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FUEL FOR STORMS...

We got a big helping of summer Wednesday, along with a taste of what's to come, with highs in the upper 80s to low 90s and a few storms in the far north. Humidity levels were not extreme with dew points in the low to mid 60s, but we'll make up for that Thursday with steamy conditions across the board.


The storms I alluded to up north did produce some gusty winds up to 60 mph in northeast Iowa near Calmar and Decorah. In Dubuque, I only had a sprinkle, but an outflow boundary from storms just north produced what I would estimate to be 50 mph winds. That dropped the temperature from 89 to 74 in short order. As you can see by way of Doppler rain estimates, rains of 1–2 inches were common over southern Minnesota, SW Wisconsin, and a small section of NE Iowa.

By mid-evening the storms that grazed my northern counties had moved off into Wisconsin while new convection was erupting over NW Minnesota (see below). That front is the one to watch tomorrow in southern Iowa as it sinks in that direction, providing the forcing necessary for a round of strong to severe storms in the late afternoon. Meantime, scattered storms overnight, mainly SW of the Quad Cities, will fizzle and die early Thursday.

The Storm Prediction Center is seeing ample parameters for strong storms, as evidenced by the enhanced risk it has issued for the southern half of my area.

In this tighter perspective, you can see most of my area is under a 2 or 3 severe level risk, with 5 being the highest.

One of the reasons for severe storm potential will be heat and humidity, especially in the south. That is fuel for convection. Look at these 2:00pm temperatures. Only 71 in Dubuque, while several spots in SE Iowa are at 95! There's your differential heating.

Dew Points are shown exceeding 70 in the south. That's tropical moisture.

The heat index is shown reaching 100-105 in far SE Iowa and WC Illinois.

That's an explosive environment if you can get storms to go up in it. The CAPE in the far south which we use to measure instability is running 3,000-4,000 j/kg.

The supercell index is really juiced in the same area, climbing into the range of 14-19 south of I-80. The risk of rotating storms is high. While low level shear at 0-1k is not impressive, there is enough at 0-6k for a short tornado window, particularly in far SE Iowa. More likely is very large hail and intense downdrafts due to the large CAPE that could generate significant winds in spots of 75mph+.

The key to how this plays out is the location of the front when storm initiation occurs, which should be mid to late afternoon. Unless the front slows up, most of the storms north of I-80 would be spotty, post frontal, with minimal severe weather potential. Ahead of the front is where the real threat of potent storms exists. While it's possible a few isolated storms could be around during the morning, the real show holds off until mid-to late afternoon, when the CAP suppressing widespread storms breaks. Below you can see a simulated radar at 5:00pm indicating spotty showers and storms in the north. Along the front, more discrete cells are rapidly developing along I-80 in Iowa.

By 8:00pm, a severe squall line has evolved and is shown moving out of my southern counties into Missouri and central Illinois. By then, the damage, if any, is done.

The 3k NAM does show a number of strong helicity tracks in the south. That would be the paths of rotating storms that would likely be severe weather producers as they move southeast. That's an aggressive look.

As I thought yesterday, the brunt of this event is likely to be near and south of I-80. The greatest overall threat seems to be even further south near and south of HWY 34 from Ottumwa to Burlington and over to Monmouth. Keep a close eye out if you are in this part of the region.


Where there are storms, and especially from HWY 34 south, water vapor is shown to be near 2 inches. That means the stronger updrafts could also produce very heavy rains of 1–2 inches in a short time. Fortunately, storm movement should be swift and progressive, but some flash flooding could still result. Here's what models are indicating for rain potential starting with the CAMS, convective allowing models.


The 3k NAM

The HRRR

The GFS

The EURO

Friday, a weak high pressure follows the front, allowing for a fine day with low humidity and highs of 80 north to 85 south.


Saturday, the warm moist that was pushed to the south starts pushing back to the north as return flow commences. This could provide some clouds and an isolated storm later in the day or Saturday night, particularly in the NW. Highs Saturday should remain in that 80-85 degree range.


Sunday, hot humid air surges northwards with highs in the upper 80s north to the low 90s south. Dew points may go above 70. Sticky, to be sure.


Next week is setting up to be a burner. Here's the 500mb jet stream depicted by the EURO mid-week. That big ridge over the Great Lakes is a heat pump.

Very warm tropical air is feeding into the Midwest, producing excessive heat, especially considering the high humidity levels. Readings well into the 90s are likely, with heat headlines a good bet. While there will be a few stray storms around, the more active area for thunderstorms is expected to be from the Dakotas into NW Minnesota.

Summer is alive and well, and you will undoubtably know it by then. Roll weather...TS


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Terry and Carolyn


7 GREAT REASONS TO VISIT GALENA

1. It’s Steeped In History

2. It’s Home To One Of The Best Main Streets In America

3. The Restaurants Are Amazing

4. There’s A Lot To Do Outdoors

5. You Don’t Have To Travel To The Mountains To Go Skiing

6. It’s A Great Place To Spend The Fourth Of July

7. Did I Mention The Shopping?





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