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A TALE OF TWO STORMS...

A little storm brought some big results to parts of my area overnight. Showers and some strong thunderstorms erupted along the confluence of a potent low level jet and a nearly stationary front draped out close to I-80. Not only were there bands of downpours and heavy rain, some of the stronger updrafts spit out some decent hail and vivid lightning. Several thunderstorm warnings were issued. A sure sign of spring in the Midwest. While some areas saw rains greater than an inch, other spots saw little if any. Feast or famine.


By daybreak Saturday, the worst of the weather has shifted east as a low pressure wave streaks towards Chicago. High pressure approaching from the NW drives the front out of the region and will have it centered in Missouri Saturday night. Even with the return of northerly winds, temperatures won't change much, with highs ranging from the mid 50s up north to the mid 60s in the south. That's actually close to normal, making for a decent Saturday.


Saturday night, the front in Missouri begins to inch north as a warm front. It really comes into play Easter Sunday when warm moist air over-runs it. That results in an abundance of clouds around my region, bringing cool easterly winds in play. The bigger question is whether or not rain can advance into my area Sunday. The EURO shows enough dry air in place to keep the bulk of the showers well to the south, mainly south of HWY 34. The GFS is far more aggressive, forcing the light rain and showers almost to HWY 30 in central Iowa. I suspect with the low levels as dry as the EURO shows, the worst of the (light rain) ends up confined to my far southern counties. Worst case scenario, it gets close to I-80. It also appears that what falls should be mainly in the morning, with a drying trend until later afternoon or evening. Here's what the EURO shows for rain totals Sunday.



How far the rain advances and the amount of dry air will also dictate temperatures Easter Sunday. The GFS with its wetter solution is very chilly with highs mainly in the upper 40s. The EURO allows some filtered sunshine in the north and gets highs in many areas close to 60. I generally don't like east winds for warming unless there is ample sunshine. Thus, I think a compromise might be best here with mostly cloudy skies, some rain south, and highs generally 52-58, coolest where clouds are thicker. If I get beat on the warm side, I'll happily take the hit. Sunday night, rain chances increase, more on that below.


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A TRICKY STORM AHEAD...

It's been four consecutive days now, and I'm still seeing no sign of agreement between models with regard to how a healthy looking storm evolves early next week. The GFS and EURO are in two different worlds, and it's all due to the handling of energy that feeds into the Midwest from the northern and southern branches of the jet. I am amazed at how both models remain staunch in their depictions. I would have expected some sort of merger or tendency for one solution to become dominate. So far, none of that business.


Bottom line, our next precipitation event remains very much open to interpretation. Once again, the primary issue is phasing, how much energy gets bundled into the storm from the northern and southern branches of the jet. The EURO is more split and far more progressive, sending its precipitation through the Midwest Monday. See how its 500mb structure sets up.



Compare that to the GFS below. It's far more aggressive with the southern stream. Notice the closed 500mb low and the consolidation of energy over Iowa.


The injection of colder air on the GFS creates a larger, slower moving disturbance with the potential for heavier rain and even some snow, a consistent look of the GFS the past 4 days. Look at the snow the GFS still cranks out late Monday night, Tuesday morning. I keep expecting that to evaporate...and yet here we are!



At the same time the GFS is reaching peak intensity Tuesday morning, the EURO is rather quiet, showing a more progressive (faster) solution that ends precipitation. It's not a big concession, but the EURO has made a slight move towards the GFS with more development in the southern stream. Even so, it doesn't change the end game much.


The fact remains, I've been waiting for one of these models to man up and show a trend toward the other, and so far after 4 days I'm still waiting. This continues to be a phasing issue, and sooner or later data is going to improve to the point where one solution becomes dominate. Until that happens, this is a low confidence period for timing and precipitation totals and type.


No matter what, Monday and perhaps Tuesday, will see wet conditions. Here's what the models are indicating for precipitation totals Sunday through Wednesday. Personally, I'm not convinced the GFS is on the mark with its heavier totals. That leads me to believe the EURO is more in the ballpark than the EURO, although that is far from certain. Take a look at the difference.


The EURO



The GFS


Then there is the issue of snow. As I've stated for several days, I suspect the GFS is over phased and will not have the cold air to produce what it shows for snow below.


As a result, I like the EURO's less robust solution below, just showing some snow showers or flurries with minimal accumulations in the north. I am very much hoping Saturday's fresh data will put to rest this ongoing contradiction.

With that, my brain is pretty well shot, and it's time to give the thought process a break. Have a fabulous weekend and as always, roll weather...TS

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