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A "HOPPING" GOOD EASTER WEEKEND

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SOME SPRING IN OUR STEP...

If you have a hankering for some fine weather brothers and sisters, you have come to the right place. After a wicked week of severe weather, the atmosphere has finally worn itself out. The end result is that during its extended recovery, we find ourselves in the land of mint and honey. No rain, no storms, and plenty of mild temperatures.


We certainly earned the break with two major severe weather events already in the books with the peak of the season still two months away. The March 31st outbreak was one for the books featuring a high risk outlook from SPC (level 5 out of 5), the first to occur in Iowa since 2014. To my knowledge, it was also the first high risk ever issued for my area during the month of March. SPC eventually put the majority of the region under a PDS tornado watch (particularly dangerous situation).The day produced 165 twisters and 1001 total reports of severe weather across the central U.S.

The NWS in the Quad Cities continues with damage surveys and feels there could be as many as 25+ twisters in my area. One of those was an EF4, the strongest tornado in eastern Iowa since Parkersburg back in 2008. The NWS posted this image of the Keota EF4 taken by Hunter Fowkes. You can see 2 mesocyclones and what appears to be 2 tornadoes with a 3rd trying to form!

Long-track EF4 Tornado (Wapello-Keokuk-Washington-Johnson Counties):

  • NWS Quad Cities coordinated with a NWS Quick Response Survey Team and rated the tornado a low end EF4, with maximum winds around 170 mph.

  • There were at least 3 injuries, with no known fatalities.

  • The tornado developed northeast of Ottumwa in Wapello County Friday afternoon, then tracked northeast over 40 miles miles through Keokuk and Washington Counties, before lifting in southwest Johnson County. The tornado was on the ground for about 67 minutes. The maximum width of the tornado was around 600 yards.

  • The tornado destroyed numerous homes, farm outbuildings, farm equipment, and vehicles, and caused extensive tree damage. A farmstead north of Keota in Keokuk County had the most extreme damage rated at EF4, with a house swept clean of its foundation.

  • Near Keota, a second, weaker tornado occurred as the violent tornado was ongoing just to the north. This weaker tornado also caused some farmstead damage.

Just 4 days later the area found itself in the middle of a moderate risk assessment (level 4 of 5). All of the region was again placed under a tornado watch. Fortunately, the number of tornadoes was much less than the previous outbreak but many areas did experience significant hail. Some of the stones in the Quad Cities were 3" in diameter. A brief EF2 tornado produced damage and 120 mph winds in Colona.


Combined the 2 events produced 182 tornadoes in the center of the nation and 1479 total reports of severe weather. That is big!


Incidentally, the inflation adjusted tornado count from SPC this year is 411 through April 5th. That is just 3 short of the all-time maximum for that date. The year with the most, 414 went on to produce 1884 total tornadoes. Lets hope this is not a sign of what's ahead!.

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STORM FREE

For sure, we wont be seeing any severe weather around here for some time, let alone rain. The coming pattern will block moisture leading to a dry weather pattern. However, it will not impede warmth returning and we will get the best of both worlds, warm rain free conditions.


Here's what the 500mb jet stream flow looks like next Wednesday. There's a block in place with a ridge over the Midwest and troughs east and west. The position of the ridge sends the warmest air relative to average to the upper Midwest. Its position also blocks Gulf moisture.

Evidence of that is the 16 day precipitation departure showing well below normal rainfall for the Midwest and Ohio Valley.

In fact, the actual 16 day amounts on the GFS are roughly 1/10 of an inch (or less) in much of my area. We'll see if that trend holds. I like it for 8-10 days but after that the ridge could break down enough to get somewhat better chances of rain. One thing is for sure, farmers will be hitting the fields in preparation for the growing season.

Here's the week 1 average temperature departures for the period ending April 14th.

The week 2 departures for the period ending April 21st look like this.

That's two weeks of solid weather if guidance holds.


As for Easter weekend, Saturday and Sunday both look pleasant with mostly sunny skies and highs in the low 60s Saturday and the mid to upper 60s Easter. That should put some serious bounce in the rabbits hop!


Well then, here's to a pleasantly cool Friday and the warm-up that follows it. Roll weather...TS

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