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WATER WARS 2021...

The latest drought index is in and what it clearly shows is the have's and have not's in 2021 precipitation. While the southern third of my area has had more than enough rain, my central and northern counties are in abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions. Areas near and NW of Cedar Rapids are in even worse shape with severe to even extreme drought conditions.

Here's a closer look at Iowa and you can see severe drought has officially backed into Cedar Rapids and extends west of a line that extends from there to Elkader in NE Iowa. Parts of Buchanan, Blackhawk, and Bremer counties are in the extreme category.

You can see why significant drought conditions exist when looking at precipitation departures since January 1st. There are places with deficits of more than a foot in parts of Iowa. On the other hand, 150 miles to the southeast surpluses of 9-10 inches are found in SE Iowa. Quite remarkable. The area near and south of I-80 is the battle line where the water wars are being fought!

As I've been mentioning the past few days, there are going to be opportunities for rain in the coming days but much will be contingent on the timing of forcing and mesoscale details such as outflow boundaries. The first crack comes Friday night or early Saturday. That does not look good for my immediate area as the timing of forcing is off and what rain reaches the area is in a decaying state.


The next chance comes Sunday night but a similar situation evolves with timing that again keeps the heavier rains out to the west and north.


Late Tuesday or Tuesday night another opportunity arises but the mesoscale details regarding fronts and cold pools are impossible to see at this distance. About all I can say is there's a decent chance some place in the central Midwest will get some soakers but where is anybody's guess. Right now, the northern part of my area is the favored location. Between the three different rain producing scenarios, this is what the GFS and EURO show for rainfall totals Friday through Wednesday. None of these are close to being drought busters!


The GFS

The EURO

Another consideration next week is the amount of heat that is generated Monday through Wednesday. For a couple days models have been very aggressive with highs approaching 100 Tuesday or Wednesday, (especially the GFS). The highest readings are depicted in my central counties where top soil moisture is depleted and evapotranspiration is very limited. That keeps dew points lower allowing temperatures to go higher in that specific area. Thursday night's data remains consistent with the GFS meteogram showing highs in Cedar Rapids up to 104 next Wednesday. (That's the straight up ambient temperature).

In the Quad Cities it pops 101 that same day.

The EURO is a few degrees cooler but does indicate the potential for low to mid 90s Monday and mid to upper 90s Tuesday. It brings a front through a little sooner Wednesday and is cooler than the GFS that day with highs near 90 instead of the readings around 100 the GFS indicates.


As much as I hate to sit on the fence, mesoscale details brought on by storms or (convective debris) could substantially alter the final numbers. That said, I seriously think there could be a day or two next week where highs may approach 100 in my drought stricken counties. Tuesday seems to have the best chance at this point in the game.


With all that in mind, we have a Friday to get through and it will be a warm one. Look for highs near 90 but humidity will only be moderate with dew points in the mid to upper 60s. That will keep the steam and heat index values from getting out of hand. Skies should also be mostly sunny. Overall, a summery and fairly typical start to a mid-August weekend. Happy Friday everyone and roll weather....TS

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