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The big question on forecasters minds, and many others with parched crops, gardens, and yards is will it rain? Modeling has consistently shown a system crossing the Midwest Saturday night into Monday with that potential. However, the placement and amounts have been inconsistent for days. Recent data has given us some answers but left other questions unsettled. Here's what we know.

  1. The southern half of the area is most favored for the heavier amounts (especially near and south of I-80

  2. Amounts have decreased some over the past 24 hours.

  3. A swath of 1/2" or more is likely somewhere in my area.

  4. The bulk of the rain occurs Saturday night and early Sunday.

There's a saying from way back when that goes, "in times of drought, signs of precipitation don't pan out". There's a legitimate reason for that as once patterns are established they produce negative feedback. In other words, the factors that caused the drought in the first place are harder to break the longer they exist. Blocking is more likely to develop and persist when large geographic regions are dry. There's more subsidence (sinking) and evaporation of what moisture is available is enhanced, much like a sponge soaking up water. Storms want to take the path of least resistance and avoid plowing into a dry air mass and the high pressure associated with it. Drought begets drought.

So our next system is experiencing some of these issues as it tries to buck the block situated over the upper Midwest. In the animation below you can see we get a quick return of moisture Saturday but it's in place for only about 12 hours before it and the forcing, (strongest in the south) is replaced with another very dry air mass Sunday into the middle of next week. The window for rain is short.

Saturday is a day where moisture is rapidly increasing and so too are clouds. A few showers may arrive in the afternoon (mainly in the west) but the rains that really matter hold off until later Saturday night and early Sunday. An ingredient lacking heavy rain is CAPE. Instability is very meager so thunderstorms, (efficient rain producers) are not expected to be much of a factor around here. However, if convection does become dominate further south in Missouri, it would hinder rain chances further to the north in my area. I am concerned about that. This is tough forecast, make no bones about it. Here's what the latest models are suggesting for rainfall totals.


The GFS (an outlier with its heavier depiction).

The 3k NAM

Once our opportunity for rain departs early Sunday, the upper air energy consolidates into a strong cold core system over Wisconsin. You can see the center of circulation clearly at 500mb.

That's a potent upper air storm for June and the circulation will bring in another one of those fresh dry air masses that rules much of next week. Dew points Monday-Thursday will be in the 40s and low 50s which is not going to get it done as far as rain is concerned. Temperatures will remain in the upper 60s to low 70s Monday before reaching 75-80 Tuesday and finally the low to mid 80s beyond that.

What happens long term is very much in a state of flux. The GFS shows the omega block getting flattened for a time next week before re-emerging towards the end of its run around June 21st. You can see at that time the dry northerly flow aimed directly at us out of Canada. That's a sure fire way to block moisture from the Gulf.

Sure enough, without moisture significant rainfall departures develop over the next 15 days. Here's what the GFS shows in that regard though June 25th.

At some point, my concern is that if indeed we stay dry for another couple of weeks we are then set-up for a heat dome to develop somewhere over the center of the nation by July. At the hottest time of the year that could result in some very toasty but dry weather in late June and July. That's not a given but but a gut feeling based on experience and some analogs such as 1988 and 2012.

Well, here's to a good weekend and one that hopefully brings rain to the parched soils of the central Midwest, Roll weather...TS




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