IT'S NOW OR NEVER...
For quite some time models and meteorologists have been focused on the weather event unfolding over the region early Wednesday. What's known as an MCS, (mesoscale convective system) developed over the Plains Tuesday evening and has matured into a large storm complex. It's being further fueled by a stationary boundary near I-80 which is acting as path to guide it eastward. Deep moisture is pooled along the front as evidenced by available water vapor reaching levels greater than 2.00 inches.
A 40kt low level jet perpendicular to the boundary is providing healthy shear and the lift to sustain strong updrafts with the ability to produce at least a low threat of severe weather in the form of damaging winds. My southern counties are most favored until the low level jet weakens later in the morning. The wind threat will be conditional on the strength of the cold pool tied to the MCS and its ability to maintain itself as it enters the region early Wednesday.
SPC has a slight risk outlook for severe storms Wednesday from about HWY 30 south.
Another concern is the potential for localized excessive rainfall rates of 1-2 inches per hour. With the boundary moving little and a prolonged period of forcing, training of individual storms could create a swath of 1-4 inch plus rains where lift is maximized near and north of the stationary boundary. As I write this Tuesday evening, the situation is still unfolding so I'm handicapped to see where everything lays out. Convective allowing models signal my central counties as being most favored for the most concentrated heavy rains. Here's what models are currently suggesting for rainfall totals through Wednesday with storms just beginning to develop. As you will see there is still quite a bit of variance between models as to where the heavier rains are depicted.
The 3k NAM
The 12k NAM
The Canadian RGEM
Modeling indicates the rains will taper off from west to east at some time Wednesday afternoon. My hope is that my northern counties get in on the heavier rains as they have been largely bypassed the past couple weeks. Fingers crossed, we really need up here in Dubuque. I've got big cracks in the yard.
Whatever the outcome, once the system passes much of Thursday looks dry before another disturbance arrives Friday night or early Saturday with another chance of showers and storms. This eventually ushers in a cooler, drier air mass that should keep most of the rain producing energy in the resulting NW flow away from the area Sunday and Monday.
As for temperatures Wednesday through the coming weekend, they should generally remain in the upper 70s to low 80s north to the low to mid 80s south.
That's the way I see it for now. Keep the umbrella handy, chances are very good you will need it at some point if you are out and about in the central Midwest today. Roll weather...TS
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