SPLASH AND DASH RAINS...
Well, the basketball season is pretty much over for me. The Hawkeyes went down in a major ball of flame Monday. So much for the sweet 16. Hat's off though to number 55, the big man...Luka "Garzilla" Garza. A class act! I'm all in now on the Ramblers from Loyola of Chicago. Sister Jean is a good sixth man at "power" forward. I hear her favorite play is the hail-Mary.
A LITTLE DIVINE INTERVENTION
Here's a little divine intervention. This is the week 3-4 temperature outlook from the Climate Prediction Center. It encompasses the period April 3-16th (basically the first half of April). It's showing an 80 percent chance of above normal highs. That's about as close to a slam dunk as you're gonna get in a long range forecast. Normal highs during that period would start around 57 and end near 63 to give you some perspective of the territory that indicates.
This is the 500mb pattern on the EURO weeklies that would support the trend.
Over the next 32 days (March 22-April 22nd), the temperature anomaly per day looks like this indicating an early start to spring like temperatures. I can live with that.
Breaking it down down to weekly (7 day) increments, you get this.
March 30-April 6
30 day precipitation in my region is shown below normal and I would lean that way. However, many other parts of the Midwest are above normal. It wouldn't take much of a shift in individual storm tracks to change this to a wetter look.
THE SHORT TERM PICTURE
The next 72 hours will be active with a couple disturbances that come and go. The first pivots through Tuesday and lingers into Wednesday morning before lifting out. Tuesday starts cloudy with some scattered showers. Overall the coverage looks spotty in the morning with some dry periods. Later in the afternoon and evening rain chances increase as a nice lobe of energy arrives ahead of a cold front and surface low spinning towards SW Iowa. Surface heating is expected to be meager with clouds holding highs to the upper 50s to perhaps lows 60s. That puts my area in a high shear low CAPE environment. What that indicates is that their is low end instability, enough for some thunderstorms to pop. The existing shear ahead of the surface low should be enough to initiate some rotation in the stronger updrafts. There's a very small chance that a couple of brief tornado spin-ups are possible, especially in my southern counties. Chances would be better if some breaks in the clouds allowed more heating and instability than is currently expected. Either way, these types of spin-ups are usually quite small and brief causing little if any problems. It's a marginal situation and I was reluctant to even bring the subject up.
You can see though on the 3k NAM the banded nature of the precipitation which is tied to pockets of convection wrapping N/NW around the surface low in Iowa. These types of splash and dash rains can be hit and miss in nature with amounts varying significantly over relatively short distances.
After increasing in intensity Tuesday afternoon and evening, the rain lightens and becomes scattered in nature before ending Wednesday from south to north towards afternoon as the storm pulls into the upper Midwest. Here's what the models are indicating for total precipitation. The area west of the Mississippi is favored for the heaviest totals.
The 3k NAM
The 12k NAM
The next system is hot on its heels and will catch parts of the area Thursday as it streaks northeast across Missouri and SE Illinois. There remains a lot of variance in solutions as to how this system evolves as some solutions show a very intense low and strong deformation band and others have far less surface reflection and energy resulting in a 20 mb difference in central pressure. This alters the track and precipitation amounts.
The EURO is the strongest and furthest NW bringing a wind driven cold rain to SE Iowa and much of Illinois.
The GFS is far less aggressive and brings a period of light rain with totals near and southeast of the Quad Cities more than an inch lower. The GFS is a kinder solution with minor rainfall and overall impacts, especially in Iowa.
I suspect the stronger solution of the EURO will end up being the right solution. However, I think it may end up a bit further further SE which would confine the heaviest rains to my far southeast counties in Illinois. There is low confidence in this part of the forecast and we should have a much better handle on how this unfolds later Wednesday. Until then, that's all I've got for now. Roll weather...TS.