Sunday, April 28, 2013

Late Season Snowstorm Targets Midwest

The GFS model is predicting a late season snowstorm will hit the Midwest and western Great Lakes regions over the next 5-10 days.

Shown above is the accumulated snowfall forecast from now until May 6th. We see a swath of accumulating snowfall stretching from the eastern half of Iowa into Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The amounts in this swath of snow are anywhere from 2 inches to nearly one foot, with the latter end of the spectrum centered over Iowa and the U.P. of Michigan. Accumulating snow even goes as far south as Missouri, with that state and Illinois getting in on amounts as high as 2 to as much as 4 inches in isolated spots.

I am incredibly skeptical of this forecast. The GFS model is known to have a cold bias when it comes to winter weather, and the impending pattern change does nothing to help forecast accuracy. In my opinion, if this scenario even works out, we would see a chilly night in IL/MO without any snow, and maybe some plowable snow into Iowa- certainly not at the level being predicted. I find it hard to believe that the GFS model has a viable case at this point in time.


Nasty Squall Line Hits Texas on Wednesday

The Storm Prediction Center has outlined a small area of severe weather potential for Wednesday, May 1st. This outline encompasses south central Oklahoma into north central Texas.

The NAM model shows a rather small region of high instability over central Texas, extending into central Oklahoma. This image is valid for the afternoon of Wednesday. This stretch of high instability is slightly different from the SPC outlook in that the most able regions for thunderstorm development are just a hair east of the outlook proposed by the SPC, especially in Oklahoma. Thunderstorm development is expected to commence in the late afternoon hours after the layer of stability erodes. This image shows surface-based instability, which is essential for thunderstorms to get going. However, in order for thunderstorms to start forming, the layer of stability must be eroded. The stability is seen in the shaded regions. When you have high instability with no blue shading, thunderstorms are most readily able to form.

Projected radar reflectivity for Wednesday evening shows the development of a nasty squall line stretching from Oklahoma into Texas. The greatest threat of severe weather then appears to be damaging winds and large hail. The lack of strong helicity in the vicinity of the highest instability tells me that the tornado risk will be rather minimized. Regardless of the biggest threat, it's certainly looking like a severe weather event will unfold on Wednesday.


Summerlike Warmth Just Days Away

The first blast of summerlike warmth appears to be just a couple days away, as Old Man Winter is beat back for the first time in this unusually cold spring.

Maximum Tuesday Temperatures
The short range NAM model is projecting temperatures to soar past the 80 degree mark as far north as Chicago, IL and the Quad Cities in Iowa. This model forecast has been rather consistent with extremely warm temperatures stretching as far north as those two cities, although in this forecast the warmth appears to have been slightly dialed back. Temperatures in western Texas could flirt with the 100 degree mark, and the thermometer will situate itself well into the 80s and 90s across multiple Plains states on Tuesday. Unusually warm temperatures will continue out to the east into the Ohio Valley and even poking into Canada.

Maximum Wednesday Temperatures
The cold front will show its full force on Wednesday afternoon, but the warmth ahead of this frontal boundary will continue to show its might. We see a large swath of 80s from Texas as far north as Michigan. The warm sector shoots well into eastern Canada, where 60s and 70s prevail. It looks like almost every state in the central and eastern US will be able to achieve temperatures as high as the 60s on the low end and 80s on the high end. Once again, western Texas will see temperatures close to 100, but not at the three-digit benchmark.