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FINALLY, ON THE RISE...

Where I live now, I'm hugely blessed to have a solid view of the Mississippi. I've also got a bird's eye view of storms. I can see for miles, and the lightning displays at night are mind-bending. It's perfect for me, except I stay up too late watching the show. Sunsets are also an event. Always spectacular, always different.


If you look to the left side of the image out in the water, there's an island with a figure 8 shape. In last year's spring snowmelt flood, the island was completely underwater and well into the trees off to the right. The crest of 23.03 feet was the third highest at Lock and Dam 11 on the north side of Dubuque. It opened in 1937. I took this picture from Eagle Point park late last summer, showing Dubuque's lock and dam from above.


After the 2023 crest, rain was meager all summer and at times the river level was less than 4 feet, nearly 20 feet lower than its peak in late April. My Island showed up and has been visible ever since. However, the last 30 days many spots in the headwaters (as well as locally), have seen 4–7 inches of rain.


I've noticed that less and less of the island is showing up, indicating the river is on the rise from all the run-off. Compared to a month ago, the river is up about 3.5 feet in Dubuque.


Downstream, in the Quad Cities (and at other gauges all the way to Keokuk), the Mississippi has risen as well. By this weekend, the river at Lock and Dam 15 in Rock Island should be pushing 10 feet. Nothing huge, but a good gain from the lowest levels achieved late fall and winter.


While I was digging around, I started looking at previous crests in the Quad Cities, noting last year's at 21.51 feet, good for 7th highest. What really stuck out to me was the fact 8 of the highest crests in the Quad Cities have all occurred in roughly the past 30 years. Considering data goes back 156 years to 1868, that's impressive. Not only that, 6 of the top 10 crests, including the all-time high in 2019, have occurred since 2008 (the past 16 years). In 2019, the river crested 3 different times over 20 feet.


To me, these regular floods are not just some odd coincidence. I think it's indicative of increased water vapor from climate change. I'm no expert, but I suspect higher precipitation and extreme rainfall events will be a trend to expect in the coming decade. Warmer winters and higher dew points, especially in summer, are also likely results that have already been observed. Another healthy rainfall event is anticipated this weekend, and I'll have more on that part of the weather story below.


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A TOUCH OF FROST, AGAIN...

A cool, dry air mass will be in place the next two days as the region comes under the influence of a fairly strong high situated over the Great Lakes. E/SE winds are not conducive to warming, with Wednesday being especially cool with highs only in the mid to upper 50s. Fortunately, winds won't be nearly as rowdy as yesterday, in the range of 10-20 mph instead of 35-40.


Wednesday night, the threat of frost is back with us due to dry air, light winds, and fair skies, (strong radiational cooling conditions.) Lows in the low to mid 30s are anticipated with scattered frost likely in the north, hopefully for the last time this spring! The 3K NAM has this for lows. Frost advisories may be issued for some.

After a fresh start Thursday, the strong April sun will do its thing, allowing highs to get back into the range of 60 north to 65 south under mostly sunny skies.


A WET AND STORMY WEEKEND AHEAD...

Thursday night, clouds will be on the increase as we come under the influence of the first of two fairly strong systems. After midnight, strong warm moist advection promotes showers and storms, mainly SW of the Quad Cities. A warm front takes shape that inches northward Friday, reaching I-80 late in the day. It's north of the advancing front, where most of the forcing occurs for showers and storms. As a result, rain pushes out of the south in the morning but remains active across the north in the afternoon and evening. That sets-up a significant range in temperatures from the mid 50s north to the upper 60s, maybe 70 in the far south. The GFS shows this for temperatures towards evening.

As it appears now, instability and forcing for severe weather Friday will be limited and to that end, SPC shows most of the risk for strong storms to the west of my area. Not to say there couldn't be a couple severe storms in the south, but chances look relatively low to me.


Saturday, the initial wave has progressed well to the northeast, but a boundary remains anchored from SW to NE across Iowa. It should hold here through Sunday. That puts my area in the warm sector, and we should have enough heating (highs in the 70s) and moisture (dew points in the 60s) to build some respectable CAPE for additional storms. Storm opportunities are there later Saturday afternoon and night, and again Sunday. Mesoscale details yet unknown will determine the location and strength of any severe weather. Some models are hinting at a strong MCS Saturday night that could produce winds, hail, as well as heavy rain. SPC has most of the severe risk further south. I'm not so sure of that.


Sunday, with the front still stuck to the west, we remain in the warm sector with additional instability likely. As the front begins to edge east, it should trigger more showers and storms, some of which could be strong. SPC does indicate a severe threat over all of my area.


No matter what happens with the strength of storms, they will have ample moisture and multiple rounds of rain are likely to add up. Widespread rainfall of 1-3"+ is a good bet. Here's what models are suggesting for potential rainfall totals.


The EURO

The GFS

The Weather Prediction Center

The National blend of models


That's where things stand going into hump day. Have a sensational Wednesday and roll weather...TS

Opmerkingen


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