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!"

April 30, 2005

KC this weekend..

Filed under: Misc,UTM Updates — storm300 @ 10:13 am

I have today and Sunday off, so decided to drive to KC to visit the fam, since I probably won’t come to KC Mother’s Day weekend. On the way to KC last evening, I decided to drive through the Flint Hills and do a little photography. The Flints are just beautiful right now, with the new short grass growing after March burning. The hills were definitely alive. I’ve got a low-res photo posted below, and I’ll submit more on my gallery page over the next few days. My favorite area in the Flints is a small area along the border of Chase and Greenwood County about 25 miles SSW of Emporia where "Texaco Hill" is located if you look on a detailed map (i.e., Delorme StreetAtlas). -Mu

April 28, 2005

Very Late April Winter

Filed under: General Weather & Forecasting — storm300 @ 4:22 pm

Well, one of the strongest arctic air intrusions we’ve seen this year, including all of the winter season, is upon the high plains, currently. The temperature today in Dodge was steady around 39-40°F, when we should be around 70°F, which is the average high for this time of year. We are actually looking at the distinct possibility of measurable snow here in Dodge City tomorrow morning, perhaps as much as 1"!! April 29th. Wow. Okay, so obviously, this is putting the storm chasing on an extended hiatus. The system that will give western Kanas snow late tonight and early tomorrow will support what may be a fairly significant outbreak of tornadoes along just south of the lower Ohio River Valley. Memphis could be in trouble. It will be interesting to watch, indeed.

It also still looks like the possibility of a damaging freeze in parts of Western Kansas on Saturday morning, which was the topic of my last post. There could be 6 hours or so of

April 25, 2005

A “killer” last freeze?

Filed under: General Weather & Forecasting — storm300 @ 9:51 pm

Interesting weather on the western Kansas high plains dating back to March. There has been a ton of early spring growth out here with the blossoming of an assortment of wildflowers and trees really blooming out. The wheat crop is really starting to green up now and getting taller every day. Some guys at work have some fruit trees and they are saying that the growth looks like early to mid May… a good two weeks ahead of schedule. Why? Take a look at the preliminary climatological data at Dodge City for March and April

The statistic that clearly stands out the most to me is the number of days from March 15 to current (April 25) with average temperature >= 10°F of the "climo" or in laymen’s terms "normal": 10. Contrast that with the number of days 2.

Clearly, the intrepid farmer must be on pins and needles with so much early spring growth given the climatology of western Kansas. The last 28°F (the benchmark temperature for a killing freeze) or colder morning was March 27th. The average last freeze in Dodge City is around April 20th (now, to be fair, this statistic is based on a low of 32°F). Last 28°F or colder low temperature since 1997:

2005: 25° (March 27) *so far!
2004: 24° (April 13)
2003: 24° (April 9)
2002: 23° (April 4)
2001: 25° (April 17)
2000: 27° (April 16)
1999: 24° (April 17)
1998: 25° (April 17)
1997: 20° (April 13)

Now, the reason I write about this is because historically, prolonged warmth is followed by just as dramatic reverse conditions many times. It’s just the way it is around here on the high plains. We are now amidst a very cold pattern across the central and northern plains and upper midwest. Portions of Michigan are just recovering from a nasty blizzard just a few days ago. There is still a lot of cold air bottled up in the southern Canadian prairies, and the longwave atmospheric jet stream pattern supports the intrusion of very cold canadian air into the high plains in a more or less "congested" northern stream jet pattern.

By this coming weekend, a strong cold front will be moving through the central plains, and in the wake of the next storm system this weekend (on or about April 30th), low temperatures may very well strattle that dangerous 28°F for lows over portions of western Kansas where the wheat is really starting to take off, ahead of schedule. I shudder to think what will happen to the wheat crop should there be widespread low temperatures in the upper 20s towards the weekend. -Mu

April 24, 2005


Filed under: UTM Updates — storm300 @ 7:06 pm

Oh my god, I have become one of them: The blogger!

So marks the initiation of The High Plains Drifter, which will provide all sorts of pseudo-fascinating posts regarding the goings-on in my life, primarily centered around the hobbies that make me who I am… storm chasing, photography, and meteorology (which so happens to be my career). Oh yeah, I’ll talk a little about the sport of bowling, too, among other things that make this world turn. Not a lot of people are aware of "300" part of my nickname… so I’ll share some bowling stories as well, down the line. -Mu

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