WINDS OF CHANGE: End of Drought.........maybe

well the upper level wind pattern has decided to change noticeably from what has been since about Christmas. Looks as if the overall pattern is coming back to center. I say this b/c w/ each successive front that has passed through N. TX the associated rain has developed further and further west w/ each successive front/ s/w. The last one monday night brought light precip to eastern TX, a first for them in quite a while. Also the swtrly return flow on the back side hasnt been as warm as it has been. We (N. TX) havent been hitting the 80s in about a week now. Forecast for tomorrow is about 77. We may top out at 80 but i expect thats about it, nothing like the mid 80s. Although I just noticed the record for tomorrow is 82 set back in 2000 so may give that a run. The five day forecast is starting to resemble a late fall type forecast as oppossed to a springtime forecast w.r.t temps. But back to the precip getting closer, im seeing a consensus now btwn all parties (tv/nws) in good precip chances for Sun night sometime. I dont have the quote but Ive seen lately in some forecast in the AFD and Fire Danger statements from the WFO FWD of metion of severe but they havent been real aggressive on it. Will hold off on FCST thread for now.


BUT all this said, this may be just an aberation or just a burp by mother nature.
 
I am starting to think we are going to see a snow-free winter here in Lubbock this season. I can't remember when that has happened last. We don't get much, but we usually get 3 or 4 good snowfalls per winter, a couple of them before the end of the year.

I know it's not very scientific, but I have a gut feeling we may be in for a wild ride on the southern plains this spring.
 
Originally posted by David Drummond

I know it's not very scientific, but I have a gut feeling we may be in for a wild ride on the southern plains this spring.

Im beginning to like your gut David! Er, umm, you know what I mean! :lol:

Mike R.
 
Originally posted by mrobinett+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(mrobinett)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-David Drummond

I know it's not very scientific, but I have a gut feeling we may be in for a wild ride on the southern plains this spring.

Im beginning to like your gut David! Er, umm, you know what I mean! :lol:

Mike R.[/b]

Me too. 2005 was a hard year for this newbie. I picked the WRONG first year for North Texas regional chasing.

I'm gonna spend a few weekend north of here this year. Maybe my luck will change.

Back to hitting the books and charts!

brianb
N5ACN
 
Originally posted by Bill Hamilton
With the "drought", any storm that can overcome the cap should go severe in a hurry. Looking forward to Spring already.
All right, dumb question here. How does a drought make the cap easier for storms to break?
 
Originally posted by JP Santiago+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(JP Santiago)</div>
<!--QuoteBegin-Bill Hamilton
With the "drought", any storm that can overcome the cap should go severe in a hurry. Looking forward to Spring already.
All right, dumb question here. How does a drought make the cap easier for storms to break?[/b]


I don't think he's suggesting that the cap will be easier to break. In fact, if dry soil persists out west, we may see warmer temps at the base of the EML as it advects off the higher terrain and into the Plains. This may well result in a stronger cap, but it may also yield steeper lapse rates. If mid-level temps aren't directly affected by dry soil conditions (which is likely since diabatic heating doesn't extend to 500mb), then higher temps at, say, 750mb means steeper lapse rates. This can enhance upward vertical velocities (greater buoyancy), leading to potentially stronger updrafts. Dry soil may also help the dryline advance farther east. Note that I used a lot of "may"s, since I don't think anyone really knows what will happen.
 
Originally posted by Jeff Snyder+--><div class='quotetop'>QUOTE(Jeff Snyder)</div>
Originally posted by JP Santiago@
<!--QuoteBegin-Bill Hamilton

With the "drought", any storm that can overcome the cap should go severe in a hurry. Looking forward to Spring already.

All right, dumb question here. How does a drought make the cap easier for storms to break?


I don't think he's suggesting that the cap will be easier to break. In fact, if dry soil persists out west, we may see warmer temps at the base of the EML as it advects off the higher terrain and into the Plains. This may well result in a stronger cap, but it may also yield steeper lapse rates. If mid-level temps aren't directly affected by dry soil conditions (which is likely since diabatic heating doesn't extend to 500mb), then higher temps at, say, 750mb means steeper lapse rates. This can enhance upward vertical velocities (greater buoyancy), leading to potentially stronger updrafts. Dry soil may also help the dryline advance farther east. Note that I used a lot of "may"s, since I don't think anyone really knows what will happen.[/b]

Yeah, what Jeff said..LOL!
My thoughts are that with the drought the cap may be even stronger and any storm that has enough energy to overcome it should also have enough energy to go severe. Should make for an interesting storm season none the less.
 
Well, the plus to that would be not having too much, too soon, which seems to have been a problem on some otherwise ideal days the last couple of years.
 
I beleive it is the old "loaded gun" theory. You know when the cap causes instability to build up under the cap until it "boils over".

" Loaded Gun (Sounding) - [Slang], a sounding characterized by extreme instability but containing a cap, such that explosive thunderstorm development can be expected if the cap can be weakened or the air below it heated sufficiently to overcome it."
 
C Brian Batey, it was my first chase season too. Even though I didnt see very much, I learned alot and was able to chase with a couple of veteran chasers and if it happened the second week in May 05, we were either on it or close (Plainview May 12th, whew! Glad we werent as close as some!)

Hopefully the rains will come soon and put an end to the drought out there, we went through that in 98, it was no picnic, we really feel for the victims and evacuees.
 
Well, the latest drought outlook (released today) doesn't look good for the plains... The latest Drought Forecast from the CPC indicate drought conditions persisting or developing across most of the central and southern Plains through April (though, they forecast some relief in eastern TX and LA)... It may be a tough early chase season if we have vegetation issues caused by the severe drought...

season_drought.gif
 
It is interesting hearing all the talk about how the winter drought is going to ruin chase season (greater surface temps, lower storm visibility due to wind-driven dust, etc).

But exactly how much rain will it take to reverse these effects? You'd think a couple of those slow-moving spring MCS with 6"-8" of rain would keep the dust in check. The boundary layer moisture is coming from the Gulf, so just how much can the ground condition do to change the vertical temperature/dewpoint profiles to the point that it starts affecting chase setups?

I always thought that once the western troughs start coming and the winds turn southerly off of the GoM, the moisture is going to pour in regardless of what condition the ground is in.

Also, it seems that a large percentage of Plains real estate is covered with irrigation systems, which you would think would keep the soil somewhat normal in those spots. I'm assuming that there are contingency plans to supply those endless Zimmatics everywhere with water during a drought. I'm no agricultural expert, but that's why those systems are there, right? No rain, no problem - just turn on the giant sprinklers. They must have *some* way to get water to those things (tanker trucks?).
 
IMO this doesn't look good at all for storm season. OK/TX are expected to be in a continued/intensifying drought while KS/NE are expected to have one develop - through April. I just can't see a few MCS systems reveresing months of damage; the ground is so dry that several inches of rain will be soaked up like a sponge. It takes a while for the ground to saturate to the point of moisture pooling. Return flow off the gulf will no doubt exist as usual, but how deep will the moisture actually be? The Plains count on moisture pooling at the surface for a lot of the "stages" that setup on chase days.

Not trying to be the the doombringer, but we're always so hip on how great a storm year it will be in normal conditions, yet most years we're disappointed. I just can't be too optimisitc knowing the pattern we've been in (and how abnormal it's been climatologically) and with the long range forecast of it persisting. Troughs don't matter without ample moisture in place.
 
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