Much Needed Moisture Coming
While amounts are still somewhat of a question and odds at this point are favoring under 1/2″ or so, we’ll as usual take what we can get in our quest to try and ease the drought somewhat. Although that quest is not exactly going so well. I was driving up to Leavenworth to talk to an international ladies group yesterday afternoon and Ii was continually struck, not so much by how dry the terrain is/was, but more importantly how low the retaining lakes/ponds are. We continue to evaporate moisture into this dry air and we’re not replacing it that efficiently so far this winter. Some of the smaller ponds were somewhat ice covered (thinly) so that is helping the cause by reducing evaporation a little.
We’re starting today in the single digits as another arctic airmass has moved into the region. This airmass is a cold one as depicted by the temperatures at 8AM this morning…in some cases they are still going down compared to a coupl eof hours ago, and it will be a struggle for us to warm up today.
What’s interesting to note is that the “warmer” air and more importantly the gulf moisture really is not that far away. Once you cross over into TX, things really change. In the following map the temperatures are in RED and the dewpoints are in GREEN. There are some 60-65° dewpoints well down into TX. Also a LOT of fog is reported down there.
This moisture will come back towards the area later Saturday as the arctic air slides away and S/SE winds start to warm things up around here. This is one of the 1st times this winter that we’re had a decent pool of gulf moisture to tap into for our next storm.
Concerning the next storm, it’s still there and off the coast of S CA.
The problem is that the storm is forecast to really weaken as it moves into the SW part of the country and then comes through our area by Sunday afternoon. As it does get closer to us, some, not all, but some of this moisture to the south will be brought in over the colder air at he surface later Saturday night. That should be enough for some sleet or freezing rain to develop in the area. The mixed precip should change over to plain liquid rain but there may be a 1-3 hour period where we may have some frozen precip for awhile…at night…with temperatures near/below freezing. Even if we warm up into the 30s on Saturday, the air will be still pretty dry, and with dewpoints around 20° and precip falling into that dry air at the surface, we should see the temperatures come down some because of evaporation, hence the frozen precip chances. at this point the air aloft looks to be too warm for any snowflakes to form in the clouds. Eventually the “warmer” raindrops will erase the cold layer nearest the ground and we should get all liquid precip.
Again at this point my thoughts are we’ll get about 1/2″ of moisture out of this. The GFS from last night was slightly more bullish as is this AM’s run of the NAM model, with widespread 3/4″ rain totals from KC southwards (there is even a tiny 1″ 10 mile E>W bullseye along the I-70 corridor in KC) . I’d be more comfortable with the higher end projections IF the wave was a bit stronger which could happen. My feeling is that the better moisture may come in behind the weakening storm, as a result the dewpoints here may jump later Sunday into Monday, perhaps into the 50s ahead of our next storm due in early next week. Since there really won’t be a surface low with this set-up, once the south winds do kick in Sunday, we should maintain those winds after the “storm” aloft moves through, allowing warmer and moist air to keep coming in, even behind the storm.
Finally despite the cold start this AM, we aren’t quite sniffing at 0° in KC. The NWS put a graphic together through yesterday showing how long it’s been since we’ve had 0° or below in KC. Here you go.
Today is day 715!