Sunday, April 29, 2007

Record Highs

Clear skies and strong winds allowed a nice influx of warm air over the state, highs that were forecasted to be in the lower to upper 80s turned out much warmer. Looking through some of the stations across the state, it seems as if highs ranged from the mid 80s to mid 90s across the state! Northwest Iowa is likely the ones to see the record breaking reports to come out for, as this area saw some of the higher temperatures today in the 90s. Previous records ranged from the upper 80s to lower 90s, official statements will likely be made tomorrow by the respective NWS offices.

Tomorrows' highs should be quite similar, with forecasts ranging from the low to mid 80s in northeast Iowa where a warm front will be south of that area and some clouds may be present. Other portions of the state look to see highs in the mid 80s to mid 90s once again, with strong winds once again pushing warm air into the area. This warm front, low pressure and eventual cold front will move across the state overnight. Forecast offices are having some trouble in dealing with the potential thunderstorm risks, as along the warm front the potential for severe weather is there. However, a strong cap in place with insufficient moisture may inhibit the chances for much of the evening. Overnight with temperatures falling, the likelihood of thunderstorms does increase over the state, but will also be gone by sunrise on Tuesday.

Personal Touch: Figured I'd add in a bit about the personal ongoings after all this is a blog about myself. Finals week is upon Iowa State, my schedule leaves me with a final on Monday, Tuesday & Thursday. Tuesdays' final in Physics is the only one that any worries are really felt, as Mondays' and Thursdays' are under control with some overviews of the last month of class. As of Thursday night, I will then once again reside in northwest Iowa for the summer months.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

An Equipment Addition

Another new equipment addition has been made before the state of the chase season gets underway. As you know, I've went into a phase of piling up new equipment this spring with the Canon XTi and its' accessories. Well, with only the kit lens on the wide angle side of things and with the opportunities I am likely to have this spring/summer storm chasing I figured why wait when I'll need it and only be bickering about not having it while I'm out chasing. So, I went ahead and pulled the trigger, buying a new wide angle lens that has been on the top of the charts for quality vs price. The Sigma 17-70 DC MACRO lens came yesterday to me and I wasted no time in getting some test shots in with it. Although there are some complaining on how the standards and quality control with Sigma aren't the best, my lens seems to be in very good shape! Fully extended the lens has no wobble, the zoom is fairly tight, which is a nice thing really; the lock feature on it to keep it from extending is great as well. I took quite a few test shots on a dollar bill, a quarter and some text on a page, all of them turning out quite sharp and focus seems to be right on the money. Another thing to mention with focus is how close you can be while focusing, I literally had the lens on the table with the object and it would still focus!! Anyway, here are a few of the test shots, with more on my Gallery Page.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Heavy Rain (Day 2)

Once again, rain showers covered most of the state today, although currently only light rain is reported in a couple of stations across the state. Flooding continues to be a concern today with continued rain, a watch remains in effect for much of southcentral Iowa. Otherwise there are several counties under Flood Warnings at this time, the central portion of the state as well as the southeast are the hardest hit at this time with flooding. Please check the Des Moines NWS Severe Summary Page for more details on which counties are under warnings/watches and the texts to go with those. For today, here are the top values for accumulation rainfall through ~9:30 PM:

KCCI Des Moines: 2.19"
Chariton Elementary: 2.03"
Ankeny: 1.98"
Muscatine: 1.87"
Grimes Elementary: 1.75"

The last two days have been full of rain however and the reports from both days have been summarized nicely by an image the NWS in Des Moines has put out with the help from the Iowa Mesonet. The image is below in thumbnail fashion, linked to the full size image...

Expect the rain to come to an end overnight or early tomorrow, with cloudy skies continuing throughout the day. Highs will once again be below normal, staying in the 50s for the most part. By the end of the week however the skies will likely clear and temperature will begin their rise to above average. Highs on Friday will be around normal, with a range in the 60s...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Heavy Rain (Day 1)

Rain started much earlier than forecasted by the models and the NWS, with rain beginning fairly early this morning throughout much of the state. It has continued to rain throughout the day, even heavier than what was previously expected by many forecasts. This heavier and more consistent rainfall has prompted several flood watches, flood statements concerning rising rivers and even some flood warnings and the heavier rains have caused some flash flooding.

Flash Flood Warnings: Cass, Adair & Guthrie counties
Flood Warnings: North Raccoon River in Jefferson, IA & Perry, IA

Today's rainfall amounts across the state for select cities across the state include .40 inches in Spencer, IA. 1.98 inches for Sioux City, IA; 0.78 in Council Bluffs, IA to cover the southwest portion of the state. 1.15" in Mason City, IA; Ames, IA with 1.11" & DMX NWS office with exactly 1" through 7 PM. Waterloo, IA has received .67"; Iowa City with .24" & Burlington in the low spot with only .02" through 7 PM as well. Using the Iowa Mesonet and the collaboration of stations across the state, here are the overall top 5 rainfall amounts for the day:

Adair Casey School: 3.46"
Carroll: 2.64"
Stuart: 2.51"
Madrid: 2.39"
Anita: 2.32"

Expect rain to continue through the night and throughout the day tomorrow, flooding conditions will likely worsen with plenty more rivers rising to their banks. Rainfall amounts should be slightly lower than today, but nonetheless still being steady and amounting fairly quickly. Rain is expected to continue through Wednesday night as well for much of the state, although western Iowa should see the rain end by sunrise. Eastern Iowa will likely see the rain end by Thursdays' sunset, clearing off for a decent day by Friday...

Monday, April 23, 2007

Heavy Rains

With some decent thunderstorms providing rainfall over the state during the weekend, the threat of heavy rains is once again in the forecast for the next system to pass over the state. A strong low pressure system will move south of the area, allowing for potentially significant severe weather over areas of the central/southern plains. But, for the state of Iowa, being just north of the low will set portions of the state up for significant rainfall.

Showers/Thunderstorms likely to begin in the southwest by late tomorrow morning, with movement northeastward allowing them to overtake much of the state by Tuesday evening. Those lucky enough to not be rained out during the day will see the rain begin overnight. These showers/thunderstorms will likely last throughout the night and into Wednesday morning, with the northern half of the state seeing an end by 10 am, however the southern half or third of the state may see rainfall linger much of the day as the low continues to spin just south/southeast of the state. The southern third of Iowa is thus likely to see the heaviest rainfall, with current forecasts of nearly 2 inches or more. Northern portions of the state will also see some significant rains, although only on the order an inch or so...

Once this system passes through, temperature on Thursday will be in the lower 60s throughout the state. Despite this day below average, temperature will continue to rise to above normal standards by the weekend. Mid 60s to lower 70s from northeast to southwest on Friday; 70s throughout the state on Saturday with the highest values once again over the western portions of the state. Finishing off the weekend, high temperatures over western Iowa will likely be in the 80s once again with the rest of the state also very warm in the 70s. Lows during this period will range in the 40s on Thursday/Friday night, warming into the upper 40s and lower to mid 50s for the weekend.

Friday, April 20, 2007

VEISHEA Forecast

This weekend is the celebration of VEISHEA here at Iowa State Univ, this year in collaboration with the universities 150th anniversary of becoming what it is today. This years' celebration features several dozen bands and other entertainment, food and activities around campus. To honor the event that is ongoing here, this post is dedicated to this weekends' forecast.

Rest of today should be pleasant with temperatures nearing the 70 degree mark by late afternoon. Winds will be brisk at 15-20, although this shouldn't affect the temperatures much when being outside. The wind will likely keep up through the night, this likely to help keep temperatures mild though in the lower 50s as concerts continue until 3 am. Tomorrows' forecast looks even better, although wind still gusting near 30mph, temperatures will rise into the upper 70s! For the concerts once again going until near 2 am early Sunday morning the temperatures should be in the mid 50s with gusty winds. Sunday will be the only concern of some adverse weather, with a potentially strong system moving into the area. Thunderstorms do seem like a decent probability during the afternoon/evening hours on Sunday. Temperatures before the storms move in are likely to be near the mid 70s, but will drop off significantly with the passing of the system into the upper 50s if not lower. This threat will likely come into better focus later, as the forecast will be quite dependent on the thunderstorms that develop further west on Saturday.

Other Concerns: Severe weather can be a threat for much of the plains this weekend, for discussion on those events I invite you to read the StormCenterUSA forums in which threads have been started to discuss each days' event. These will feature ongoing discussion to keep you updated on the severe risk throughout the weekend...

Friday, April 20 Severe Threat
Saturday, April 21 Severe Threat
Sunday, April 22 Severe Threat

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Ledges State Park

Another wonderful day across the state with sunny skies and temperatures right at normal or slightly above. With this nice weather and some free time I planned to head out to Ledges State Park which is just west of Ames and south-southeast of Boone. One of the first times I've got out with my camera and done some quality shooting. The park here is great, so great that I was only there for 2 hours and probably haven't seen a quarter of what the park has to offer. I'll likely head back sometime before the school year is over as I want to explore more and try a few other experimental shots with the creeks in the park. To view all of the pictures from todays' trip to Ledges State Park, go to my Photo Album Pages.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Still Above Average...

Despite having slightly cooler temperatures yesterday, we still remained above average for the most part. Highs ranged from 78 to 66 mainly from southeast to northwest respectively. The northwest was held down quite a bit by morning cloud cover that kept them near 50 degrees through the Noon hour, but once they cleared the temperatures quickly shot up thanks to the ever stronger sun. Todays' highs are forecasted to be in the upper 50s and upper 60s across the state, a quick look at the currents shows mid 50s to mid 60s already in place and thus expect that the forecasted highs may be on the low end once again. Not much else in terms of the currents, overall a couple of very nice spring days that we've gone through lately and that looks to continue...

Forecast: The first system moving into the area should begin to make its' presence tomorrow as a band of cloud cover works over the state during the day. This will likely hold temperatures down to near normal and even a little below normal in some areas of the state. While normals are still in the lower 60s to mid 60s, Thursday will only see mid 50s to mid 60s. This system has the chance to bring some precip with it as a warm front lifts over the state, however as mentioned in the Des Moines forecast discussion the threat doesn't look that great and they are being fairly generous with the chances. If it does rain, it will likely occur overnight Thursday with a few sprinkles maybe early Friday in the east. Lows will be fairly mild thanks to cloud cover, with 40s found throughout the state.

Friday will see the return of warm flow into the state, with temperatures rising into the mid 60s and low 70s with clear skies. This flow continues to increase on Saturday, putting highs in the range of 70s throughout. Lows during this period will be mild as well, with upper 40s and lower 50s on Friday night; Saturday night has lows in the 50s. The increased highs on Saturday will also come with the risk of rain overnight as moisture increases ahead of the next system. Western sections of the state will likely see rain during the late night hours with rain/thunderstorms working across the state on Sunday. Highs Sunday look to be in the mid 60s to mid 70s dependent on the timing of rain moving through. Severe weather is still not out of the question with the storms Saturday night & Sunday, however some issues still remain and will not get into those details quite yet.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Almost Hot... Almost...

Yesterday saw the temperatures skyrocket, well above even some of the forecasted highs for the day. The sun came out in full force will completely blue skies and it showed its' strength by quickly pushing temperatures up to the forecasted highs by early afternoon. This left a couple of hours of heating that warmed the state to the low 80s in some areas, while others still struggled a bit, only in the low 70s. Normal highs for the day yesterday range from 58-65 degrees, instead the spread of highs yesterday were 66-83! The lowest values of the day were found in eastern Iowa where Davenport area had reports of 69 & 66. Northeast Iowa found itself in the lower 70s, with the rest of southeast Iowa in the mid 70s. Central Iowa actually had its' higher temperatures in the northern sections, where the Fort Dodge area saw 76-78 for the range of high temperatures. The rest of central Iowa saw the mid 70s, with the lowest actually in Lamoni with a value of 72. Western Iowa was the winner, with highs in the upper 70s and lower 80s across the area. Highest values once again coming in the north actually, with Sheldon reaching the peak of 83, hottest in the state! Those values in northwest Iowa were actually some of the hottest in the nation, warmer than Texas & even Florida!!

Today some clouds in the state are keeping the sun from its' full power or in the northwest, from even showing at all. Lower 60s are currently shown in much of the southern and eastern sections of the state, northwest Iowa however is under a thicker cloud layer and only has temperatures in the mid 50s and even a couple reports only near 50 degrees. These temperatures should still rise a couple more degrees in the afternoon and allow for another day of above normal temperatures across most of the state. My weather station near Terril, IA reported a high of 78 yesterday and is currently sitting at 55 after a low last night of 42.

Forecast: Dry forecast through Thursday, with highs tomorrow in the upper 50s to the upper 60s from northeast to southwest. Highs Thursday should be a couple of degrees cooler from Wednesday, ranging from mid 50s to mid 60s. Lows during this time frame should be within the mid 30s in the northeast to mid 40s in the southwest. Thursday night will enter our first risk of showers and thunderstorms as we begin a more active pattern, precipitation chances should remain in the forecast through early Friday afternoon in the east. Lows Thursday night will be milder thanks to cloud cover, upper 30s to upper 40s across the state. Friday will see a return of southerly winds likely to help the high temps rise to the upper 60s in the west & central portions of the state. Some morning clouds in the east will keep temperatures down somewhat, but still into the 60s. A stronger wave is likely to effect the area over the weekend, the threat of severe weather is not out of the question. Above normal temperatures are still expected through the weekend, details will be mentioned later in the week.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Wonderful Week Ahead!!

After last weeks' episode of winter mother nature is going to make up for her seasonal mistake, by providing us with above normal temperatures throughout much of the week across the state. Today saw clear skies throughout the state, with high temperatures ranging from 62 degrees to even a couple readings of 70. Tomorrow should be much the same, with even an increase in highs by an average of 5 degrees. Yes, that means highs tomorrow across the state should range from the mid 60s to the mid 70s! With once again, no precipitation, just nice clear blue skies.

A weak wave will enter the picture late Monday into Tuesday, this likely providing some cloud cover over the state that will keep highs down to more of a normal range. Not enough moisture is likely to be in place for this system, as well as the fact that it will be fairly weak will lead to the lack of actual precipitation over the state. Once this system moves through, temperatures will take a day to recover, with highs on Wednesday also being close to normal range of mid 50s to mid 60s. Lows should be above freezing, although still chilly when in the mid 30s to mid 40s. Thursday will see the temperatures as well as moisture begin to return to the area, even stronger than before with southerly winds ahead of the next system. Highs from 60-70 seem reasonable on Thursday, with the mid 60s to lower 70s on Friday and then the warmest day on Saturday as of the current forecast with a range of mid 60s to at least mid 70s, although a few upper 70s may not be out of the question. Sunday currently as highs just slightly lower than Saturday, this is due to the discrepancy of models in how the strongest system will move through during the weekend. To focus more on this, one weak system will likely move through on Thursday night/Friday bringing a small chance of showers/thunderstorms. A much stronger system will then move into the picture on Saturday and Sunday, as a warm front moves north over the state on Saturday, likely causing thunderstorms. Sunday will see the low pressure system potentially move over the state, pulling through the actual cold front and a possible triple point setup over the region. These two days in the weekend currently hold some potential for severe weather, with at least a good chance of general thunderstorms. More details on this system as it comes into focus, for now it's time to enjoy the warm spring temperatures!

Friday, April 13, 2007

Recap of 4/10 - 4/11 Snow

Snows were quick to accumulate over portions of northern Iowa during the two day event, with other accumulations occurring as far south as I80. Des Moines set a new record for highest daily snowfall for a single day in April. No other records were broken that I am aware of, however other areas did come close to breaking the same record. As for the snow totals from this storm, first from the Sioux Falls CWA (northwest Iowa):

The FSD Storm Totals Snow Graphic shows the heaviest band of snowfall over extreme northern Iowa and southern Minnesota, where although just over 10 inches of snow may have fell significantly less actually accumulated and stayed on the ground. Jackson, MN received 8 inches of snow, with Ocheyden, IA with 7 inches. Several other areas in Dickinson/Clay counties received 6 inches of snow or slightly more... Out of the Des Moines area, Estherville reported 7 inches of snow actually accumulated. Mason City also reported just over 5 inches actually accumulated, various other amounts occurred throughout the state. Despite some of the more significant amounts that accumulated, most of the snow is now melted across the central third of the state. The northern third of Iowa may still have snow on the ground, but by the end of tomorrow if not by sunrise the snow will be nearly gone. Leaving behind the green grass that should once again begin to grow and have the look of spring.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

4/10 - 4/11 Winter Storm (Update #4)

Snow continues over the state into the early afternoon hours, although some areas of eastern Iowa and southwestern Iowa may still be seeing rainfall at this time. Advisories/Warnings remain the same over the state, although total accumulations have been backed down some. The accumulations aren't taking place quite as quick as they thought, seemingly the soil temperatures have stayed just warm enough to keep snow from accumulating rapidly. Northern portions of the state will still be looking at 4-8 inches, however the central third may only be looking at 1-4 inches instead of the previously forecasted 3-6. The snow is expected to weaken by tonight, with western Iowa seeing the snow end by 10 PM, central Iowa by 1 am and by sunrise tomorrow the snow should be out of eastern Iowa as well.

Latest reports include Mason City with 5 inches, Forest City with 4 inches. Out of the FSD forecast area, areas including in the heavy snow warning report 6-7 inches this morning. Just north of the border, Jackson, MN reported 8 inches of snowfall. These amounts will likely increase this afternoon adding on a few more inches before snow ends.

Once this storm departs the area, we finish off the week with temperatures in the 30s and 40s for highs, 20s and 30s for lows. The previous mentioned system that might affect the area on Friday has trended well south and doesn't look to be much of a concern at the moment now. Once that system is completely out of the plains by Sunday, the warm air surges northward and our highs look to increase dramatically by next week. A better look ahead once this system has ended and moved on...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

4/10 - 4/11 Winter Storm (Update #3)

Snow has continued over much of the northwestern half of the state this evening, with some snow totals coming in this evening. The northwest corner of Iowa looks to have 3-6 inches of snowfall already in place, much of the rest of the northern half of the state should begin to see the snow begin or changeover to snow later tonight or early tomorrow morning. No major changes to the forecast as far as totals go or the track of this system, thus not much else to talk about. Hopefully by tomorrow morning there will be some good snowfall reports coming in and give an idea of how strong this system may truly be.

4/10 - 4/11 Winter Storm (Update #2)

Once again with a strengthening trend to the system and increasing cold air returning from the northwest, the snowfall forecast has increased and thus changes have been made to advisories/watches and now warnings! Areas of Iowa along the Minnesota border have the potential for nearly a foot of snow by the end of Wednesday. Other areas in the northern third of the state will see over a half foot of snowfall during the same time period. Even along a rough line of Sioux City to Ames to Davenport and northward are expected to see over 3 inches of snow and are in some sort of winter storm advisory. Areas just south of that line may still see snowfall, however under 3 inches is expected and thus no advisories have been issued for them. Travel conditions even with small amounts of snowfall will be treacherous, as slick conditions will prevail.

Currently, rain showers over the southern half of the state are underway. While snowfall has continued over the northwest corner of the state, mainly moderate although in Sioux Falls heavy snow was reported at 4 PM. Expect precipitation to increase overnight, with areas in the northern third of the state to see this change over to snow overnight. The rest of the state will see a changeover to snow during the morning hours tomorrow, with continuing snowfall throughout the day.

As for the latest on Advisories/Warnings across the state:

Snow Advisory -- Northwest Iowa
Heavy Snow Warning -- Northwest Iowa
Winter Storm Warning -- Northcentral & Northeast Iowa
Snow & Blowing Snow Advisory -- Central Iowa
Winter Weather Advisory -- East-Central Iowa

4/10 - 4/11 Winter Storm (Update #1)

This mornings' model runs were completed a couple of hours ago and an interesting trend has taken place. Nearly every model runs went with a slightly strong low pressure system, thus heavier precipitation & nearly every model slid the cold air and system overall just a bit south. The heaviest snowfall is still expected across northern Iowa, as well as southern MN/eastern SD and further along the WI/IL border. This area has the potential for some very heavy periods of snow as well as significant accumulations by the end of tomorrow afternoon. Currently, Snow Advisories and Winter Storm Watches have been issued for the northern third of the state with the potential of 6-10 inches of snowfall within the next 30 hours. This mornings' models are within this range, although some slightly higher in localized areas and others are slightly weaker with the snowfall amounts.

With the southern trend for this system however, this means that the central third of the state will likely have more snowfall potential. A line from Sioux City to the Quad Cities is likely to be the main line of accumulating snowfall. Just south of this line, some snowfall overnight and tomorrow may be seen, although less than an inch of accumulation is expected. Other areas in between those mentioned above will see 2-5 inches of snowfall mainly during the day tomorrow.

Next update expected late tonight with updated forecast and snowfall amounts received.

4/10 - 4/11 Winter Storm

Although the storm isn't completely winter, with a majority of the state seeing mainly rain throughout the duration of it. The headlines of the storm are going to be the potentially heavy and significant snows in the northern portion of the state. This morning has snow falling over mainly the northwest portion of Iowa, with moderate to heavy snow at times in areas of Estherville, Spencer & even Algona early this morning. This is expected to continue and increase in coverage during the day today and throughout the nighttime hours especially. In response to the expected heavy snowfall and potentially significant accumulations across the northern portion of the state the NWS has issued a couple of advisories/watches over the area.

Northwest Iowa -- Snow Advisory
Northeast Iowa -- Winter Storm Watch

As for the rest of the state, mainly rain showers expected throughout the afternoon as temperatures are just high enough to deter the snow from falling. However, by tonight and the temperatures fall there is the potential for snowfall across at least the northern half of the state. The central third of the state however is not likely to see accumulations as the snow will be fairly short lived and not heavy. Morning model runs indicate that the rain/snow line has not changed much, although precipitation may be slightly heavier than previous runs. Snow forecasts have not been completed yet, however areas that are under an advisory/watch are still likely to see the heaviest snow amounts. Expect updates throughout the day and tomorrow as the forecast changes and snowfall amounts begin to come in...

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Winter Returns?

The past couple of days have featured chilly temperatures with gusty winds, producing some very cold wind chills over the state. Yesterday's temperatures ranged from the mid 30s to upper 20s for highs, with lows yesterday morning in the mid 20s and mid-teens! This morning saw even colder temperatures across the state, from 13 in Estherville to 21 in Burlington. At least the highs today are warming up nicely, currently mid 30s to near 40 degrees across Iowa.

Besides the temperature difference from the previous weeks, another difference that will likely be occurring is a change in precipitation mode. Midweek last week into the weekend saw some areas of the state report light snow, this will likely occur once again with even some heavy snow possibilities. This system looks to come into play starting already on Monday and continuing into Wednesday. Models are indicating the potential for accumulating snow and the NWS is agreeing with this possibility, the bigger question is how much accumulation?? Difference in soil temperatures and rate of snowfall could change the forecast quite easily; some models show heavy band of snowfall putting down up to a foot of snow across the state while others are only putting down a couple of inches. Either way, it is a sight that a lot of people will likely not enjoy as 'spring' was already declared when highs were reaching the 70s and 80s only two weeks ago. Updates on this challenging forecast will hopefully be made early next week and as the system really bears down on the state.

Once this system passes, the next strong system isn't too far behind. Scheduled to effect the state starting on Thursday night and into Friday, thankfully this one doesn't look to have winter precipitation. Rather more of a springtime storm, with the potential of severe weather already being mentioned by Des Moines NWS. This system will have plenty of time to come into focus and look for it to be explained better in later posts...

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Storms Move Through

In the early nighttime hours last night storms quickly developed along the aforementioned warm front in previous posts. These storms began showing up near 9 PM and quickly developed into elevated thunderstorms capable of large hail. Lightning was prevalent throughout the skies last night around these storms, I did manage to head north of Ames and capture some shots of the distant lightning.

April 2 Lightning Gallery

Reports came in with these storms as they slowly made their way east/northeast into the nighttime hours. These storms began to weaken by 11 PM where most of the warnings were canceled for the cells in northern Iowa. However, by 1 AM another line was making its' way into the state that featured strong winds and did produce some warnings in southwest and southcentral Iowa. This line, along with other storms that formed in central Iowa moved off by sunrise and were nearly out of the state. Some lingering showers/thunderstorms in southeast Iowa remained. However, by Noon today only the extreme southeast corner of the state still had some light showers in their vicinity. Otherwise the rest of the state remains cloudy, with chilly temperatures or with chilly temperatures on their way. Currently the temperature range is from the lower 30s in northwest Iowa to the mid 60s in southeast Iowa, however winds from the northwest are picking up dramatically bringing in the cold air to those parts of the state that aren't quite yet in it.

Monday, April 2, 2007

Severe Potential (4/2)

SPC has positioned a slight risk area directly over the state today, with the risk of large hail and isolated tornadoes. Warm front, currently just south of the state should move into the southern portion of the state late this afternoon. Strong heating gradient along this feature, with moisture return along and south of the front as well should setup the potential for surface based storms by this evening. With sufficient shear, rotating updrafts will be likely, enhancing the threat for large hail. Along the warm front, low level shear should be enhanced and thus an isolated tornado threat is also placed along the southern third of Iowa dependent on the exact location of the front. A decent cap will be over the area as well, so initiation of storms is somewhat questionable at this time.

By early nighttime hours, a shortwave coming in from the west will likely begin to affect the area as well. This will give the area sufficient lift for thunderstorm activity, not only along the front, but north of the front as well. North of the warm front, where surface instability will be lacking; elevated thunderstorms with large hail will be the main threat. Along the front, potential may still exist for surface based storms and thus a small tornado threat also exists in the early nighttime hours. Otherwise large hail will also be the most significant threat along the warm front as well.

Timing is a key in todays' setup, although either way thunderstorm activity should occur tonight over much of the state with severe storms possible. Thunderstorms may come in two rounds over some portions of the state, with severe weather being possible in both.

Chase Forecast: Chasing is not out of the question currently, dependent on warm front positioning and chase partners.

Sunday, April 1, 2007

3/31 Storms -- Another Round Expected

Yesterday saw the strong low pressure system work into the area and produce numerous showers and thunderstorms over the state. Some of which were severe and even tornado warned throughout the afternoon. Storm reports from the state mainly conclude that large hail and damaging winds were the main threats with the storms. Several of the storms had small hail with them, largest report in the state came in at 1.5 inches. Damaging winds were apparent with a line that moved through portions of central/eastern Iowa, no significant damaging wind reports were received. There were nearly a dozen or so tornado warnings issued yesterday for storms that showed rotation within the lower levels. None of those storms in Iowa ended up producing a tornado, however there were several reports of funnels with these storms that attempted to make it to the ground.

I did head out for a little joyride around Ames yesterday in the late afternoon as a broken line of showers/thunderstorms were heading over. Did get some slight rotation with the storm as it tried to get things together. But, nothing significant appeared throughout the storms life, although a fellow chaser did report a funnel spotter near Ames just as I was heading out. Shot a few pictures of the storm more as a test to the camera than to capture something interesting.

March 31 Gallery Page

As for the work week ahead, warm temperatures make their way in one last push tomorrow with highs in the upper 50s to the lower 70s from north to south. A strong cold front will push across the state during the evening hours and produce some thunderstorm activity across the state, a small severe threat exists with the current forecast. By Tuesday you can really see the fronts' movement across the state with the northwest only reaching the lower 40s for highs with the southeast still potentially seeing some 60 degree readings before the front passes through. Wednesday and Thursday have temperatures ranging from 40 to 50 across the state, lows during that time expected in the 20 to 30 range. By the end of the week some moderation in temperatures begins with highs from the mid 40s to mid 50s and lows begin to stay just above freezing.