SHOW ME THE RAIN...
The luck of the Irish prevailed over my southern counties St. Patrick's day with another round of very mild temperatures. The north was not so lucky though with clouds, showers, and a much cooler feel to the air. Dubuque picked up 1/10th of an inch of rain on their shamrocks and late in the day was in the mid 40s. (a sign of things to come). At the same time Burlington in my southern counties was enjoying 70 degrees and some sunshine.
Notice how my northwestern counties were 20 to 25 degrees colder than just 24 hours earlier. A tale of two air masses!
The front that brought the chill to the north Thursday will continue to sag south Friday allowing us all to participate in the much cooler air. At noon Friday, the GFS shows widespread readings in the 40s. Along with that, showers and brisk NE winds will combine to create a dismal day of weather.
The leading edge of all that chilly air stalls out over central Missouri Friday in response to a developing low pressure in eastern Oklahoma. Eventually, the low lifts northeast close to St Louis Friday evening bringing a prolonged period of forcing and rain. My area sits in the cold sector and with clouds, occasional rain, and a brisk NE wind, Friday looks to be a lousy day. This animation shows the evolution of the surface and precipitation features on the GFS Thursday night through the day Saturday. The blue even denotes some snow that's possible on the NW fringe of the storm. I'll get to that in a minute.
As for rain totals, they look to be worthy across my area on the order of 1/2 to 1 inch (perhaps a bit more in spots). That is desperately needed as evidenced by the graphic below which shows only two 24 hour rainfall events of an inch or more at the NWS office in Davenport since August. January, February, and March have been woefully dry.
The latest drought monitor issued Thursday shows much of the northern 2/3rds of my area in moderate drought with the rest of my southern counties abnormally dry.
That is why we need rain, especially going into the new growing season. Here's what models are showing for the incoming storm.
The 3k NAM
The 12K NAM
That brings me to the issue of snow which does not look to be a much of an issue for the majority of my area. There is the chance my far northwestern counties could see a mix or changeover to snow Friday night and early Saturday. However, warm ground and roads would limit any accumulations (1" to perhaps 2" of slush) mainly on elevated and grassy surfaces. The best chance of these minor accumulations (not a guarantee) would be near and NW of a line from Cedar Rapids to Dubuque. The rest of the area could see some snow showers towards the end of the event as precipitation is wrapping up, especially from the Quad Cities north and west. Little if any accumulations here. This is what models are currently indicating for potential snow totals. Nothing official here, just raw model output. You can clearly see the trend for most of the snow to be off to my NW (and even there confidence is low with marginal temperatures and a big range among models).
The 12K NAM
The 3K NAM
Precipitation should move out Saturday morning leaving us with plenty of clouds and chilly temperatures. Highs will likely hold in the 40s unless we can get some late day breaks of sunshine. 50 would be attainable if that were to occur.
Sunday and Monday warm air advection kicks into high gear and temperatures make a resounding comeback. Readings both days will leap into the 60s with a 70 possible in the south Monday.
After that our next storm takes shape in what looks to be a very active pattern to close out the month of March. I expect to see a lot of back and forth on temperatures during that period as systems come and go. Readings may end up close to normal over that 2 week period but we'll be anything but that seeing both ends of the spectrum. When I say active, I mean potentially wet as well. Here's what the GFS shows for total precipitation through April 2nd. (well above normal)
If the GFS is to be believed, there will be some snow around the Midwest as well. I don't put much stock in this verifying but at least for now that's a bullish trend to watch.
That my friends is all I have for you. Soak up the rain and despite the ugly start to the weekend, enjoy it just the same. Roll weather...TS