Good Monday bloggers,
We are in for another dry and windy day with a high fire danger. A storm system now off the Pacific Northwest coast has a high potential to bring several rounds of rain and snow to the Plains. This will end the fire danger and be quite beneficial.
This upper level low will track slowly into the southwest USA by Friday and into the Plains during the weekend.
This is a map of the upper level flow forecast for Saturday at 3 PM. The upper level low is located over northeast New Mexico and it is cut off from the main jet stream that is flowing across Canada. We call this a "cut off low weather persons woe" as it makes forecasting tough. This means it will be tracking slowly which will play havoc with the timing of precipitation. It will also have a bit of a meandering track, so the zones of heavy rain and snow will be hard to pin down until we get 1-2 days before they occur. But, the slow movement means there will be several chances of precipitation over a 5 day period and this is all good news for a rapidly drying out soil. It is also good news for the Hard Red Winter Wheat crop in the western Plains as it is coming out of dormancy.
Before the upper low moves into the USA we will still be under the influence of an upper level ridge which means more dry and windy weather through Wednesday.
TODAY: It will be windy with south-southwest wind gusts 30-40 mph along with humidity values 25% to 35% or lower. This means we will still have a high fire danger, fires can start easily and spread quickly. Highs will be around 70 as high clouds increase during the afternoon.
TUESDAY: The fire danger will drop without rain as the humidity increases. This is the first sign of a change as we see Gulf of Mexico moisture increase and thicker low clouds that will drop high temperatures a few degrees (65-70). It will still be quite windy with south-southwest wind gusts around 40 mph.
Western Kansas to west Texas will see highs near 90! A high fire danger will continue out there.
WEDNESDAY: It will still be windy with lots of clouds. Highs will be 65-75 as winds continue to gust from the south-southwest around 40 mph. The humidity will be high, so the fire danger will continue to be lower. Not gone, but lower. The next sign of a change will be a cold front approaching from the west. This will help to ignite thunderstorms Wednesday night across eastern Kansas and western Missouri. The severe threat is marginal with some hail the main threat.
The cold front will head to the southern Plains Thursday where it will stall and waver north and south ahead of the slow moving upper low.
So, the upper low, the wavering front and a series of disturbances running along and north of the front ahead of the main upper low is a recipe for several rounds of rain and thunderstorms Wednesday-Sunday, even Monday.
Here is the rainfall potential forecast for Wednesday-Sunday. 3" to 6" of rain is possible across Oklahoma, southern Kansas to southern Missouri. We are in the 1" to 3" category. This puts an end to the high fire danger.
This is a map of the percent of average rainfall during the last 30 days. Most locations are under 50%. Kansas City is around 30%, so if the above rainfall forecast map verifies that would be a major help to the bread basket of the world.
Kansas City average 2.37" of rain in March. So, this next set up may bring a months worth of rainfall.
BTW, winter is not over. This storm will have enough cold air to work with so that a significant band of snow is possible from Colorado to Pennsylvania. So, not all of the precipitation in the forecast above is rain. Right now it looks like our area will see rain with some snowflakes possible. We will need to watch for a shift in the track which could bring snow here this weekend. Kansas City averages 2" of snow in March.
Have a great week and stay healthy.