Friday, March 21, 2014

Spring Outlook and Spring Flood Threat

NOAA has released their annual Spring outlook for 2014. Believe it or not, we are now officially in the season of Spring! While the weather may not agree with the calender, warmer temperatures will eventually greet you outside. However, model trends and analog years point to a cool spring, as seen on the left.  Many factors are in play for the persistent cold, but significant snow cover and oscillating jet stream are two driving forces to the unwanted below normal temperatures.
The map on the right shows the flood risk over the next three months. The snow cover and frozen ground will cause problems with rain run off. Many areas in the Midwest are in the "moderate" risk area for flooding and should consider preparations to those that reside in a flood prone area. Otherwise, it will be a wait and see scenario and will depend on how quickly it warms up and/or where and if heavy rains occur in these areas. In other news, There are some signs of a warm up in 8-10 days on a few models! Something to watch for...

For the sake of Spring optimism, here is a 850mb temperature forecast of the 12z GFS ran this morning for 2 weeks from now. It is showing a warm Spring day and pattern. Cold air suppressed well north and a strong area of high pressure in the east. This pattern leads to a long fetch of warm air from the Gulf to Canada leading to widespread 60s/70s/80s. While this exact situation likely will not happen, it is showing up more and more on the models as this stubborn pattern is attempting to switch over.
Briefly discussing the U.S drought forecast, we see much of this country's dry conditions will reside in the desert southwest.  The CPC is predicting a drought removal for nearly all of the Midwest, after several years, thanks to an above normal winter in terms of precipitation.

Thanks to for the well done maps!