In like a lion, but...
The old saying goes that if March "comes in like a lamb" it will "go out like a lion." If that is the case, then we had better expect a big storm around March 31 as yesterday was a tranquil and warm day for much of the Nation (though it was bitterly cold in the Northern Plains). It is impossible to say whether we will get a storm on March 31, but I can guarantee two storms for the Nation's midsection over the next eight to nine days.
Weather models today are in fairly good agreement on the track of those storms, and both of them are currently not forecast to take a track that would put the driest areas of the hard-red winter wheat belt in a good position for moisture.
Overall, I would call today's maps as more pessimistic on the precipitation chances for western Kansas southward versus the modest precipitation chances shown in yesterday's forecast. Our first big storm will be for mainly late Friday through early Sunday, one that promises at least a half inch of rain for the eastern Corn Belt and Delta but in the end it looks like one to two inch rains will be more common for those areas (with severe weather a good bet as well, especially for the Delta).
The other storm is for the Tuesday to Thursday time frame of next week. That storm will have a lot more cold air behind it, so right now we are looking at a major winter storm (or, more likely, a blizzard) for northern/western Nebraska, much of South Dakota, southern/eastern North Dakota, and western/northern Minnesota. A foot of snow may fall in a sizable part of that area. Rains will be seen further south and east, with especially areas east of Interstate 35 seeing fairly big rains (and probably another major round of severe weather) for the middle of next week.
Dry and cold air following that storm will calm things down for late next week, but the middle and latter parts of the 11-15 day period should be wet again for largely the same areas to see the best precipitation through the middle of next week. Our second storm is really going to pull down some very cold air, one that will put most of the Nation in below to much below normal temperatures at the end of next week.
Freese-Notis Weather, Inc. Des Moines, Iowa Copyright 2011 - All Rights Reserved