June 24, 2022

Well that glimmer worked for some but not others

 If you had a chance to read the last posting I did on the 15th (read it here) I discussed the glimmer of hope from the North American Monsoon (NAM) during the summer.  At the time of the posting there was a NAM on-going and the only hope for precipitation across at least the eastern High Plains would be a shift to the east.  That did happen this past 3 or 4 days.  However, astonishing (at least to me) is that some locations got completely hosed (in a bad way i.e., NO Rain or very little).  Here is a map of the rainfall over a 72 hour period ending yesterday (23rd) morning.

Look how some areas got completely missed!  Nine out of 10 times when this shift occurs everyone gets a least a little bit.  

Even late yesterday and last night there was additional rain across much of northern Kansas.

For today the heat has returned with a vengeance, but fortunately it will be very short lived. From the upper air map from yesterday (when I started writing), there was a weak upper system over California which had brought scattered thunderstorms out there.  

However, that system was weakening and moving northeast.  More importantly was the relatively strong upper system moving east out of southwest Canada.  That will unleash some anonymously "cold" air that will race into the central U.S. this weekend.  With any cloud cover and precipitation, highs may only be in the 60s to low 70s!  As far as precipitation with this cooler airmass, much of the influence might be back to the North American Monsoon.  As of yesterday, there was still a narrow corridor of moisture coming up from Mexico.

Hopefully that will interact with the cooler air and produce widespread rainfall.  The focus will likely be south central and southeast Colorado, New Mexico, and into the panhandles of Texas and Oklahoma. There is a lesser chance into far southwest Kansas but hopefully that area will catch it too.  I bet south central Kansas gets it again!

I'm not optimistic for Dodge City though.  Geez, my location has missed about the last dozen events. 

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

Going into August, I have identified some specific dates/periods.  Confidence is not great (given how screwed up this weather pattern is), but at least it's an attempt.  Let's see how it shakes out. Again, confidence is not great.

Per the previous post...

June 26-July 3 For the entire period below normal temps (but a couple  of hotter days mixed in) and normal to above normal rainfall. Specific date June 30 for another complex of storms.

July 4-11  A hotter period with several days, at least, of 100+.  But a few chances of thunderstorms, especially July 7.

July 12-18 A cooling trend with less hot temperatures.  A better than normal chance for thunderstorms, especially July 14-17.

July 25-28 cooler again with a above normal rainfall.

August 3-7 Below normal temps and above normal rainfall.

In between these dates it will likely be HOT and windy!

I won't be able to update again until after the 4th.  Don't blow anything up, especially your fingers!

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

It's looking grim but with one hope

That isn't a very optimistic title to this blog.  Fears of a dry May and June that I had discussed in blog posts during the late winter and early spring are coming to fruition.  The widespread rains a week ago (although not every one benefited) were a blessing and somewhat of a "fluke" in the overall pattern impacting the high plains.  I'm not liking the trend as this may become a run-away-train for the high plains.  In the title "with one hope" appears to be the only chance for a saving grace.  That hope?  The North American Monsoon (NAM).  The NAM has already shown some development and is still set up to become even more active.  You can see that on the upper air chart.

The hope for the high plains is that it shifts periodically eastward at times during the summer.  That certainly does not look to be the case for the near future.  In fact, the upper level ridge (the center of the southeast on the map) looks to expand westward through the weekend and into next week.  That will only exuberate the heat and wind.  I guess that will be good for those lucky ones that have winter wheat to harvest. 

After that wet period earlier in the month, there still has been some rain but really it's been pretty scattered for the high plains with most areas receiving zilch.  Here is a look at what has fallen this past 7 days.

And combine the lack of precipitation this past week with the ridiculous wind combined with hot afternoon temperatures - not a good combination at all. 

The drought monitor was updated just as the last of the heavier rains fell last week and I'm not sure impacts from the rain were incorporated into the drought map.  It doesn't matter....that was short term event whereas the drought is long-term. 

Other than the glimmer of hope for the NAM this summer, I do see a very small chance of a brief pattern change the last few days of June and into the first week of July.  I would bet there were will be some really hot (well over 100 degrees) but hopefully one or two thunderstorms complexes coming off the lee slope of the Rockies, at least for Kansas and Nebraska.  That would also moderate daytime temperatures and increase humidity.  That pattern shift should be temporary.  

Overall I think July will have daily temperatures above normal and precipitation will be below, for most of the area.  August could surprise me.  I've seen late summer shifts that could benefit the area setting up for precipitation into September which would obviously help in the fall planting - and hopefully salvage any warm season crops that may have struggled to survive to that point. 

I'll attempt an update later next week.

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

It rained?

Finally over the hardest hit areas of the drought,  "most" locations got quite a bit of rain this week!  But others?  Not so much.

In the previous post on the 26th of May (click here), I mentioned that there would be a lot of mesoscale processes that would dictate the high plains rainfall chances.  Those processes did occur with several Mesoscale Convective Complexes impacting the high plains.  Initially everything was east of the high plains (as the Elevated Mixed Layer or warm air aloft dominated).  But eventually the MCS's developed far enough east that most of the central high plains got some good rain.  Here is what occurred this past 14 days...

And for the past 72 hours....

One of the hardest hit areas of the region (drought perspective) got some really got amounts.  But, there are still those unlucky ones that, in general, missed out on the heavier amounts (my giant pumpkin growing plots included). 

This blog post will have to be cut short with other obligations to tend to.  Going into mid-June, the heat looks to return with some chances for overnight storms for the high plains, but in general it should be relatively dry.  Again, there will be those lucky and unlucky ones.

For the next 7 days, here is the outlook from the Weather Predication Center....

I'll attempt to update with a look into the remainder of the summer.  Maybe by early next week?

Thursday, May 26, 2022

A good one but not for everyone

In the post I did on the 20th (read it here) I discussed the "glimmer of hope" that would be possible in May.  We got two of those glimmers, but really only benefited from this last one.  On the 20th there was an upper system WAY out in the Pacific and it had a long way to go to get in an ideal position to bring what appeared to be a pretty decent chance for widespread precipitation for this week.  Indeed the system did impact the high plains (and much of the central U.S.) with widespread rainfall.  Some got way more than expected, others fell short once again.  It's the way it is with weather.  Here is a map of rainfall the past 72 hours...

and a little bit of a close-up of the high plains...

I ended that last post with "But, then beyond mid-week, it looks dismal again.  What the atmosphere will be fighting is a very warm Elevated Mixed Layer (EML) or capping with warm air aloft.  I'm afraid going forward that it will have to be a case of good luck to get mesoscale processes lined up to produce opportunities for rainfall. "

Which brings us to the latest upper level map...

The departing storm that brought all the rain was located over southwest Missouri this morning but had loosened it's grip on the high plains.  Now attention is drawn to the jetstream over the Pacific.  The pattern will be active going into June for the northern plains initially but then down into the southern plains.  As I mentioned in that quote above, most of the high plains region will be fighting the warm air aloft (capping).  Surface and boundary layer moisture will be making a return but the main questions will be how far west the moisture can get and if the air aloft will be too warm to prevent thunderstorms.  Again, as mentioned, it will probably boil down to mesoscale processes (small scale features and interactions with overnight storms later in the week) that will spell doom or gloom in regards to precipitation.  Some of the models and official NWS forecasts are someone robust in the output.  Here is the latest map of possible precipitation amounts from this Thursday afternoon into the start of the next weekend....

It will be a day-to-day type of situation.  The first opportunity for the Kansas region of the high plains may be as early as Monday of this next week with several opportunities throughout the week.  I'm afraid to get too excited as this last system may have gotten some hopes up.   For the eastern part of the high plains, yeah it sure looks good (and many may actually have gotten too much rain so far).  But I just have a sneaking suspicion that the warm air aloft may win out on most days for the high plains.  Again, it will be these mesoscale processes that might call the shots.  Fingers crossed. 

I still intend to address the remainder of the summer in later posts...

Friday, May 20, 2022

It will be a struggle

Several months ago I gave the outlook through June with drier than expected for May, with just a glimmer of hope, and drier than average for June.  The glimmer of hope has come and gone several times.  Just about the time I think that we'll get lucky with precipitation, a monkey wrench will be thrown into the equation.  The last system did bring some widespread precipitation, but unfortunately most locations did not get that much.  Some got more than had fallen for months.  Here is a look at the rainfall that fell across the region....

Going back 14 days - it's pretty dismal, at least for May

The lack of widespread rainfall and decent amounts combined with very warm to hot days with a lot of wind has manifested into the serious drought.  Here is the latest Palmer Drought Severity Index map...

That brings us to another "glimmer of hope".  Looking at the upper air chart from this morning....

The upper low across Idaho was dropping southeast and was unseasonably strong combined with the upper trough extending into southern Canada.  That has set the stage for the late spring snowstorm across the Rockies.  For the high plains, there may be some rain and snow across the higher elevations  (mainly into northeast Colorado).  Otherwise, just colder air.

The hope for the most of us is that system out in the north Pacific (see the map above).  Wow that has a LONG way to go to get set up to produce much for the high plains, in the terms of precipitation.  Long range computer forecast models have been robust.  I'm so hesitant to expect much.  However, it is now getting into the latter days of May and Gulf of Mexico moisture has become more accessible for storm systems.  Here is the outlook through Wednesday from a combination of NWS forecasts and various computer models.  Fingers crossed....

But, then beyond mid-week, it looks dismal again.  What the atmosphere will be fighting is a very warm Elevated Mixed Layer (EML) or capping with warm air aloft.  I'm afraid going forward that it will have to be a case of good luck to get mesoscale processes lined up to produce opportunities for rainfall. 

Not that La Nina is producing this drought/dryness (it is definately contributing to it), but the news might even be worse going through all of summer.  It appears that we may be headed towards a "triple dip" La Nina (3 in a row) and the only two times I could find this happening was 1973-1976 and 1998-2001.  Both summers of that third year were very dry.  I'm not optimistic.

After this upcoming opportunity for rainfall, I'll update again with perhaps more detail for the Summer.