APRIL SHOWERS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE...
In most of my area, precipitation has been observed 5 of the past 7 days (a few spots in the west 6 out of 7). Our newfound wetness has brought the highest monthly rainfall totals to the region since October. It seems April showers have come early this year. Hopefully that means May flowers will come early as well. Here's the March rainfall totals around the region through March 24th.
Examining the departures, you can see the entire area from the southeast half of Iowa to the Ohio Valley is above normal on precipitation this month.
Despite the recent rains, 14.5 percent of the Midwest (most of my counties from I-80 north) remain in moderate drought conditions. That's only a 2.5 decrease from last week. So, while things have improved slightly with the rains of the past week, we have a way to go to eliminate the dry sub-soil conditions. It's important to keep the rains coming the next couple of months.
There is another potentially wet system looming next week and I will get to that in a minute. First, I'll take a minute to outline the weekend ahead of us. The first issue we face is a vigorous upper air feature that spins southeast through Wisconsin Friday. The primary consequence of the short wave will be windy conditions. Prior to the strongest gusts, a little frontogenesis and adequate instability should be enough to generate scattered light showers, especially in the northeast half of my area. Soundings suggest enough low level warmth ahead of the forcing to allow highs to reach the 40s north and upper 40s south (perhaps 50 in the far south). That keeps most of the showers as rain, the exception being the far northeast where some wet snow could mix down in the stronger cells. Impacts will be minimal considering the brief nature of the showers. The animation below depicts the development of the showers around noon Friday and shows them moving southeast through noon Saturday. Very hit and miss in nature. Not everyone will see them.
The 3K NAM indicates this for snow totals across the northeast.
Behind the system skies will clear and temperatures tank. By Saturday morning lows dive crash into the 20s. A hard freeze is a given.
Wind chills in the north could reach the single digits with low to mid teens elsewhere. Ugh...
The remainder of the weekend promises dry but chilly conditions with highs Saturday 40-45 and Sunday 35 to 40. Going the wrong direction there.
Regarding winds, there is plenty of momentum aloft for gusty winds Friday. The question is how much of that can reach the surface? The strength of the cold air advection suggests gusts in the 30-40 mph range with a few gusts as highs as 45 mph. It's possible a wind advisory could be issued at some point. They currently are in effect just to the west of my area in central Iowa.
The next organized storm is scheduled to enter the Midwest later Monday. Below you can see the GFS's depiction of the surface and precipitation features.
The GFS and EURO have differences in timing and amplification and that results in the GFS heavier west of the Mississippi and the EURO heavier east. You can see the comparison of the two precipitation forecasts below.
The GFS total rainfall
The EURO for the same period.
It does appear that whatever solution verifies, there will be a day or two (Tuesday, more likely Wednesday) where enough warm air advection is generated for warmer temperatures. That could get readings back into the 50s to near 60. However, that's highly dependent on the intensity of the storm and where it tracks. The south is far more favored for any warmth as things stand now.
Behind the storm, temperatures are not looking very spring like going into the first week of April. The 10 day temperature departures on the GFS are pretty dismal from March 30th to April 9th.
Just as disheartening is the trend of models to lay down late season snow in some portion of the central Midwest in that general time frame. Snow is always a challenge to forecast during the heart of winter and it's even more difficult in the spring when temperatures are often marginal to say the least. That's why I would not place any faith in the placement of snow output beyond 48-72 hours. However, there could be some truth in the overall trends that flakes may fly, just not in the amounts and placement. Here's what the EURO and GFS show for snow totals over the next 15 days.
As you can see there's not a great deal of good news to lay on you in this post. False spring is always an issue in any given year and I think we just experienced this years version. Oh well, at least it's Friday. Have a good weekend and roll weather...TS