High Plains Drifter

disclaimer:  "The meteorological views/forecast thinking expressed are those solely of the author of this blog
and do not necessarily represent those of official National Weather Service forecast products,
therefore read and enjoy at your own risk and edification!"

March 19, 2010

Southern Plains Winter Storm 2010 March 20 [post 3]

Filed under: 2010 Mar 20 — Mike U @ 5:00 pm

It’s a No-Go for a snow/blizzard chase. I have decided at the last minute to cancel this chase.  It isn’t so much that I don’t think there will be a substantial snow event somewhere in OK, it’s just that I am seeing conflicting signals in the models, and I am afraid the mid level cyclogenesis will occur too late and too far east… thus limiting the very excessive snowfall (> 12″ and perhaps up to 18″) potential for much of northern Oklahoma.  I would like to see 700mb cyclogenesis occur sooner during the day Saturday instead of Saturday Night into Sunday when by that time the storm will be entering Arkansas.  This is just too far east, and this will really limit blizzard potential.  A major event requires significant southeast to northwest flow in the 500-700mb layer for Great Plains blizzards… and this will likely set up too late for my liking… as the storm enters the far eastern Plains/Ozarks.  I’d rather experience a nice wind-driven drier snow vs. wind driven wet snow like this system will have, too.  Non-meteorological factors are at work here too, such as the fact that I have been living out of a suitcase every 5 to 7 days it seems since late January… I want to relax and enjoy some March Madness this weekend… and I have some things to get done around the house on my 3-day weekend.  So therefore, I have decided to pass on this storm.  I will still blog about it occasionally tomorrow and Sunday.

Southern Plains Winter Storm 2010 March 20 [post 2]

Filed under: 2010 Mar 20 — Mike U @ 7:01 am

Target is north-central OK.  70% GO! The 06z off-hour runs of the GFS and NAM are coming into better focus, looking more like the ECMWF in the kinematic fields at most levels of the troposphere… so I have a little more confidence in the resulting QPF fields.  It looks like north-central OK is going to be the sweet spot for this storm…extending into southeast KS.  At this time, for the best daytime action, I am thinking Enid to Perry for a target.  I’d leave right after work and head to either one of these towns.  I’ve pretty much got everything packed and ready to go for a two-nights stay.  I have a high enough confidence that a foot of snow will fall in this area (or very near this area) to take a stab at this, and it’s right at the edge of my ~ 3 hour domain I was limiting myself to.  Winds during the day Saturday in this region will be 25 to 35 mph, so this should be very interesting… wind driven wet snow!  This will make photography a real challenge.  I will be busy at work today forecasting for Southwest Kansas, so I will not update this blog until about 4pm or so with just a brief one or two liner “Go/No Go!” and my final target town.

In the graphic below, my target area is in the dashed red oval:


March 18, 2010

Southern Plains Winter Storm 2010 March 20 [post 1]

Filed under: 2010 Mar 20 — Mike U @ 8:15 pm

Interesting snow and wind event on target for much of Oklahoma for Saturday, March 20. In a cold season fraught with southern Great Plains snowstorms, yet another one is on track for the southern plains.  I will blog this particular event since it will be close to Dodge City and has some possible blizzard implications at the height of the storm for some locations.  The global spectral model solutions (GFS, UKMET, ECMWF, Canadian GEM) all show strong mid level (500-700mb) cyclogenesis occurring during the day Saturday as the storm tracks across southern Oklahoma.  This would put much of Oklahoma in the sweet spot of this storm for heavy snow.  A large 1034mb surface high across Wyoming combined with the deepening surface low from north Texas into southeast Oklahoma will support strong north winds with the snow… on the order of 25 to 35 mph during the storm’s height.  There may be some frequent gusts above 40 mph for at least a few hours as well, especially across western Oklahoma on Saturday.  I think this is the best location for blizzard conditions to develop with this storm.  As such, I may be heading down there after I get off work tomorrow afternoon.  The ECMWF shows the most aggressive deepening of the cyclone and stronger low level winds with some 50-60 knots at 850mb on Saturday!  If > 8″ of snow combined with these kind of winds still appears like a decent probability within 3 or 4 hours of Dodge City during the daylight hours Saturday, I will likely make this chase — which would be the second blizzard chase of the season.  Below is the GFS model valid 21z (4pm CDT) Saturday from Thursday’s 18z run:


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