The previous posting (read it by clicking here) was titled "On Schedule?" and that would still be applicable for this post. The weather systems have been present, but unfortunately they have not been timed or in a position to benefit the majority of the high plains. Yes this is a serious concern going into the growing season. I'll explain below...
First...in that previous post on the 11th, I had previously targeted mid-February (specifically Feb 17) as a potentially significant system for at least part of the high plains. Computer models had absolutely nothing on up to a significant precipitation event. I said "However, just how much impact will be experienced across the high plains is still very much uncertain. My gut tells me that a good part of even southwestern Kansas will benefit with decent moisture and that could very well be in the form of snow". The system did obviously occur but as far as decent moisture, my gut most have had a parasite. Only minimal moisture fell (0.01 up to 0.20") in the form of snow. The significant precipitation shield (heavy snow) fell from north central Oklahoma up into northwest Missouri. I was hoping for a bit farther west.
Speaking of snow. Do you know how ridiculous it is to even mention amounts? There is simply NO way to determine many factors that are unknown 12 to 72 hours away from an event. To name a few...how saturated will the lifting column of air be? How fast will lifting will occur? What will the specific humidity be within that column? How much transport of moist or dry air will occur into the area? What will the temperature profile be above the surface? Within the preferred layer of lifting, will the temperature profile be such that dendritic ice crystal growth will occur? The list goes on and on. One has to "guess" at the liquid equivalent and then guess the ratio of liquid to ice. And I haven't even touched on specific locations of heavier precipitation.
Anyway, here is a look at this mornings upper air map....
There were several storm systems rotating around a trough in the upper atmosphere. Unfortunately, the orientation of the systems and surface features with dry air were just not going to benefit the high plains. The cold that was associated with the upper trough was a bit stronger/colder than I would have suspected with the overall pattern. We will probably have another anomalously cold air intrusion before the growing season commences. I think that might be enough to bring a late spring frost or even freeze during the last week of April. Past that though, I would believe things will get toasty. In fact, I see a strong signal for above normal temperatures for May.
The pattern that set up during the fall has provided opportunities for weather systems to bring precipitation to the high plains. However and most unfortunately, the timing and location has been "off" for us out west. There is no reason to believe this will change until the cold season ends, although that doesn't mean one or two could bring some moisture. In that previous posting on the 11th, I mentioned two periods: " BTW, the period of March 3-10 has my attention and then again around April 20th (give or take a day or two) appears to be a period we should be concerned about. By that time, any potential storm system of significance could bring a wide variety of weather to the central U.S., including severe convective weather, a nasty dust storm, or even an April blizzard. Just a date to put on your calendar. ". I'll stand by those dates. I just hope any of those potential systems are not too far north as we'll get nothing but wind. Oh, BTW, before this period of March 3-10, look for a couple of potentially very warm days. I would not be shocked to see temperatures approaching 90 across parts of the high plains. That would certainly be bad given the dryness of the soil in some locations.
Overall I think March will average out to be above normal on temperatures and probably below normal on precipitation (despite the chance for early March).
April - likely below normal precipitation and near to below normal temperatures.
May - Very warm and likely below normal precipitation, except that with luck on timing of systems, the precipitation outlook for May could be closer to normal or even above. There is a tremendous amount of uncertainty. Fingers crossed for sure.
The current Palmer Drought Severity Index shows....
For the time of year with little demand for moisture, there hasn't been a tremendous change from previous assessments. That will, however, change dramatically later in March and April.
The forcing for our weather pattern appears to be associated within several regions of the northern hemisphere. The Madden Julian Oscillation has been a big contributor but I also see some evidence that during the past six weeks, the equatorial Pacific has been a source of contribution. I see some similarities to what was going on in early 2018. What happened then?
In 2018, the Palmer Drought Severity Index as of February...
Precipitation anomaly for January through March, 2018
March through May 2018 precipitation anomaly
Palmer Drought Severity Index by May , 2018
June, July, August 2018 precipitation anomaly...
And June through August, 2018 Palmer Drought Severity Index
Could this repeat? Again, it's all going to be timing of systems that will be present. Usually the pattern behaves a bit differently after the transition of seasons. The key this year might be can crops hang on long enough? Overall I suspect precipitation for 2022 will be below normal for most locations. But if the majority of the precipitation falls during the warm season and crops can hang on until late spring and summer, perhaps there is a bit of hope. I don't want to be totally pessimistic at this time.