A LONG STRANGE JOURNEY...
There's no doubt about it, our weather has been on a long strange journey the past few months. After being consistently dry most of April, May, and June, the rains have returned the past couple weeks allowing some bright shades of green to show up in my yard for the first time since Mid-May. I like that color!
For the 3rd consecutive day, showers and storms again roamed parts of the area Friday. We even experienced a severe thunderstorm watch with a number of warnings issued. However, severe weather was limited but the juicy air mass produced some localized heavy rain where storms went up. Here's Friday's rainfall estimates. There's a nice swath of 1-2" rains from Oelwein to near the Quad Cities.
Throw in the scattered storms of Thursday and the 2 day rainfall totals ending Friday are even better.
Introduce Wednesday's totals to the picture and you get a widespread beneficial rainfall event that was appreciated by many. Numerous places accumulated 2-5 inches over the 3 day period.
Considering the latest drought outlook showed moderate to severe drought across the entire region this event was a godsend.
Before the rains of the past two weeks, the persistent dry pattern restricted moisture levels and with the lack of humidity some unusual temperature swings were noted. Daytime highs were warm with the dry air heating up during the long hours of sunshine. However, at night the dry air and lack of cloud cover made it susceptible to strong radiational cooling. Many a night was spent in the 40s and low 50s. Below you can see during our dry stretch from April to July there were significantly more nights with below normal lows than above.
Conversely, daytime highs were consistently above normal thanks to the ability of the dry air to heat up. It's unusual to hold a pattern such as this for such a long period of time.
For roughly the next 7 days, temperatures are likely to average below normal as we transition to an upper air flow that is strongly NW in orientation. Here's the evolving 500mb jet on Sunday. With a trough like that be thankful it's not January or we would be chilling out big time. That is seriously impressive energy for mid-July!
Take a peak at these lows projected Monday morning around the Midwest. That looks more like early September than mid-July.
Overall, the 7 day temperature departures (July 15-22nd) are running about 5 degrees below normal per day. If you are going to see a cool air mass of such magnitude, now (the hottest time of the year) is when you want to feel it. The coolest air comes Monday and Tuesday when 70s look likely.
As for the weekend ahead, we won't be able to rid ourselves of rain chances due to the cyclonic flow around the 500mb low over the northcentral U.S. Due to cool air aloft, high lapse rates combined with bouts of vorticity (energy) passing through the flow will have the ability to trigger additional showers and storms on a scattered basis. Most of Saturday looks dry but by Sunday another cool front should bring rain chances areawide, especially later in the day and evening. That's the front that brings the 70s early next week. Monday looks to be a comparatively dry day with rain chances returning again Tuesday.
Highs both Saturday and Sunday should be generally be in the low to mid 80s before the cooling of Monday and Tuesday. Have a sensational weekend and enjoy the long strange journey that is our summer. Roll weather...TS
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