The Haves and Have-Nots Won't Be Trading Places Any Time Soon
4/12/2011, 7:30:29 AM
Tuesday, 11:45 a.m.
While the title may lead some to speculate I've gone political, no, that's not the case! I'm referring to the current state of moisture across the country, and the fact that those who have plenty of it will continue to stay very moist, and those who are dry and very likely to remain dry for some time to come.
The short term picture, courtesy of NOAA and NESDIS, plainly tells the story as we move deeper into the growing season:
In keeping with the drought side of the equation, there are five current wildfires in New Mexico and nine more in Texas. They've managed to extinguish them in Colorado of late, but there's not been much moisture there, and if the storm developing tomorrow night and Thursday over southeastern Colorado out into Kansas produces 20- to 30-mph winds with gusts to 50 mph as expected later Thursday across parts of Colorado out into Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, the threat of fires will escalate rather dramatically.
Looking farther out, there's little room for optimism for any significant moisture in most of this area into, if not through, the weekend. There is some hope of a trough digging far enough into the Southwest and southern Rockies early next week to bring some moisture to Colorado and to produce scattered showers and maybe thunderstorms over central and especially eastern Texas, but the verdict is still out on that system. Right now, I'm hesitant to bring hope to a parched land.
Contrast that to the excessive moisture from Pennsylvania into the Midwest and across a good portion of the Dakotas into the northern Rockies and the Northwest, and the prospects for more wet (not necessarily all rain, mind you) are very high across the board over the next week.
Up first is the storm moving slowly from the central Appalachians to New England in the next 36 hours. Rain is already soaking portions of eastern Kentucky, southern Ohio, West Virginia and Virginia into Pennsylvania, and that will expand northeastward with time, bringing locally heavy rain to portions of southern and eastern New England later tonight and tomorrow. Thankfully, the heaviest rain will avoid the areas of upstate New York to western Maine, where the threat of flooding is ongoing thanks to the spring snowmelt.
There won't be much time to dry things out there before the next storm rolls in Friday night and Saturday. It is part of the same storm that will generate all of the wind from Colorado to Texas Thursday into Thursday night. To the north, though, it will be cold and wet. Cold enough, in fact, that snow is likely across the Dakotas into parts of Minnesota and Wisconsin with the storm. All across the northern Plains and Midwest, precipitation totals with this late-week storm could easily exceed an inch, and with the ongoing flooding in some areas from central Montana to Minnesota (again, a lot of this due to spring snowmelt), the risk of flooding will be even higher.
It's not like we're going to see a break in these areas. As I alluded to early, another trough will dive into the West and Rockies by early next. That's almost certain to generate another strong storm on the central Plains, one that could produce a lot of rain (and perhaps snow in some areas) from there on to the east and northeast. Much of that will likely end up in already water-logged areas.
Implied in all of this is the fact that the jet stream isn't retreating to the north any time soon. That means the warmth that spiked into the East yesterday after building across the eastern Rockies and across the Plains over the preceding three days is going to have a tough time getting that far north again any time soon. It will likely be warmer than normal most of the time from New Mexico to the Gulf Coast region, but the farther north you go, the cooler it will be, with areas from the Appalachians back to the northern Rockies and the Northwest bearing the brunt of the mid-April chill going forward:
Those are the latest GFS ensemble forecasts for all of next week combined - a lot of blue means plenty of chill. It's a pattern that is making it awfully difficult to get out and do needed yard work or do training, as I'm trying to do! But, as they say, the 'show must go on', and on it shall go.
It will get warmer. Consistently. I promise. Sometime soon. Like May. Or June.
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