CAUGHT IN THE FAST LANE
Before we get to our fast changing weather, an update on the drought which has impacted all the area at one time or another. Let's start with the latest conditions in Thursday's report. As you can see abnormally dry, to moderate and even severe drought exists from roughly I-80 north.
Where you see yellow, conditions degraded one class. As an example, if say you were in moderate drought two weeks ago, the past week would have sent you into the severe classification. That works the other way too as green indicates a one class improvement. Below you can see where both Iowa and Illinois currently stand.
Below are the 7 day precipitation totals which worsened conditions in the north and improved them in the south. In fact, most of the southern third of my area is now in normal soil conditions. Nice going.
These are the 7 day departures showing the deficits in the north and the surpluses in the south. The Ohio Valley really scored with many areas seeing 4 to 5 times their weekly mean.
This is a very telling graphic as well. Notice since January 1st how places in central Iowa and northern Illinois have deficits of 13-14" while in central Illinois around Bloomington a surplus of over 16" is indicated. You can clearly see in my area I-80 has been the cut-off from feast or famine. Fascinating stuff!
This is also pretty impressive. It shows totals precipitation since January 1st in and around Scott County, Iowa which is home to the Quad Cities. Some spots in the county have had as little as 20" while about 20 miles SE across the Mississippi as much as 37" are indicated. That's a 17" difference in roughly 20 miles. Get out of here! That's actually been a common occurrence all along the tight boundary from southern Iowa to central Illinois and Indiana (above).
Despite the fact a few showers and stray storms came through the area late Friday afternoon and evening, amounts as expected were light and did nothing to alter the dry conditions in the north. The rain was generated by a fast moving cold front whose biggest impact was the drop temperatures. Ahead of the front 3:00 PM temperatures from the Quad Cities back to Burlington and Ft. Madison were hovering around 80. Behind it, readings just north of the Iowa border in SE Minnesota were in the low 50s.
With the front long gone by morning the cooler air will sweep the region by daybreak and send temperatures into the upper 30s to low 40s NW of the Quad Cities. Some spots will be as much as 40 degrees colder than they were 14-15 hours earlier. Quite a change!
No doubt we are caught in the fast lane of weather and with speed being the case the cool air wastes little time passing us by and Saturday afternoon under a very dry sunny air mass highs will bounce back into the upper 60s and low 70s. By Sunday, southerly winds are back with us and temperatures should spike into the low 80s. It all makes for a dry and very fine weekend ahead.
The above normal readings are expected to hold right on through the coming week with daily highs in the 80s currently indicated. The GFS is really toasty and up to its old bias of being unreliably too warm, Here's its 15 day meteogram for Cedar Rapids showing three days in the 90s and nothing lower than 84 next week.
I don't see anything that warm and I'm leaning on the NBM blend which is still warm but i