© 2019 Terry Swails

LOOKING FOR CONSISTENCY...

April 29, 2018

If there is one thing for certain about spring in the Midwest, it's that nothing is certain. Take April temperatures for example. The first 19 days of the month we're pretty darn fresh. Here in Cedar Rapids lows were mainly in the teens and 20s and highs 30s and 40s. That 19 day stretch temperatures averaged 13 below normal making it the coldest start ever to the month of April. For good measure we also picked up 6" of snow.

 

Then the switch was flipped and the next 7 days were spent in the 60s and 70s. Quite a turn around and a welcome one at that.

The one thing that's been consistent for much of my area is dryness, It's been 10 days since any rain in Cedar Rapids and only 0.43" precipitation has been measured the entire month. At the moment I don't have access to the numbers for driest April's here but I'm quite sure this year will end up in the top 5.

 

That brings me to the topic of the next rain and it appears there's a reasonable chance of some beneficial amounts in the Tuesday-Friday time frame. Hopefully, it will settle the dust. Last Friday the combination of gusty winds and farmers working in the fields sent the dust flying lowering visibility, especially in the open country. 

 

Coming rain chances revolve around a slow moving storm system that will gradually eject out of the southern Rockies. You can see the southwest flow that gets established early next week at 500mb.

That will allow warmth and moisture to enter the weather pattern over the central Midwest. By Tuesday dew points in the 60s should reach into Iowa and Illinois. The highest levels of the year so far. Here's Tuesday's forecast dew points.

By Thursday they look like this.

With a wavering boundary cutting through Iowa or northern Missouri it's likely to be the focus for energy rippling out of the SW that triggers showers and thunderstorms. The exact positioning of the front will be critical to where the stronger storms and heavier rains set-up. Already there is some run to run variability in the models but some part of the central Midwest is likely to see 1-2" totals, perhaps more in select spots. The latest run of the EURO shows this for rain through Friday.

Here's a regional perspective.

Clearly the potential for beneficial rains exist but it's still 3 days away from happening and just too early to nail the final position of the front and the heavy rain axis. We'll have some answers soon. Until then, roll weather...TS

 

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