March came in like a lamb across most of the nation, and for many of us, will go out the same way. A few of you may experience the lion’s bite in the form of severe weather across the south today, from Topeka to Amarillo, and Dallas to Shreveport. Large hail, damaging wind, and even an isolated tornado cannot be ruled out.
On Easter Sunday(and the LAST day of March!) those of you from San Antonio to Alexandria, Louisiana need to have your NOAA Weather Radios turned on and ready to go. Severe storms may erupt as you sit down for an early evening holiday dinner.
This is the time of year our severe weather threat begins to shift toward the Central Plains, then eventually into the Midwest by mid May to mid June. As our jet stream, a fast moving river of wind aloft, begins its trek toward a summer destination in Canada, it helps to draw warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico. Upper level storm systems riding along this jet stream feed off the warm, moist air from the south, and slam it into cooler, drier air from the north.
By mid-June, a large dome of very warm, moist air sets up shop over a large part of the U.S., putting a lid on widespread severe thunderstorm development. A secondary severe “season” tends to pop up from southern Minnesota and Iowa down into Missouri and Kansas in the fall, as the polar jet begins heading south again for the winter months.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature and Old Man Winter are gearing up for an April Fool’s joke that may not have some of you laughing. High temperatures in the mid 60s on Easter will drop back into the 30s on April 1st in Denver. Wichita will bump up into the 70s for the afternoon egg hunts on Sunday, but may wake up with a skiff of snow for the Tuesday morning commute! Talk about a rude awakening. This may be Old Man Winter’s last gasp though, as mid-range models push temperatures well above average across the eastern half of the nation in the middle of April.