Thursday, April 25, 2013

Midwest Chill Will Ease Quickly

Tuesday and Wednesday were awfully chilled by late April standards, with several records for late season cold getting set in parts of Oklahoma and Texas. Oklahoma City dropped to 31 yesterday, its coldest temperature so late in the season since records were first kept in 1891.

Morning lows were generally 20 to over 30 degrees below average down there across the Southern Plains, which helped fuel nearly 300 record lows on Tuesday at climate sites through the country.  In contrast, just five record highs were set on Tuesday.

You can see that expanse of chill, draining south on the backside of the cold front that crossed our region last night.  The core of cold centered itself across the Plains, helped in part by snowcover that's still on the ground across the Plains and Upper Midwest, but also due to a strong dip in the jet stream for this time of the year.

The jet dipped down into Texas and Louisiana, which allowed for that chill to drain south while a ridge has built up along the East Coast.  If it weren't for our coastal malaise on Monday and Tuesday, we would likely have been a bit warmer each afternoon but the influence of winds off of the water precluded our area from getting nice weather until yesterday...and even then the Shore struggled to warm much above the mid or upper 50's.

High pressure centered over North Texas provided calm conditions to allow those temperatures to bottom out.  Other lows of note on Wednesday included Amarillo, TX (21, coldest this late in the spring), Dallas (37, first time in the 30's this late in over 100 years), and Lubbock, TX (25, coldest so late in the spring).

As we talked about on Tuesday with our discussion about the snow that fell in Minnesota, the pattern is due for a quick and rapid reversal by the weekend.  70's and even 80's are in the offing for the Plains by  Sunday afternoon, which is a bit more typical.  Those 70's in Minneapolis are a bit warmer than normal but hardly anything unusual for that part of the world.