HOORAY FOR APRIL, SORT OF...
Friday may not be your quintessential idea of an April day but like it or not, we have made it through March and another winter. And while the first week of April may not be anything to write home about, rest assured the sun is getting stronger by the day and it's just a matter of time until temperatures do the humpty hump.
If the GFS has its way, that could very well happen around April 10th when a pattern change is in the offing. You can see it by way off the temperatures it forecasts April 10th and beyond. There's still some give and take but the taking is good with several days projected in the 70s.
The EURO out 10 days also shows the warmth.
Here's the 500mb flow that opens the door to warmer readings April 14th. This type of SW flow can do wonders for temperatures.
Notice below how different the upper air structure is compared to what we'll be looking at next week earlier April 7th. The deep trough you see over the Midwest eventually retrogrades to the west allowing a strong flow of warmth into the Midwest.
Anyway, I see some important changes ahead but short term (the next 6-10 days), a very cool, energetic weather pattern is locked in place and we're stuck with it. That upper air pattern the 7th is really ugly.
Thursday was certainly no picnic with cold blustery conditions and even some snow, especially early in the day over the NW half of my area. Amounts were generally an inch or less with a few exceptions in EC Iowa and NW Illinois, especially from Clinton and Mt Carroll on to near Galena where 1-2" amounts were observed. Here's the totals reported through the Iowa Mesonet as of Thursday evening.
Precipitation from the event was also significant with much of my area seeing totals in the range of 1/2 to 1.5 inches.
Combined with several additional events since March 10th, rainfall totals have reached the 2.5 to 3.5 inch range over my area. That's more in 3 weeks than we had seen in the previous 3 months.
SLOW START TO APRIL...
Friday, (the first day of April), starts cold and ends chilly. Readings to start the day will be in the mid to upper 20s but thanks to clearing skies, a sunny afternoon will allow highs to reach the mid 40s north to the upper 40s south. Those readings are about 10 degrees short of what's normal April 1st.
Clouds rush right back into the area Friday night as our next disturbance zips across the region. It's not as potent as the recent storm but still looks to have a period of decent lift and enough moisture to squeeze out another round of precipitation. There is also enough cold air for snow or a rain/snow mix north of I-80. The track has inched a bit further north over the past 24 hours which indicates the best chances of accumulating snow would be north of HWY 30. That is still subject to minor change but overall a pretty consistent signal is noted. This is a sneaky little system that needs to be watched as the pattern is ripe for amplification. If the system digs a bit more, that could bring the track further south. As for snow totals, again we have to deal with marginal surface temperatures which makes it difficult to determine snow accumulations. The potential is there for the northern third if my area to see 1-4" amounts Saturday morning, especially north of HWY 30. Hwy 20 is where the chances are greatest. Confidence is low due to the factors I've discussed. At least for now, here are some of the options on the table as far as snow accumulations are concerned.
The 3k NAM
The 12k NAM
Precipitation amounts are likely to be light to moderate. The highest totals should be in the north where strong warm advection and lift coincide to produce the best forcing. Here's what models are depicting.
The 3k NAM
The 12k NAM
This is a fast moving disturbance and it will be out late Saturday and followed by high pressure to close out the weekend. That means Sunday should be a fairly seasonal day with sunshine and highs in the range of 50 to 55 from north to south. I'll take it. Have a fabulous weekend everybody and welcome to April! Roll weather...TS