A GOOD RAIN WITH MORE ON THE WAY
Hey everyone! Figured I'd start off by introducing myself as I'm taking over for the week here on the TSwails.com blog. I'm Nick Stewart, a meteorologist at KGAN in Cedar Rapids, and had the privilege of working and learning from Chief Swails. I've been doing this weather thing since 2015, a graduate of Western Illinois University, and a Chicago native. I've been living in eastern Iowa since 2017 and chose to live and work in this market as the Iowa is the most extreme out of anywhere in the US. Between the severe weather and winter storms, with flooding to watch, Iowa is weather heaven and I wanted to try and make a difference by educating people about the weather, and keeping them safe from the weather.
Alright, let's get to the weather!
I want to start off with this map showing the forecast rain for Monday/Tuesday with the current drought condition overlaid on top. It's a bit messy, but tells a good story. While eastern Iowa is not picking up much, areas that truly need the rain are getting in on the action. Areas of 1-3" of rainfall are forecast to hit areas in Moderate to Extreme Drought - very good news! We'll get a better handle on the overall precipitation tomorrow morning after it's all said and done, but either way, we'll take what we can get.
The Quad Cities area and northwest Illinois likely will not see a drop of rain from this event.
Current soil moisture is far below normal in central and western Iowa. For areas like Sioux City (which picked up 1.89" of rain as of 5 p.m. Monday!!!) are in the fifth-percentile, or in the top-five percent of driest years on record. The best part about the rainfall is that it's not a torrential dumping either, but rather a steady rain which will do wonders for the fields allowing them to drink it up with minimal runoff.
Now, moving on, late Tuesday the bulk of the rain and cloud cover clears the area. This will set us up for an exceptional Wednesday and Thursday with a good amount of sunshine and temperatures near normal in the low 80s.
Forecast highs Wednesday (above) show widespread upper 70s. This may be a few degrees too cool, but I think it gets the general idea well.
Thursday highs a few degrees warmer, pushing near 80/low 80s. Again, this may be a bit cool but the overall idea is in the right direction.
The end of the work week and into the weekend has more of an 'autumn' feel to the atmosphere. An Upper-Level Low will likely develop and sit over the area for a few days. This will bring a cool "showery" pattern. Right now, I think highs in the upper 70s will be a good starting point for Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but this may need to be revised a few degrees cooler pending just how stubborn the cloud cover will be.
The rain Friday and Saturday could be another perfect, soaking rain. Looking at historical events, the setup late this week will favor potential for widespread 0.5"-1.0" of rainfall. There is a bullseye of 90% probability of 0.5" in eastern Iowa based on the top 15 analogs.
The Cedar Rapids temperature chart off the European Ensemble shows temperatures generally a few degrees below normal for the next two weeks.
The Quad Cities chart tells a similar story. This is the play in the days ahead, but again the weekend could be a few degrees cooler than this forecast due to that persistent cloud cover. Once we get within 48 hours of the rain Friday, the temperature story should be much clearer.
Alright friends! That does it for me today, let's do it again tomorrow. I'm taking over during a pretty benign stretch of weather which is kinda boring, but I'll do my best to try and add a unique perspective while I'm here.
Also meet my sidekick, Stormy the Storm Chasing Corgi. He'll be adding his insight on the weather story as well :)