Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Quiet Weather Continues...

Mainly sunny skies and slowly warming temperatures have been the story thus far this week. And this looks to continue through the remainder of the week given current forecasts. A disturbance is expected to develop in the lee of the Rockies on Friday, leaving areas of Kansas, Nebraska, and South Dakota with a chance of showers through the day on Friday. This low will push off into the Plains on Saturday, continuing the chance of showers for areas of Kansas, Missouri, and southern portions of Nebraska and Iowa. There will be enough cold air to see more wintery precipitation for areas of northern Nebraska and northern Iowa, along with adjacent areas of the Dakotas and Minnesota.

As this system exits to the Great Lakes, our next wave of energy will moving across the Rockies and likely resulting in a new low pressure along the front range in Colorado. With the previous low sliding well north compared to previous storms, ample southerly flow is expected across the southern and central Plains. This means warm temperatures and increasing moisture across much of the Plains. Temperatures may reach above normal levels for the first time in several months for areas of the central Plains, with 50s and 60s likely on Sunday and Monday. These above average temperatures may be short-lived as the low pressure will begin to enter the Plains and bring widespread precipitation chances. The timing and exact track of the surface low, along with the strength of the upper-level features continue to be in question. The latest GFS runs have actually began to decrease the intensity of the closed low aloft.  Nonetheless, discussion continues about the potential for the first good severe weather event for the Plains states which at this time would appear to occur over portions of western Texas/Oklahoma, and perhaps Kansas depending upon the surface low track. The talk also continues about the potential for a strong winter storm, with ample moisture if the low can bring down enough cold air we could see a strong deformation zone filled with snowfall across parts of the northern Plains. Given a forecasted strong pressure gradient, wind speeds would also be in the 20+ mph range and likely result in widespread blowing snow. Many questions remain for this storm system, and as mentioned previously is the main talk as we enjoy sunny skies and warm temperatures.