Thursday the central Midwest will be coming out of an active week of weather that saw much above normal precipitation. Several different disturbances combined to produce as much as 5" of rain in my area, the heaviest within a 50 mile radius of the Quad Cities. Here's the 5 day rainfall estimates.
In this regional perspective you can see how focused the precipitation was on the central corn-belt
In the graphic below notice how much of that fell in the 3 day period ending Wednesday morning at 9:00 am
Below you can see the 500mb jet stream flow which contributed to the soggy conditions. The western trough and eastern ridge creating a strong baroclinic zone for convergence, lift, and storminess over the central U.S.
The next few days the pattern relaxes and turns more zonal by the weekend. That allows for a few days without the threat of heavy precipitation.
Unfortunately the trend is just temporary as the trough reloads early next week. That sets the central Midwest up for a renewed threat of heavy rains Monday-Wednesday of next week.
It's still a little early to say precisely where the axis of heaviest rains will occur but early indications are a nearly stationary front will set up shop over Iowa where it is likely to waver around as disturbances ripple along it. Monday the GFS depicts the front just north of I-80. There's is widespread CAPE (convective available potential energy) indicating instability. That points to thunderstorm development near the axis of the front. Some severe weather is possible but the most obvious concern is heavy rain.
Another key heavy rain indicator is the moisture that's pooled near the front. PWATS (precipitable water vapor) is around 1.5". You get the low level jet to work on that, especially after sunset and large convective clusters capable of 1-3" rains are not hard to generate, especially at this time of the year.
The GFS supports the idea of heavy rains next week showing these totals through next Thursday.
The Euro is further southeast with its totals looking more like this. It indicates the doubt that still exists over the exact placement of the boundary and its associated downpours.
Here's the Weather Prediction Center's 7 day rainfall forecast. All in all, its quite likely another wet period of weather is in the cards next week.
There is some positive news and that's the fact weekend temperatures should warm into the upper 60s to low 70s. It's been 9 days since our last 70 in Cedar Rapids. One thing's for sure, I'll be mowing the yard for the first time. I can't complain about that. When you can hold of until May for that first cutting it shortens the mowing season by about a month. I'm all about that! One of the few positives out of a long hard winter. Roll weather...TS