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CRUNCHY GRASS....

Just a month ago my grass was lush, thick, and green. I was mowing every five days just to keep up with it. Now its been more than two weeks since I've mowed. The only noticeable difference is the color. Its gone from green to brown. To protect itself from the lack of rain and the relentless June sun, it's turned dormant allowing it to conserve water and nutrients. It's not unusual in July and August but its rare in early June when rains are typically frequent and generous. Here's a picture of my yards current state. Glad I spent all that money on lawn feed and fertilizer!

Compared to yesterday, several aspects of our weather have changed that are tied to the eastward movement of the upper air low that's been spinning around over the Great Lakes. It's now over New England which has ended the spotty showers that roamed the region Monday and Tuesday. With the addition of sunshine temperatures in the dry air (humidity values of 25-35%) warmed into the mid to upper 80s, a range they are likely to remain in through the weekend.

What we will see short term is another weak back door cold front sneak through the region Thursday. Despite a modest increase in moisture and some weak forcing, the front is likely to pass dry. While there is a very slight chance of a shower the dry low levels, and capping (warm air aloft) should keep them isolated if they can even develop. Once, the front passes Thursday night another surge of dry air enters the picture. It's also likely to be accompanied by hazy skies with the addition of smoke from wildfires. Here's the water vapor shown on the EURO Friday afternoon. The core of the dry air is directly overhead with amounts only 30-35% of normal.

Basically, it means rain chances are virtually non-existent through Saturday. If that indeed is the case, it would mean rainfall over the past 40 days at the NWS in Davenport would be just .34 inches. That's 6.06 below normal for the period. No wonder the grass is dormant!


There is another upper air system that emerges out of the Plains Saturday night and Sunday with rain making capabilities. However, the blocking pattern appears be just strong enough to keep the bulk of the rain just to our southwest. Best case scenario barring a shift north in track would be for some of the rain to sneak into my far southern counties, something I'm not very optimistic about. If that fails to materialize it could be several more days before the next rainfall opportunity.


Speaking of the blocking pattern which first reared its head in early May, this is the EURO ensemble mean June 29th.

What you have here is more of the same. The trough-ridge-trough configuration is essentially the omega block alive and well. The persistence of this stable atmospheric pattern is remarkable. If you are looking for below normal rainfall, you can't draw it up much better than that.

The next 15 days here's what the EURO ensemble indicates, more significant rainfall departures over a large part of the corn belt!

The GFS is even worse through July 31st.

So far, the one thing I haven't seen is extreme heat which would be a real blow with the continuation of widespread dryness. With this specific set-up the feedback from the dry air and soils will bring warmth, but humidity and extreme heat would remain further to the southwest, but for how long? Additionally, dew points will most likely be lower than normal so while its warm, it should not be muggy on a consistent basis. Right or wrong, that's my interpretation of the next 2 weeks.


Meanwhile, ahead of the approaching back door front, Thursday promises to be a toasty day with summery temperatures. Highs despite some wildfire smoke will likely hit the low 90s from I-80 south. The far north holds in the low 80s. Again, it's mostly likely going to be another dry day with the CAP aloft holding back any convection along the front. Forge on and roll weather...TS


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