A WINTER STORM IN THE WORKS...
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LAST DAY OF FEBRUARY (meteorological winter)
Another February has come and is on its way out.The final hours will end Tuesday with a dry day but perhaps some light showers towards evening. The drier weather will be welcome as February has turned into a wet month with some areas seeing 3 to 4 times thier normal precipitation. Here's what the monthly amounts look like with less than a day to go.
The associated precipitation departures are signficant for February, normally a relatively light month for totals with moisture limited by cold air.
Monday's storm was a wet one despite the fast movement of the system. Water vapor (PWAT'S) reached close to all time February maximums around 1.3 inches. Many areas picked up an inch or more of rain. These are the Doppler estimates.
We should tack a little more on to monthly totals Tuesday evening thanks to a fast moving disturbance that kicks up some showers to end the month. Totals will be light but a few locations could wring out a 1/10th of an inch. The south seems to be favored for the heavier showers.
THE NEXT WINTER STORM UP....
That leads us to an impressive closed low that is expected to eject out of the mean trough situated over the southwest U.S. It promises to generate another very energetic storm with a 976mb surface low emerging and tracking northeast towards St. Louis Friday morning. This is another one of those storms that causes models fits due to complex phasing between the northern and southern streams. The EURO shows a closed negatively tilted 500mb circulation center situated over SC Missouri early Friday.
As with recent storms, the gulf is wide open and a tremendous fetch of moisture surges north ahead of the system. Available water vapor (PWAT'S) reach 1.50 inches in southeast Illinois with nearly an inch up to SE Iowa.
Remarkably, those levels are once again 400% higher than normal in EC Illinois.
The big question now is where does the storm track? The EURO ensemble mean, comprised of 51 members shows the uncertainty that exists by plotting the surface low location of all its members Friday morning. For a high confidence forecast we would like these to all be clustered within 100 miles of a specific location. In other words, the smalller the spread the more predictable the atmosphere is. Right now we have a signficant range that could put my area directly in the path of the storm or have us miss it altogether.
The control, which is the most likely solution of the ensembles (an average if you will) shows the low in this postion at noon Friday. On the EURO that puts us in the snow on the NW flank (or cold sector) of the storm.