IT'S MAY, LET THE STORMS BEGIN...
The devil is in the details but an active period of weather is expected to unfold across the central U.S. this week. A multi-day severe weather outbreak is anticipated Tuesday through Thursday that could impact parts of my area, especially Wednesday and Thursday.
This is a very dynamic system and it will bring all modes of severe weather, including tornadoes for some. Here's what the Storm Prediction Center has outlined for risk areas the next 2 days.
Thursday also has some decent potential and that's a day when the southern half of my area could get in on the more organized activity as the storm center ejects out of the Plains. Until then the greatest threat extends from SW Iowa into Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma.
If nothing else, the rain that's expected to fall will be beneficial for many parts of the central Midwest where some cities just experienced their driest April on record. In Cedar Rapids we ended the month with just .43". That's 3" below average and an all-time record for the month.
Iowa City also joined the driest April party.
Waterloo and Dubuque fared better but both cities still ended ended up well below normal.
The dryness even produced something I've never seen before, especially in Nebraska. A dust storm warning! Visibilities west of Lincoln were frequently near zero with gusts as high as 50 MPH.
Here's some pictures from Nebraska Monday afternoon. Parts of I-80 were closed for a time.
The wind and dust was evident around Iowa and my local area where it was kicked up by farmers working in the bare fields.
For the past 13 days no rain has been measured around much of my area. That and extremely dry air has produced afternoon humidity levels around 15-30 percent the past week. The dry air is known for heating up rapidly and Monday with the strong southerly winds and sunshine, temperatures really took off. After a low of 49 in Cedar Rapids the high soared to 84 degrees. Every reporting station in Iowa reached the 80s making this the warmest day of 2018.
Over the next 24-48 hours moisture is expected to steadily increase and you can see PWATS (precipitable water values) are over 1.5" by Wednesday.
Dew points will reach the 60s. For the first time this year muggy conditions will visit the central Midwest.
Depending on outflow boundaries from rounds of convection, a front will waver around some part of Iowa or northern Illinois. It will determine where the heaviest rains occur but widespread amounts of 1-2 inches are possible.
The latest GFS shows this for rainfall through the remainder of the week. Due to the nature of thunderstorms amounts will most likely be quite variable.
Slowly but surely the pattern becomes more active and potentially stormy. It's that time of year. Roll weather...TS