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Impressive Storm Moves In

ScreenHunter_01 Mar. 09 09.11

The atmosphere is pretty charged up today as strong winds in the upper reaches of the atmosphere (20-30K feet) are in the process of moving various pieces of energy around the country. One such piece is now across the N Rockies and in the process of dive-bombing through the Plains states. The energy is associated with a strong “jetstreak” inside a jetstream of close to 150 MPH!

take a look at the winds at about 30K feet. The “jetstreak” in question is located in just north of Montana.

That wind energy will help to carve out an upper level storm that will intensify in the region tomorrow and as it does so, will chill the atmosphere down on top of the region as well. What this means is that as the cooling process really kicks in the moisture in the atmosphere will condense rapidly and clouds will lower and thicken quickly tonight into tomorrow AM. You can clearly see that process occurring on the latest RAP model run. This is the 500 mb level or about 18K feet up into the atmosphere.

Notice how the energy is digging and carving out a storm as the black lines kink more and more in the Plains states along the Mo River. Those black lines are called “sort of” like isobars at the surface (lines of equal pressure) except these are lines of equal heights. The height contours are labeled with height in meters divided by 10. For example, the height contour labeled 546 is where one would have to go to 5460 meters height to find 500-mb pressure. As the lines tighten up the winds increase at that level. In time that atmosphere close to the ground responds and you get a surface wave as well. Look at the 1PM surface map.

Now how does all this come together too create rainfall? Well as the moisture in the atmosphere condenses clouds form as mentioned. If there is enough lift we can get precipitation to form as well and that should be the case tomorrow. The problem is the best lift moves away by later tomorrow AM. So as a result a LOT of that initial lift will be in the creation of clouds and maybe some rain. IF there was a good moisture feed into the storm, which there isn’t, it wouldn’t take as much effort for the storm to create rain from the clouds. That’s why I’m not expecting a lot of rain amounts, but I’m expecting at least some drizzle and showers to move through, especially during the AM hours on Monday.

What I’m trying to say is that this will not do much to help the drought at all. Maybe it’ll knock down the dust, and perhaps some off on the MO side can get 1/4″ of rain out of this, but again for the KC area that might be tough doing. Still expecting about 1/10″ or so. Something interesting…IF this would be winter and we would be cold to start the event and the ground and colder aloft, this is the type of thing can would mess up a rush hour with wintry weather, perhaps light ice at first then over to snow as the whole atmosphere cools down. Amounts would be under 2″ but depending on the timing of things, it could be messy. Just something to think about a couple of months from now. :(

Anyway this thing will fly by tomorrow, and highs will struggle to get to 50 and may only be in the 40s for most of N MO tomorrow afternoon I think, and maybe even the metro as well. we should be stuck in the low clouds through tomorrow night, before we clear out on Tuesday.

This storm will turn into the Nor’easter that I’ve talked about and with the cold weather expected in the NE as well as the redesigned beaches from Sandy, this thing may create some coastal flooding and exacerbate the power outages that are being repaired as quickly as possible up there. You can see the evolution of this storm by looking at the GFS model…it’s probably a little to far east with the Nor’easter, I think it’s going to be closer to the coastline and I’m still not sure how much wintry precip there will be inland.

With the cold weather coming tonight and continuing through the week, and still 2 million+ without power, there is growing concern about the residents back east, especially the elderly. The last 750K people without power will have a tougher time getting it back because the crews have to go almost door to door. We saw the same thing happen here during our Ice Storm about 10 years ago when power for some took almost 2 weeks. I saw this tweet from @LeeGoldbergABC7

Latest Power Numbers NYC: 117,930 LI: 353,400 Westchester: 101,000 NJ: 992,000 Rockland: 40,451 Orange – 20,054 CT – 64,955

There are 2.2 million still without power of which 1.9 million are in NY/NJ. This upcoming storm may be able to generate 50-60 MPH wind gusts close to the coast. Most/all areal work would stop due to the dangers involved with the winds.

A lot going on for sure…and yes I’m still expecting a significant warm-up later in the week as well as a strong push of chillier air later NEXT weekend.

Joe

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