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BIG BEAUTIFUL RAINDROPS

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MUCH NEEDED RAIN...

A typically dry early March air mass was overhead Wednesday, signalling high pressure and pleasantly cool late winter weather. Nice as it was, storm clouds are gathering that will bring much-needed rain to the region Thursday night and Friday. While some areas did get a good dousing Monday, not everyone got in on the act. For example, in Cedar Rapids, a mere .03" fell. Including that pittance, rainfall the past 40 days has amounted to 0.13 inches. That comes out to .003" per day! Compare that to the desert location of Phoenix, Arizona, where 1.30 inches fell in just the month of February alone. That's upside down.



More rain falls in Phoenix, Thursday, but this time around the system will make the bend and head northeast towards the Midwest. Rain will spread into the region Thursday evening and could linger much of Friday. Moisture makes a quick return, and forcing looks sufficient for widespread rains of 1/2 to 1.00 inch+. Here's what models are suggesting for totals.


The GFS



The EURO



The HRRR



The 12K NAM


THE 3K NAM


By looking at the drought monitor, you can see why this storm is so important. All the area is considered to be at the least abnormally dry, with parts of eastern Iowa in moderate to even extreme drought. Rain is desperately needed in my NW counties in Iowa.


Below you can see the surface low entering WC Illinois with its rain shield surging over the region at 9:00am. Friday morning.


As for temperatures, Thursday is destined to produce highs in the low to mid 50s as clouds thicken. Friday is a bit more challenging, as the track of the surface low appears close enough to my southern counties to push highs into the low to mid 50s, mainly over the far southeast. Further north, clouds and rain cooled air should hold the area north of I-80 in the low to mid 40s with a raw NE wind. The EURO shows this for maximum temps.


Following the storm, high pressure builds in for the weekend, producing a seasonally cool but dry weather. Highs will generally be in the mid to upper 40s north to the upper 40s to low 50s south. Sunshine looks to be abundant.


GOING UP?

Starting Monday, another warming trend is slated to arrive, with southerly winds returning in earnest. This won't be as dramatic as recent warmth, but if it weren't for the extreme records of the past 2 weeks, we'd be jumping for joy (we're spoiled). Once again, we should see about a 4 to 5-day period where highs are likely to reach the range of 59-65 (and if things go well, we may get a day closer to 70, especially in the south). Here's what the meteograms of the EURO land GFS look like. The consistency is there.


The EURO



The GFS



Beyond that, I'm seeing a consistent signal of colder weather after March 16-17th. What you are seeing above are ensembles which are composed of many different members and represent an average for each day. Some members are definitely much colder in the longer range, but are off-set by other warmer ones. At some point, there will be a shift one way or the other towards a decidedly warmer or colder trend. I think at least for a few days there could be a healthy cold snap. For example, the GFS shows this strong NW flow in place at 500mb March 19th.

It and the EURO control below show well below normal temperatures covering the eastern half of the U.S.

If nothing else, the pattern looks active, and we've got a great shot at seeing a soaking rain Thursday night and Friday. I know there are some of you out there in desperate need, I'm cheering for such an outcome. I like your chances. Roll weather....TS


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