Largest winter storm of the season helping dent Midwest drought

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 3:00 PM GMT on February 21, 2013

Share this Blog
39
+

The largest snowstorm of the winter for the Midwest drought region is winding up, and promises to bring more than a foot of snow to portions of Kansas and Nebraska. Rain and snow from the storm--dubbed Winter Storm "Q"--will put a noticeable dent in the Great Drought of 2012 - 2013 over the Midwest. A second storm due to move through the region on Monday will provide a bit of additional help. The twin storms promise to drop more than an inch of rain (or liquid equivalent rain, for regions like Kansas and Nebraska getting heavy snow.) Many areas of the drought region should enjoy their their wettest day in months on Thursday. The core drought region in the Midwest needs 3 - 9 inches of precipitation to end the drought, so the 1" of precipitation expected from the two storms will merely dent the drought, not end it. Still, the economic value of the rain and snow from the two storms is in the billions of dollars. In addition, runoff from the storms will insure that barge traffic on the Mississippi River will be able to operate well into summer. The Mississippi River at St. Louis is currently about 7' above the lowest water level on record, up over six feet from the near record-low levels of early January.


Figure 1. Predicted precipitation for the 5-day period ending Monday, February 25 at 7 pm EST. The core Midwest drought region is expected to get about an inch of precipitation. Since this region needs 3 - 9 inches of precipitation to end the drought, this coming week's rain and snow will take them at least 10% towards that goal. Image credit: NOAA/HPC.


Figure 2. The amount of precipitation needed to bring the contiguous U.S. out of long-term drought conditions (raise the long-term Palmer Drought Severity Index, PDSI, above -0.5) shows that the core drought region in the Midwest needs 3 - 9 inches of precipitation to end the drought. Image credit: NOAA/Climate Prediction Center.

Drought-busting rains coming for Georgia and Alabama; flooding now a concern
Heavy rains last week in Alabama and Georgia helped give that region no areas of exceptional drought for the first time since January 10, 2012. Another 3 - 8 inches of rain is expected during the next five days, which will help bust the multi-year drought that has affected the area. Flash flooding will even be a concern, particularly on Tuesday. However, as noted in the latest NOAA seasonal drought outlook, "any recovery will occur very slowly, as it will take time for any increased rainfall to chip away at the large moisture deficits that have accumulated over the course of a multi-year drought."


Figure 3. NOAA's February 21 Seasonal Drought Outlook calls for drought to persist over at least 60% of the U.S. drought area through the end of May, with new areas of drought developing over the Southwest U.S. and Florida. However, significant improvement is expected in the Southeast and Upper Midwest.

Drought expected to continue into the summer
The area of the contiguous U.S. covered by drought remained unchanged this week at 56%, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor report. NOAA's February 21 Seasonal Drought Outlook calls for drought to persist over at least 60% of the U.S. drought area through the end of May, with new areas of drought developing over the Southwest U.S. and Florida; significant improvement is expected in the Southeast and Upper Midwest, though. After Monday's storm, the GFS and European (ECMWF) models predict that the jet stream will return to the pattern it was in for the first six weeks of 2013, meaning that precipitation-bearing storms will continue to miss the Midwest through at least the first week of March. Given that this jet stream pattern has been very persistent for many months, it's a good bet that drought will be a huge concern as we enter summer. NOAA's Climate Prediction Center predicts an increased chance of drier than average conditions over southwestern portions of the drought region during the coming three months. In general, droughts are more likely in the Midwest U.S. when warmer than average ocean temperatures prevail in the tropical Atlantic, with cooler than average ocean temperatures in the tropical Eastern Pacific (La Niña-like conditions.) This is what we have had so far in 2013. The equatorial tropical Pacific was about 0.3°C below average (as of February 18). This is similar to the ocean temperatures seen in the spring of 2012, just before the Great Drought of 2012 began.

Drought links:
My post on Lessons from 2012: Droughts, not Hurricanes, are the Greater Danger discussed how drought is our greatest threat from climate change.

Ricky Rood blogs about the Dust Bowl

Jeff Masters

Stormy Skies (geniebenie)
Stormy Skies
()
Saguaros with Snow and Rocks, no Fog (DesertNomad)
Southern Arizona, USA
Saguaros with Snow and Rocks, no Fog

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 293 - 243

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12Blog Index

293. whitewabit (Mod)
Just starting to snow in central Illinois .. Peoria area ...
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 370 Comments: 33187
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
@NWSWichita
As of 3:45 pm, NWS Wichita has exceeded 2nd all-time multi-day snowfall record, with 14.0 inches being recorded. #kswx

It is updated to 14.2", 0.8" shy of the all-time record.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7978
Quoting pcola57:


I'm looking at this and wondering "Where's his gloves??"..

One of the first things I saw was that he wasn't on air, and then that at least one hand didn't have a glove.

It looks like I should get 1-3" of snow from this winter storm.
Member Since: March 16, 2012 Posts: 127 Comments: 7978
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
@NWSWichita
As of 3:45 pm, NWS Wichita has exceeded 2nd all-time multi-day snowfall record, with 14.0 inches being recorded. #kswx
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
288. auburn (Mod)
Quoting pcola57:


Looks like days of rain..
Got your bailing bucket ready auby?
I have a in ground swimming pool and have it set to pump out when this gets here..
Have a master control inside so I don't have to get wet..Lol..
I know..chicken..Lol


Not chicken..smart!!!
Member Since: August 27, 2006 Posts: 548 Comments: 51014
Quoting Jedkins01:



If it really does happen, it would be a truly incredible feat if you stop and think about it. Human beings getting to another planet... Contrary to science fiction, in the real world of science, planets are much further in distance than they are portrayed in movies, or even if they aren't portrayed that way, movies make it seem easier than it is to go from more than one plant to another.

However, Mars is much farther away from us then some might realize, and space flight with humans aboard is much more dangerous and complex than people realize or appreciate. I would imagine its going to take a lot of team work from great minds with incredible skills to accomplish it if it does indeed actually happen.


I can't imagine how incredibly nervous and exciting I would be simultaneously if I knew I was going to be one of the crew members on board for the journey.


I am ready to go! I have been training for this nearly all of my life!




....... Uh, where's the steering wheel???
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting auburn:


Well looks like it might rain some here in Alabama..LOL


Looks like days of rain..
Got your bailing bucket ready auby?
I have a in ground swimming pool and have it set to pump out when this gets here..
Have a master control inside so I don't have to get wet..Lol..
I know..chicken..Lol
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
One last check before left work, up to 4" now and still snowing. More than yesterday's forecast, but about what earlier ones had us in. I think we stayed colder than expected, so stayed all snow instead of some sleet.

Looks like folks won't be enjoying much beach time on their last weekend down at Orange Beach. Hope you all avoid any flooding, but those areas that need the rain get it. Out to clean the windshields, stay safe!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
284. auburn (Mod)
Quoting ncstorm:
JMA Model 12z- I think Fred Astaire wouldnt have attempted it..







Well looks like it might rain some here in Alabama..LOL
Member Since: August 27, 2006 Posts: 548 Comments: 51014
Madagascar about to get hit with a 115mph Category 3 equivalent tropical cyclone.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting ncstorm:
Amazing..Lawrence, Kansas



I'm looking at this and wondering "Where's his gloves??"..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
JMA Model 12z- I think Fred Astaire wouldnt have attempted it..





Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting HarlingenHolland:
Major one for Australia.



Cool website..Stormcast.com ..BSCH

Your Image is a forecast by GFS 850mb for next Tuesday the 26,Feb...
No alarm bells yet..
I'll check back on it during the coming weekend..
Thanks..
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Amazing..Lawrence, Kansas

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Short synopsis of some of the flash flooding threat for South AL/SW GA/FL Panhandle come Friday into the Weekend from the Tally NWS Statement.

Remember if you must be on the roads in these parts; don't drown-turn around. Those folks living on or near riverbanks need to think about getting valuables to higher ground as well as the rivers swell this weekend. This system is going more of a flooding threat than a severe weather threat.

The greatest threat for flash flooding appears to be in Southeast Alabama and Southwest Georgia, but there is also some risk for the Florida Panhandle as well, especially as (if) the heavy rain bands shifts slowly southward Friday night and Saturday......... The timing will likely be from Friday afternoon through Saturday morning. The threat of river flooding will increase through the weekend and last through next week, as heavy rain from swollen upstream rivers flows downstream...... While these numbers may seem low, values above 15% are actually quite high for this sort of rare event.

Here is the link for the full statement:

Link
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Wonder who came up with the idea that Etna would be a good name for an insurance company
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
Excessive Rainfall Risk Map for tomorrow

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JeffMasters:
Our new featured blogger, Lee Grenci, will be on NPR All Things Considered this afternoon, talking about thundersnow. Ironically, he was working on a new post about thundersnow, when I called to ask him if was interested in doing the interview.

Jeff Masters
Prof. Lee is a tremendously gifted teacher.. I have learned more from his blog over the last month.. recommend it highly!! http://www.wunderground.com/blog/24hourprof/show.h tml
Member Since: September 9, 2010 Posts: 5 Comments: 1034
Major one for Australia.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting JustPlantIt:
Strange that the US doesn't/CAN NOT export meat to Europe! Antibiotics in our animals... why my dogs get hormone cancerous growths. We feed the dead animals to our own cats and dogs here. Forget the rice idea, high levels of arsenic. Forget the wheat... Great book out called 'Wheatbelly'. I've stopped eating both. The wheat is not fit for human consumption and allied countries are not buying it from us. Google this.
Great weather today as I prepare for a possible snoweaster this weekend! Who knows, maybe the next 'S' Storm.


Have to admit hope it stays that way. I was vegetarian for a long time in the states as eating meat actually made me ill, even when I didn't know something had meat in it, would get ill and find out later. At some point after moving to the UK, just really wanted something even though I fully expected to get ill...but didn't. Have never had a problem eating meat here. I don't eat it much, but it's nice that I can if I want. Someone had told me it was probably the the hormones or antibiotics etc used in meat in the US, very well could have been I suppose as it was very peculiar to all of a sudden be ok.

That eddy off San Diego looks like Huruna! Speaking of geesh, was forecast to stay tropical storm strength the other day!
Member Since: October 12, 2011 Posts: 0 Comments: 873
CHANCE OF FLARES: New sunspot AR1678 has developed a delta-class magnetic field that harbors energy for strong explosions. NOAA forecasters estimate a 45% chance of M-flares and a 15% chance of X-flares during the next 24 hours Link
Member Since: September 9, 2010 Posts: 5 Comments: 1034
Quoting WunderGirl12:
Hey Guys! Can you guys check out my WunderPhotos? Thanks! :-)


I did, I voted and left comments.. two days ago, right after I read one of these appeals, but nothing from you, I just checked. Some folks left comments a week ago... nothing from you... If you ask folks to visit your pictures on Dr. Masters blog, you might consider letting them know you are glad they visited.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting brywalker:
Suckers
"Excuse me" Whom are you addressing brywalker?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Everyone please be careful in watch and warning areas....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Picked back up again, now almost 3" on ground. Flakes are smaller, which hopefully means we'll stay out of the ice/sleet.

Pics of StL interstates look like parking lots, plows can't clear because of traffic - what a mess! 5-7" reports, guess depends on how much sleet vs snow they got. Getting a little dry slot now, hope that helps them. Glad I don't have to deal with it!

Looks like AR clearing out, anyone hear how much ice they had?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
267. whitewabit (Mod)
Quoting JeffMasters:
Our new featured blogger, Lee Grenci, will be on NPR All Things Considered this afternoon, talking about thundersnow. Ironically, he was working on a new post about thundersnow, when I called to ask him if was interested in doing the interview.

Jeff Masters


Thanks Dr ..
Member Since: August 17, 2005 Posts: 370 Comments: 33187
Hey Guys! Can you guys check out my WunderPhotos? Thanks! :-)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TomTaylor:
Atmospheric



Ok, that's what I figured.
Member Since: August 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 8269
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting brywalker:
Suckers


Why do you say that?? :-/
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
TORNADO WATCH OUTLINE UPDATE FOR WT 37
NWS STORM PREDICTION CENTER NORMAN OK
140 PM CST THU FEB 21 2013

TORNADO WATCH 37 IS IN EFFECT UNTIL 700 PM CST FOR THE
FOLLOWING LOCATIONS

LAC001-003-009-011-019-021-039-043-053-059-069-07 9-085-097-115-
127-220100-
/O.NEW.KWNS.TO.A.0037.130221T1940Z-130222T0100Z/

LA
. LOUISIANA PARISHES INCLUDED ARE

ACADIA ALLEN AVOYELLES
BEAUREGARD CALCASIEU CALDWELL
EVANGELINE GRANT JEFFERSON DAVIS
LA SALLE NATCHITOCHES RAPIDES
SABINE ST. LANDRY VERNON
WINN
$$
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
We've got a damaging tornado on the ground in Louisiana.
That cell just died out pretty quickly.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
From the SPC storm report page:

FT POLK DOPPLER RADAR USING DUAL POLARIZATION CONFIRMED TORNADIC DEBRIS SIGNATURE NEAR KURTHWOOD.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
We've got a damaging tornado on the ground in Louisiana.


Where in LA? Where do you get your information TA???
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
We've got a damaging tornado on the ground in Louisiana.

Okay. Where you hearing this?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
My cousin who lives 40 miles south of me in Davie Florida is in Speedway, Indiana visiting family... I'm sure she wishes she was back home... I'm sure she will call me later whining
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Jedkins01:



Wavelengths in what context? Are we talking atmospheric or sunlight?
Atmospheric
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
We've got a damaging tornado on the ground in Louisiana.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I have a hard time with that SC case, the farmer just bought it from an elevator. Of course, now that 90% are RR beans, odds were in his favor they'd have the traits, but not guaranteed.

Way over use of this and BT corn, nature quickly adapting defenses in pests because of this overuse. I understand the economics for the farmers, but you put all your eggs in one basket, bad results if bottom breaks.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Levi32:


Oh, Dr. Maue doesn't have time-average plots for more than temperature? Hmm....I see an opportunity to fill the gaps lol.

Today's GFS ensemble week 2 average is even more pronounced than 2 days ago.

Yeah he doesn't have much in the way of time averaged plots. Definitely leaves much to be desired. In fact, I have a whole list of new things I would like to plot someday. Hopefully I'll get around to it soon.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
SEVERE WEATHER STATEMENT
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE LAKE CHARLES LA
304 PM CST THU FEB 21 2013

LAC115-212115-
/O.CON.KLCH.TO.W.0005.000000T0000Z-130221T2115Z/
VERNON LA-
304 PM CST THU FEB 21 2013

...A TORNADO WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 315 PM CST FOR NORTH
CENTRAL VERNON PARISH...

AT 300 PM CST...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS CONTINUED TO
INDICATE ON RADAR A TORNADO WITH STRONG ROTATION AND A DEBRIS
SIGNATURE
. THIS RADAR INDICATED TORNADO WAS LOCATED NEAR
KURTHWOOD..MOVING NORTHEAST AT 35 MPH.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

HEAVY RAINFALL MAY OBSCURE THIS TORNADO. TAKE COVER NOW! IF YOU WAIT
TO SEE OR HEAR IT COMING...IT MAY BE TOO LATE TO GET TO A SAFE PLACE.

A TORNADO WATCH REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 700 PM CST THURSDAY EVENING
FOR SOUTHWESTERN LOUISIANA AND SOUTHEAST TEXAS.

&&

LAT...LON 3136 9303 3136 9299 3135 9298 3134 9298
3133 9294 3119 9316 3132 9327 3137 9320
3137 9303
TIME...MOT...LOC 2104Z 228DEG 30KT 3136 9308

$$

LANDRENEAU
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
247. JeffMasters (Admin)
Our new featured blogger, Lee Grenci, will be on NPR All Things Considered this afternoon, talking about thundersnow. Ironically, he was working on a new post about thundersnow, when I called to ask him if was interested in doing the interview.

Jeff Masters
TORNADO WARNING
LAC069-212130-
/O.NEW.KSHV.TO.W.0021.130221T2106Z-130221T2130Z/

BULLETIN - EAS ACTIVATION REQUESTED
TORNADO WARNING
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SHREVEPORT LA
306 PM CST THU FEB 21 2013

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN SHREVEPORT HAS ISSUED A

* TORNADO WARNING FOR...
SOUTHEASTERN NATCHITOCHES PARISH IN NORTHWEST LOUISIANA...

* UNTIL 330 PM CST

* AT 304 PM CST...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE METEOROLOGISTS DETECTED A
SEVERE THUNDERSTORM CAPABLE OF PRODUCING A TORNADO 6 MILES
SOUTHWEST OF GORUM...OR 14 MILES NORTH OF SLAGLE...MOVING NORTHEAST
AT 60 MPH.

* OTHER LOCATIONS IN THE WARNING INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO
CLOUTIERVILLE AND CHOPIN...

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

A TORNADO WARNING MEANS THAT STRONG ROTATION HAS BEEN DETECTED IN THE
STORM. A TORNADO MAY ALREADY BE ON THE GROUND...OR IS EXPECTED TO
DEVELOP SHORTLY. IF YOU ARE IN THE PATH OF THIS DANGEROUS STORM...
MOVE INDOORS AND TO THE LOWEST LEVEL OF THE BUILDING. STAY AWAY FROM
WINDOWS. IF DRIVING...DO NOT SEEK SHELTER UNDER A HIGHWAY OVERPASS.

&&

LAT...LON 3135 9300 3136 9303 3136 9313 3141 9318
3162 9291 3160 9280 3152 9272 3144 9281
3138 9290 3136 9292 3135 9295 3134 9298
TIME...MOT...LOC 2106Z 230DEG 60KT 3141 9302

$$

14
Member Since: April 29, 2009 Posts: 75 Comments: 15131
sure looks like its headed northeast not east huh...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
OK boys and girls... before I get into trouble, I am going to go and swear on another site that allows that! And beat up Monsanto and fight for the life of the honeybee here!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Have a good night,
PS:) My chickens are well and still giving me gorgeous eggs.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 293 - 243

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

JeffMasters's Recent Photos

Deep Snow in Brookline, MA
Sunset at Fort DeSoto
New Years Day Sunset in Death Valley
Big Sur Clouds