Sunday, December 17, 2017

More Rain Coming Tuesday Night

We had some much needed rain across Region 8 last night, but much more is needed to break the drought. Here are some of the rainfall reports from last night:

Jonesboro: 0.43
Jonesboro at Hilltop: 0.70"
Brookland 0.47
Paragould: 0.44
Walnut Ridge: 0.53"
Pocahontas: 0.38"
Marmaduke 0.53"
New port: 0.53"
Pollard" 0.36"
Trumann: 0.45"
Ripley County, North End: 0.28"
Southside Batesville: 0.67", also a report of 0.64"
Earle: 1.27"
Walcott: 1.00"
Agnos: 0.50"
Kennett 0.32"
Ravenden Springs: 1.03"
Ash Flat 0.46"
Cherokee Village at 0.45"

More rain is coming! The forecast has drastically ramped up for rainfall on Tuesday night. Just a couple of days ago, most of the week looked dry. As data started changing, we have adjusted our forecast. The NAM model has been the most aggressive with the rain on Tuesday night. Here's what radar could look like by 10PM on Tuesday night:
As of right now, the southern part of Region 8 near I40 would see the most rainfall. The NAM shows 1-3" of rain! Click image to enlarge:
The GFS and Euro are starting to follow the NAM, too. NO wintry weather with this system. This would all be RAIN and much needed rain! Here's the GFS output for rain totals for Tuesday night:
If you notice, there is a SHARP cutoff on rain totals. This axis of heavier rainfall can shift to the north or south, so stay tuned for any flash flooding problems. At this time, the heaviest rain should be I40 southward.

Models are still flip-flopping about the chance of wintry weather closer to Christmas. Nothing is concrete enough to get excited about right now.


Saturday, December 09, 2017

CHRISTMAS?: Long Range Forecast!

As I type this, we are seeing a chilly morning across Region 8, but it is not "abnormally" cold. In fact, we should be ABOVE average on our highs over the next couple of days before a BRIEF cool down. This map shows the areas that will be "warmer" and "colder" than average. This first map is for Monday:
After the cold front moves through, we briefly see temperatures go BELOW average:
By the weekend, most of the country goes ABOVE average!
So, the overall trend over the next 10 days is above average temperatures, but very dry. Next weekend looks very warm, with some parts of Region 8 near 70:

Also, the 10 day rainfall totals do not look good for those needing rain:
BUT, What about CHRISTMAS? Well, we are still more than 2 weeks out, but there are some signs of a BLAST of cold air, right before Christmas. The GFS model has a big drop in temperatures on the 22nd and 23rd... and even some LIGHT precipitation. The numbers I circled on the right help us determine if the column of the atmosphere can support snow... And if this happened... it could.:

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Did Region 8 Have Snow On Halloween? Yes and No...

It's been "about" 24 years since kids were Trick or Treating in the snow in Region 8. Snowball fights on Halloween night in Arkansas may be weird, but that's what happened 24 years ago. When you hear about this night, it's always referred to as the time "it snowed on Halloween", but it was not ACTUALLY Halloween. You see, Halloween fell on a Sunday and many cities in Region 8 chose to trick or treat on the night before. So, the snowfall was actually on October 30th. The above image shows the strong upper-level low that had dipped south to help bring the snowfall. This is Saturday evening's 500mb map.

I decided to dig up some old climate logs to see what was written about this snow event and this is what I found. Here is the Jonesboro log for October of 1993 from Terry Wood. Click image to enlarge:
Notice, Terry logged that we had sleet and snow, with about a half inch of accumulation. Some places had more accumulation than others. Here is the historical log from Pocahontas. They had a nice snowfall, with accumulations of over an inch! Region 8 Weather Watcher, Jason Hampton, said they were having snowball fights in Randolph County as they were Trick or Treating! Click image to enlarge:
Finally, let's check one more location from that day. This climate log came from Doniphan, MO. Notice, over 2" of snow reported! Once again, click image to enlarge:
I hope you enjoyed taking a look back at the "Halloween" snowfall of 24 years ago. No snow tonight!

Enjoy the cooler air!

Monday, October 30, 2017

WINTER 2017-2018: Region 8, In The Battle Zone!

Yes, the title of this blog sounds scary, but we are going to be sandwiched in-between the warmer air to the south and the colder air to the north. The battle will take place over Region 8 and that may lead to more winter storms. Last year's forecast played out well, but I hope I'm wrong this year. As many of you know, I'm not a big fan of winter.

*SCROLL DOWN if you want to get straight to the outlook*

We often hear about La Niña and El Niño when it comes to the winter forecasts. This year, we see some signs that a WEAK La Niña is forming. However, there is a chance that we don't have either La Niña or El Niño this winter. I'm thinking we have more of a "cool neutral" where we aren't really in a La Niña or an El Niño pattern. If you recall from previous forecasts, this is determined on if we have warmer or cooler than average water off of the coast of South America at the equator. Here are the current seas surface anomalies:

Taken what we have seen in the past, this is the pattern I'm expecting this winter:
As many of you know, I like to look at the PAST to predict the FUTURE. I looked at some winters with similar patterns and decided to look at the 1967-1968 winter and the 2012-2013 winter. I'll admit that this year's winter outlook was a little more difficult. Anywho, let's dive in!

First, December of 1967 was a doozy! If you click on the image below, you can see that it was really stormy at the start of the month (12/2) with storms and high wind. At the end of the month, there was a winter storm with sleet, freezing rain, and snow. Region 8 was in the battle zone, with some days in the 70s and some days seeing teens and lower 20s:
The weather did not settle down in January of 1968. The battle zone between the cold and the warm air continued! As you can see below, we had 9 days in the 60s, BUT we also had 6.8" of snowfall that month!
February was a little quieter. Temperatures did not fluctuate too bad in February of 1968, but we did have another 1" snowfall:
The other winter that I checked out was the 2012-2013 winter. I think most of us remember that winter well. It was the Christmas Blizzard. Now, I AM NOT SAYING WE WILL HAVE A BLIZZARD THIS WINTER. But, I'm not not saying it either. LOL. In all seriousness, December of 2012 was active. We had a few rain events. WE had flucuating temperatures with some days in the 60s and 70s... while other days started in the TEENS! Click to enlarge to take a closer look:
January of 2013 was not that bad, but we still had some BIG temperature swings. Lows would be in the TEENS one day and then highs would be in the 70s a week later! That may be the theme this winter, too:
February of 2013 had one sleet/icing event. Just like 1968, the temperatures stabilized:

Winter 2017-2018 Forecast:

  • Big swings in temperatures: A few very mild days with very cold night to follow soon after. Overall, the AVERAGE temperature for the winter months will be ABOVE average. (This does not mean we won't have wintry weather!)
  • 3-4 Winter Storms this winter. 1 could be significant. 
  • Sleet and ice will be the most prominent wintry weather in these storms.
  • Above average precipitation.
Just for fun, here are a few SPECIFIC predictions:
  • First winter storm will be the second half of December.
  • Two days at 70° or above in January.
  • Less than 1" of sleet/snow/ice in February.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Severe Threat AND Razorback Game Forecast

Good Friday evening, everyone! We have a strong cold front coming in Sunday morning and storms are likely. While we may see some of the most substantial rainfall we have seen in awhile, the threat for severe weather appears to be LOW. Here are the bullet points on this storm as of now, Friday 5:00 PM:

  • Best chance of rain is Sunday.
  • 1-2" of rainfall is possible.
  • Could be the most rainfall for Jonesboro in 50 days!
  • Severe threat is LOW.
  • Storms may impact the Arkansas/Auburn game LATE, but more likely after the game.
Let's dig into a little bit of data. First, the data has been flip-flopping on the strength and timing of this front. At this time, it appears that a squall line will enter the NW part of Arkansas LATE on Saturday. However, we may have a few showers and storm BEFORE the line of storms.This is how radar may look at 7:00 PM on Saturday:
I believe the Razorback game will be dry at the start, if we can avoid the isolated showers prior to the squall line. We will have to watch radar and lightning closely through the game. By 10:00 PM, the line of storms will be getting close to NW Arkansas, but the game will likely be concluded by this time. Notice, Region 8 will still be mostly dry:
As the line of storms moves into the state, the western half of the state will be quite unstable. This map shows where the most unstable air will be located at 7:00 PM, prior to the storms:
As we go through the night and into Sunday morning, the line of storms should move into Region 8. Here's how radar could look at 1:00 AM. As you can see, the bulk of the rain is still west of Region 8. This is a Sunday morning weather maker for us:
Also, notice how the instability DROPS through the night. Here's CAPE (or the storm energy) at 1:00 AM. It greatly drops:
We will have to watch this storm evolve through the weekend. Stay tuned.