Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Spring Soakers Storm The State


12:45 PM Thursday update... As expected, the heavy rain and cooler temperatures are here.  The uncertainties earlier in the week are becoming almost crystal clear with what should happen through the weekend.  After a few inches of rain today into Friday morning, we should receive a break in the rain Friday afternoon through Saturday.  This is allow the ground to absorb the water, then the next round will swing through late Saturday, Sunday, and into early Monday morning.  This poses a threat for some localized flooding since it will be on top of Thursday's rainfall.  However, like I said, the ground will have at least some time to absorb all the water. 

I'm still looking at data which suggests very warm temperatures next week with highs pushing 80 degrees and beyond.  If this happens, daily record highs may be challenged.  More on that later.

This is Futurecast predicting total rain from 6 AM Thursday into 7 PM Saturday.  I think this is fairly realistic for central and southern Arkansas.  This does not take into account the rainfall Sunday.  

Picture of a tree on top of several cars on the UCA campus from Thursday morning.  So far, no reports of injuries.

Have a leak in your roof?  You're about to find out soon!  Washed your car this week?  We'll then you're to blame for the soakers.  I did both our cars Monday so I guess this might be considered my fault.

Yes, it's spring and we should expect rain during our wet season, but as you know here in Arkansas, there can be too much at one time.  The farmers are in the fields getting ready for the planting season and this period of heavy rain will more than likely delay things.  For the firefighters, this will no doubt make their jobs a little easier.

As I stated earlier this week, there were uncertainties as to how all of this will play out and now it's becoming much, much more clear.

The first round of rain will enter the state Thursday as a cold front will slowly push through the state from north to south.  Rain will become heavy at times.  While amounts could easily add up to 1-2'' with localized higher amounts, we can handle that due to the dry ground.  However, if it's heavy, then runoff could become a concern.  There's also a slight risk for severe weather issued by the Storm Prediction Center.  While this will be watched carefully, the risk is on the low side for much of central and southern Arkansas.

The next round of rain should enter the state late Saturday into Sunday.  This is where things can get a little messy.  The ground will be somewhat saturated by this point and any additional heavy rainfall could cause localized flooding.  This round could easily dump another 1-3'' across the state and locally heavier amounts.  The area of low pressure aloft could make a track favorable for strong to severe thunderstorms as well.  HOWEVER, the level of instability will hopefully be low due to clouds and rain.  This element as well will be watched, but again, it's heavy rain that could be the main problem.  Let's just say hypothetically, we do get some strong storms.  If there are gusty winds, it would be easier for trees to fall due to the soil being loosened up by excessive rainfall.

Welcome to spring right?  There can be wild swings in the weather and this is absolutely nothing new.  By the way, want snow?  Portions of the Oklahoma and Texas panhandle may deal with some heavy wet snow while all this plays out!  Wish I was there!

Here's the surface chart from HPC valid late Thursday.  The cold front moving through the state will be slow with an abundant amount of moisture surrounding it.  Rainfall will be locally heavy and should end from north to south by early Friday.
After a break in the rain Friday into Saturday, a trough of low pressure begins to make a move to the east.  That's what you see in the orange over west Texas.  There also appears to be a disturbance out ahead of the main trough.  This will bring rain back into the state late Saturday into Sunday.
This is the GFS at the surface showing rain moving back into much of Arkansas Saturday night.  Some of this will be heavy and since the ground will have moisture from the previous rains, this is when some flooding will be possible.
By Sunday at noon, the area of low pressure aloft begins to become negatively tilted and making a track into the mid south.  This is usually an ominous sign for severe weather.  HOWEVER, we are hoping instability levels will stay low due to ongoing heavy rain and clouds as this process unfolds.
HPC 5 day rainfall totals show a large area of the state receiving as much as 5'' of rainfall.  This will be spread out from Thursday into Sunday.
Our model, "Futurecast" indicates as much as 2'' with the initial round Thursday into Friday morning.
Slight risk for severe weather by SPC Thursday for central and southern Arkansas

Arkansas Boys Clear the way To Chicago.  Their mini dom gets the attention of Bosch and Storm Chaser, Reed Timmer.

1 comment:

The Weather Fanatic said...

Hello everyone. I am still alive and kicking. I decided to give up Twitter for lent. One thing I haven't given up on is the weather. That would be like ripping my heart out.I would be lost without weather. Speaking of,the weather trends over the last few weeks are not surprising to me. We are cycling and with that yields extreme weather events. It's not global warming, not an ice age as bad as Joe Bastardi wants us to believe.

What a tough year for snow lovers. The East Coast probably doesn't mind. Snowbird is heartbroken but he'll be back just in time for Hurricane season. Maybe he'll get to chase one this year.

Much needed rain is on the way and hopefully it spreads out. The ground is parched, so we should be fine for the first couple of inches. After that, let's hope it comes in waves.

As each month passes by, we are reminded of extremes. I don't see this changing anytime soon. The 80's displayed this with horrendous summers and brutal winters. Get ready Arkansans. This summer will rival last year and might be worse. Expect the 80's and some 90's to arrive sooner than we'd like. Averages are just that..don't expect us to be near them regarding temps and precip for this extreme weather that has setup and will remain most of the year.

The big spring rain events will be few and far between after this weekend event. It will be nice to see everything green up.I forsee a huge ridge of high pressure cranking up mid to late March/early April which will have us turning the AC's on way too soon and shutting the windows to keep the green slime of pollen out. Hope I'm wrong, but that is my gut. A decent shot of severe weather should return later this month if we can get some energy to interact with this bubble of warmth.

Everyone enjoy the rain and cooler weather because after this, our window of spring will begin to shrink. Summer like weather will be here before you know it.Hopefully we'll get more rain this summer, but don't count on it. Expect the unexpected.

Michael Bodiak

NOAA Winter Guidance