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October may be a new month but its picking up right where September left off. Unseasonably warm dry weather will usher in the month Friday with highs that are a good 13-19 degrees above normal. No frost on the pumpkins! Projected high temperature departures for Friday are shown below.

Our latest week of warm dry weather has done nothing to help alleviate the drought conditions that are plaguing the northern half of my area. The latest drought monitor is out and there's a lot of color showing up meaning there's a lot of real estate that needs rain. Below you can see that abnormally dry to extreme drought conditions extend through much of Iowa, southern Wisconsin, and northern Illinois

In the one week comparison notice how severe drought (in orange) expanded significantly north of I-80.

In Iowa severe drought doubled going from 9 percent to 18 percent. 75 percent of the state is at the very least abnormally dry.

In Illinois severe drought increased from 3 to 8 percent. That may not seem like much but that's a substantial jump considering its a larger state and most of the dryness is in the north.

Now that we've established the need for rain and where, it's time to look at prospects this weekend. If you've been following along, you know that there have been lots of contradictions regarding the timing of rain and the overall amounts. The EURO has so far beaten the GFS badly with the slower development of this system and I'll be leaning on it going forward for obvious reasons.

If there is one thing the two models finally agree on it's that rain does not look likely in my area until Friday night and most of that comes after dark and is concentrated near and especially west of the Mississippi in Iowa. (That's been by belief since Monday). With time some of that gets into my eastern counties in Illinois Saturday before it outruns its forcing and is reduced to just scattered light showers and dissipates by afternoon. This first episode should not amount to much, particularly east of the river.

Saturday night and perhaps Sunday morning is where models continue to exhibit significant differences. The closed 500mb circulation over the Plains opens up and gradually shifts northeast. That provides some much needed forcing for renewed precipitation. The issue is how much energy will be available for this new batch of rain and where will it be focused. The GFS remains the most aggressive with significant amounts over the SE half of my area, especially near and SE of the Quad Cities.


The EURO is less enthusiastic on totals as well as further south. Most places pick up 1/4 inch or less. Considering our dry conditions and inability to generate rains due to drought, I believe it has a much better chance of verifying, especially considering the GFS has a recent history of being too high with its QPF. I'm having trouble buying what the GFS is selling.


We've got another day to watch the trends but my thinking is plan on less and hope for more. If the system over-performs I'll gladly concede and welcome every drop of rain that falls. But for now my gut tells me to be very cautious as in times of drought, signs of precipitation often don't pan out. On a side note, I drove from Le Claire to Galena Thursday and I can't tell you how bad things looked due to the lack of rain. From yards to fields everything is brown, withered, and fried. Anything that relies on rain to flourish is stressed. Leaves were falling off trees and I saw numerous corn and bean fields already picked, a rarity in September. We really need a good soaking rain near and north of I-80 and I'm practicing my rain dance in case the weekend system is a flop.

By the end of the weekend I do expect to see temperatures drop to more seasonal levels due to clouds and potential precipitation. The cooler readings should last into midweek before another round of unseasonably warm temperatures arrives later next week. Look what the 6-10 and 8-14 day outlooks are showing for temperature trends. Looks like endless summer to me.

The 6-10 day outlook October 6-10th

The 8-14 day outlook October 8-14th

That's my story and I'm sticking to it. Happy Friday and here's to a sensational weekend. Roll weather...TS


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