MISSION ACCOMPLISHED, BUT NOT FINISHED...
Every once in awhile a forecast comes together so well that it's worth revisiting. This is what I call "proof of performance". It's an excerpt from a post I put together February 24th, entitled SENDING IN THE 60'S, GROOVY BABY. This was back when we were covered with 10-20" of snow and shivering through record breaking cold. When I put this out, other forecasts were calling for a warming trend, but only a modest one mentioning temperatures reaching the 40s, perhaps 50. My vision was far greater and I went on the record to promote the idea of highs that could reach the 60s around March 8th. It was a bold (and dare I say brave call at the time), what I call the TSwails difference. Take a look.
TIME TO PLAY THE SPECULATION GAME...
Since we've all had a heaping helping of winter the last 5 weeks, I wanted to show you some numbers that are a sign of the times and what I consider food for thought. Both the EURO and GFS show highs reaching the 60s out beyond 10 days. They get there at slightly different times but just the same, there is a solid trend showing up. Take a look at the raw model output for highs and I'll expound on how real the potential is below.
The EURO March 8th
The GFS March 9th
First and foremost, to get this accomplished we are going to need an extended lead-up period where temperatures are above normal for 8-10 days to whittle away at the majority of the existing snow cover. The reflective nature of snow makes it a temperature killer and can take 10 degrees off the top of what bare ground would produce, especially in early March.
The EURO indicates that happening showing snow cover going from this today.
To this March 10th
Here's the above normal temperatures that destroy the snow pack. These are the departures from normal in 5 day increments. This runs us out to March 11th.
Days 5-10 (March 1-6th)
Days 10-15 March 6th-11th).
Why I buy into the trends and could see a day in the 60s around March 8-10th, is tied to teleconnections. Starting with the MJO (Madden Julien Oscillation), see how it is forecast on both the EURO and GFS to roll through phase 7 and 8 the first 10 days of March.
During March those are both mild indicators as the phase correlations show below.
I also like the fact the AO, which was strongly negative during our cold snap, is forecast to flip to a strongly positive phase in March. That means Arctic intrusions are not likely arguing instead for air masses with Pacific influence.
However, for the AO to verify the EPO (eastern Pacific Oscillation) needs to be positive restricting ridge development over western Canada and the NW United States. As you can see. it's going that way becoming very positive, especially around that March 8-10th time frame.
All of these factors combined give me a heightened confidence level that not only will we be mild the next 2 weeks, we have a shot at highs in the 60s for at least a day. I humbly admit I have limited powers and can't guarantee such an outcome, but if I didn't think the odds were with me I wouldn't touch this with a 10 feet pole!
Well, that's my case and I'm sticking to it until I see otherwise. End of post.
MOVING ON TO THE FUTURE...TWO MORE DAYS TO GO
So here we are almost two weeks later. Mission accomplished with back to back 60s in many areas with a couple more days to come before the change to colder weather brings us back to reality.
Hopefully you enjoyed Monday, it was a beauty. These were the readings at 4:00 PM. Only a few spots north of I-80 remained in the 50s, the result of some spotty lingering snow cover.
Most of these readings were 20-23 degrees above normal as you can see in the temperature departures.
Tuesday will be another fantastic day with more sunshine and dry air. 60's will be widespread and it's possible with brisk south winds highs may approach 70 in the SW third of my area. The GFS shows this.
Wednesday gets complicated as a seasonally strong cold front approaches from the west. Moisture increases significantly ahead of the front Tuesday night and by morning scattered showers or drizzle is anticipated. An isolated thundershower or two is also possible. It appears that most of the showers should lift out Wednesday morning allowing a dry afternoon. If any sun can break out readings could again approach 70, especially in the south. Otherwise, 60s are back on the table. Here's what the EURO has in mind for Wednesday.
Despite dew points in the 50s (ample moisture) models are not doing much with storms or precipitation as the cold front passes Wednesday night. Some thunderstorms are possible but precipitation struggles to take off until after midnight when the front is generally across the southeast half of my area, (roughly the Quad Cities southeast). If that holds, the best chances for any meaningful rain will be in that part of my area. Timing may be a factor as three hours slower or faster could make a difference in the placement and amounts. As it stands now, here's what models are showing for rainfall totals Tuesday night through daybreak Thursday. Amounts look light.
The 12K NAM
Following the frontal passage colder air will make its way back into the region with readings going from the 50s Thursday to the 40s Saturday. This will be a dry period as high pressure dominates.
Sunday the pattern becomes highly unsettled as a strong cut-off low emerges from the Rockies. Moisture and precipitation surge into the Midwest as the energy ejects northeast. The track will keep any snow northwest of my area but rain is likely at some point late Sunday lasting into the first half of Monday.
After this there is low confidence in the overall pattern as some models bring in very cold air around March 18th while others show a far more moderate and friendly outcome. The wide range in solutions has me parked in a rest stop waiting for clarity. Plenty of time to get it squared away and as always you will know it first right here on TSwails.com. Roll weather...TS
ONLY 28 COPIES LEFT:
I will take this opportunity to mention that I only have 28 copies left of my book on the most expensive thunderstorm in United States history (11 billion dollars in estimated damage). This will be the final printing. If you are interested in having the most authoritative account of this extreme event I would suggest you act now. Don't miss this opportunity to own the weather story of a generation. You can order yours at derechobook.com
*This book has been quite the talk with the Iowa State Library promoting it. I have never seen the State Library promote any books like this unless it was an award winner of particular interest to libraries. Hopefully your sales are through the roof!
Jolene Kronschnabel-Director of Hawkins Memorial Library, La Porte City, Iowa