Thursday, February 21, 2013

Why The Active Southern Jet Is Needed

The Plains storm (which we'll talk about in local detail a bit later this afternoon) is the first significant storm in what's shaping up as an active pattern over the next week or two across the South and Southern Plains. Given the drought map above, showing exceptional drought conditions from Texas north into South Dakota, the precipitation's poised to fall from this storm and a second storm later this weekend are not only sorely needed, but definitely appreciated despite the impact on travel from the wintry side of this storm.

Snowfall could reach a foot in parts of Kansas and Oklahoma from this storm...and given how little precipitation has fallen there over the course of the winter (some spots running about half of normal precipitation), these snows are beyond welcome.

In fact, with two storms in the pipeline over the next week portions of Kansas could see over two inches of liquid equivalent -- with the second storm also perhaps one of a snowy nature for parts of Western and Central Kansas, this could yield two feet plus of snow in the Sunflower State by this time next week.

Even if it falls as rain, that's ok.  They'll take whatever precipitation they can get at this point as the next six to eight weeks will be critical for them in getting crop moisture established for the summer crop season and also critical for the winter wheat crop that will come out of dormancy shortly.  More importantly, a reduced drought zone going through the Spring may limit the potential for supersized heat ridges to develop over the Plains, which would limit the potential for nasty heat ridges in the East this summer. It's not a lock but getting moisture in these areas...and hopefully continuing to see moisture at decent intervals...may work to limit the potential of a prolonged episode of nasty heat down the pike this summer although that's not a guarantee. It helps though!

Other places that will do well from this upcoming pattern will be the Southeast, which looks to pick up several inches of rain from those two storm systems...which should shave into their long running dry spells in Georgia, South Carolina, and Alabama.  Unfortunately, flood watches are up in Georgia since the amount of rain that's expected from the Plains storm system may be a bit too much to handle in one shot (perhaps three to four inches of rain in one shot).

This pattern may not yield much snow for the Dakotas and Nebraska but for Kansas and Oklahoma, this is definitely a nice and needed dent.