Sunday Afternoon Update

Published Sunday 4/11 at 1:30 pm

Before I jump right into the pattern change, I want to address one of the most common questions I get this time of year. Here was one email I got this morning.

“I have been wondering if the big winds we’ve been experiencing this past week are a kind of “annual” predictable event or just random. April seems often to be a windy month. Is that because of the change of seasons or something else?”

During the Spring months, two factors work together to create strong winds. By  April, the polar jet stream has started moving northward but can still drop far enough south to affect the southwest states. Meanwhile, the sun angle is getting higher in the sky and creating greater heating near the surface. The heated surface air rises during these spring months, often to a height between 7,500 and 10,000 feet above the surface. The rising air mixes with stronger winds aloft, resulting in stronger and turbulent winds mixing down to the surface. Strong surface pressure gradients can enhance surface winds. High wind events can also occur with strong surface fronts.

The models have been all over the place over the last 24 hours with their precipitation forecasts.  This morning the GFS showed very light precipitation through Friday for our area then a big storm rolling in for the weekend. This run was similar to what the Euro showed yesterday morning. The Euro has gone to a very conservative look and shows a very small system for next weekend.

This type of setup is another one of those that are difficult for the models to time each event. I was reading the AFD (area forecast discussion) from the Front Range NWS office this morning. They have a lot at stake because if everything comes together just right (as the GFS predicts), Denver, the foothills, and NE Plains could see a massive winter storm. They said in their guidance that it will be difficult to forecast more than 24 hours out, over the next 7 days at least.

Here is the latest GFS

Liquid precipitation over the next 10 days

GFS Snowfall (before melting) over the next 10 days

This is in stark contrast to the Euro this morning


Liquid precipitation over the next 10 days

Euro snow (before melting) over the next 10 days

That is a big difference for sure. One thing that is for sure is either solution would be better than what we have experienced over the last 10 days.

Speaking of dry conditions, I came across a photo I wanted to share. We hear so much about the drought these days people are under the impression that it is an anomaly. Here is a photo in 1908 when the Ohio River dried up in Bridgeport, Ohio. This river is usually full of barge traffic.

For us, it still looks like precipitation will hold off until Tuesday.

My next update will be Monday afternoon. This morning I posted the details of the 2nd annual prize drawing. If you have not seen the details and are interested you can read them here:  Second Annual Drawing For Cash Prizes

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