Severe T-Storms, Blowing Snow and a Temperature Rollercoaster!
March was a quiet month for severe storms, in fact, it was one of the lowest months for tornadoes, with only 15 being confirmed. That ties it at #4 (with 1958) on the list. The fewest confirmed March tornadoes was in 1951 where only 6 popped up.
April has started off a little more active, with storms firing off in Texas, California and Florida, and 5 tornadoes have been reported so far. From the beginning of the month to this past Saturday, there have also been 62 reports of large hail and 40 reports of strong gusts of wind. This Sunday marks the beginning of an active week that has several days lined up, back-to-back, with severe weather impacting the Central Plains and into the Southeast & Ohio River Valley potentially.
The set up for the storms to fire off in the early portion of the work week is displayed above. The jet stream is going to dip down across the southwest, and build up towards the Great Lakes out east. Colder and drier air will come down into the dip, also known as a trough, while warmer and moist air will come up from the Gulf of Mexico and move into towards the Northeast. It is where these air masses meet that there will be a lot of instability and dynamics setting up for strong to severe storms
The threat for severe weather is in the Central Plains; from western Oklahoma, through much of Kansas and into portions of Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri and Colorado. About 2 million people could be impacted by storms packing large hail stones, strong gusts of wind and isolated tornadoes. The chance for tornadoes is likely across western Kansas.
On Tuesday, the threat area expands, now encompassing several more states, from Iowa to Illinois, to Texas. Over 30 million people are in the path of potential storms firing up and cities such as Kansas City, MO and Tulsa, OK could be directly impacted.
The storm will then move towards the Great Lakes, and its cold front will continue to swing into the mid-Mississippi River Valley and towards the Southeast. Warm and moist air will surge northward towards the northeast, up along the warm front. The slight risk zone for Wednesday is likely to be encompassing several cities such as Paducah, KY, Memphis, TN, and Shreveport, LA.
On top of the hail, wind and chance of tornadoes to come from this storm, a lot of rain will as well. As we look to the Euro model (ECMWF) for its 7-day rainfall potential, several inches of rain could come across the lower Mississippi River Valley and into the northeast, as well the upper Midwest. This is not just from the one storm I’ve highlighted above, but from several storms that will move through the week. Places like Des Moines, IA are in a drought situation and could use the rain, so I highlighted the area with the 3.58″ of rain.
Remember I mentioned that there was cold air coming in behind this storm? The other half of this storm system, will be bringing about several inches of heavy, wet snow, to the front range of the Colorado Rockies. Moisture will be pulled up and over and around the are of low pressure and dumped into the colder air, thereby producing the snow situation that you see above. The 13.0″ is located just around where the three states of Nebraska, Wyoming and Colorado meet. That is the highest total the model was able to show, but there could certainly be higher amounts as those winds slam up into the mountains and snow is deposited in heavy doses. There is even the potential for snow to move into the upper Midwest and near the Great Lakes. Winter storm watches, and even a blizzard watch is up across portions of Colorado, near Colorado Springs.
Cold air will funnel down from Canada, through the upper Midwest and move down into the southern plains, as that storm travels eastward. Temps will go from being above normal levels to well below seasonal averages within a very short period of time. Check out the graphics above and notice the cold pool on the move. Meanwhile, what goes down in one spot, goes up in another. Temperatures are trending well above normal levels from the Ohio River Valley and Southeast, to the Northeast. Detroit and NYC have a huge surge of warmth coming there way, while Denver and Albuquerque will see temps go into a free-fall.
If you were to travel from west to east, to these three cities for example, you would notice the temperatures changing through the week, and in essence, track the cold air. It first arrives down along the front range of the Rockies, impacting cities such as Denver. The mile-high city sees a 24-hour temp drop of over 30° from Monday to Tuesday. You go from short sleeves to a winter coat in a matter of a day. In St. Louis, the temperature rollercoaster comes into town during the middle of the work week. Temps on Tuesday are in the 70s, but by Thursday, are into the 50s, once the cold front and its storms slide through the area. Out east, NYC will see a big boots in temperatures through early half of the week, with highs going around 20° warmer than normal. But by the end of the weekend, its time to get back to reality, as the temperature drops to seasonal levels. The dip in temperatures is a gradual one, taking place over several days, rather than just one.
We hope you stay out of harm’s way when it comes to these storms moving through your area. Keep your NOAA weather radio handy and fully charged and keep an eye on your local news and weather reports, as well as of course, checking us out here at Weathernation for the latest information.
I leave you with a final graphic pertaining to the forecast conditions for Monday.
Have a great work week and enjoy the rest of your Sunday!
Meteorologist Addison Green (twitter, @agreenWNTV)