Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Quieting out later this week

Sorry about the delay in updates.  I've been rather busy and went up to Canada over the long weekend, so I'm just now getting back into the swing of things.

Nothing too technical today, just a look at some medium- to long-range model forecasts for the end of this week.  The active weather continues today across the upper midwest with a shortwave trough present over the northern plains:
Fig 1 -- ECMWF analysis of 500mb height (contours) and winds (shading) at 12Z, May 31, 2011.  From the HOOT website.
There looks to be another powerhouse trough digging into the west coast--we might think that this would cause trouble later on this week.  But, it looks like the models are going to keep that cyclone cut off over the west coast, allowing a ridge to build across the east by the end of this week.

Here's the 500mb forecast for Thursday morning.
Fig 2 -- ECMWF 48-hour forecast of 500mb height (contours) and winds (shading) at 12Z, June 2, 2011.  From the HOOT website.
The trough has moved a bit inland and a strong jet streak is noted over the east-central Rockies.  The Storm Prediction Center has a slight risk of severe weather on Thursday for that region, and with this upper-air map it's easy to see why.  However, note the ridge that has started building across the south and up into the northern plains.  This is a powerful ridge--one that looks to be difficult to budge.  By Saturday morning, here's the forecast 500mb chart:
Fig 3 -- ECMWF 96-hour forecast of 500mb height (contours) and winds (shading) at 12Z, June 4, 2011.  From the HOOT website.
The trough over the northwest was re-enforced by another trough moving down from the Gulf of Alaska in this forecast, and even that isn't enough to push the troughs eastward into that large high-pressure/height ridge.  Instead, the cut-off cyclone in the west slides south to just off the central California coast.  What does this mean for our weather in general?  Here's the GFS forecast of surface temperatures around the middle of the day on Saturday:
Fig 2 -- GFS 102-hour forecast of surface temperature (colors), sea-level pressure (contours) and winds (barbs) for 18Z, June 2, 2011.  From the HOOT website.
 That ridge over the central US should keep skies relatively cloud- and rain- free going into the weekend.  This will allow solar heating to take full effect and we see temperatures forecast up into the 90s for much of the south and lower Mississippi River valley.  In contrast, the west coast gets stuck with much cooler weather under that trough--by late morning it's only forecast to be up to around 55 in Los Angeles.  Not very seasonable.  So, the west coast once again sees a delayed start to that summertime heat....

At least with this weather pattern, the tornado and severe weather threat over the hard-hit areas of the country will be virtually non-existent.  This will allow the recovery efforts to continue on.

On another note, tomorrow (June 1st) marks the official beginning of the North Atlantic hurricane season...

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