Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hail, Cold Air Funnels, Total Rain, and Record Warmth!


Think the weather is boring?  Think again.  There's still so much going on with our weather, it's hard to come up with a title for this post!

Let's start out with what will happen later today.  The cut-off low will move through the area sparking off showers and thunderstorms.  This is basically a pocket of very cold air aloft which is very conducive to the development of showers and thunderstorms.  This is the type of situation which is favorable for the production of hail with the super cold air above our heads.  The most likely locations will be western and northern Arkansas.

Also, there has been a lot of talk about "cold air funnels".   These are usually harmless and very rarely make it to the ground, but can cause some to get nervous.  When a closed, cold core system like the one we have traverses overhead, it's something to watch!  Basically, with plenty of spin associated with the upper low, an updraft into the cold air aloft can begin to spin and the formation of a condensation funnel can appear.  These usually occur well above the ground, but are visible.  It will be interesting to see if any form.

Here's a visible explanation.

From the National Weather Service in Ohio.  Some of these cold air funnels will be possible close to the upper low in western and northern Arkansas

Now onto the total rainfall amounts.  The much talked about rainfall gradient was amazing to see.  While Little Rock and Pulaski county saw close to 5'' of rain, just 40 to 50 miles east on interstate 40, there wasn't much at all.  The north/south oriented, slow boundary kept the rainfall from moving east for a long time.

Doppler radar estimates show central and western Arkansas receiving 3-6''.  Look at eastern Arkansas.  Only 1-2'' fell.  That's pretty amazing to see!
These are official 48 hour amounts ending Thursday morning around 6 AM.  These are NWS official rain gauges.  Little Rock received 5.09'', but Searcy only got 1.55''.  Amazing!!!!

Despite the rain and cooler temperatures, Little Rock is well on its way to a record breaking March.  With plenty of warm weather in the forecast next week, this is ALMOST a done deal.  We will more than likely end the month in the top 10 warmest March's in Little Rock weather history which dates back to the 1870s.

By average high temperature, as of Wednesday, that number is 74.48 degrees.  That means if the month ended today, it would be the warmest March by average high in weather history for "The Rock"

By average low temperature, as of Wednesday, the number is 50.81 degrees.  The makes this month the 6th warmest by average low temperature.  Here's a list of the top 5.
1) 1907 - 54.00 degrees
2) 1921 - 52.23 degrees
3) 1908 - 51.52 degrees
4) 1910 - 51.32 degrees
5) 1938 - 50.87 degrees

By average monthly temperature, as of Wednesday, the number is 62.64 degrees making it the 2nd warmest in Little Rock history.  Number 1 on the list is 1907 (63.1 degrees).  I think it's entirely possible to be number 1 in this category by the time the month is over.  I'll keep you updated!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sure hope that next winter will be the polar opposite of this!

NOAA Winter Guidance