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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!"

December 27, 2006

High Plains Winter Storm Dec 29-30 [post 1]

Filed under: Dec 29-30, 2006,General Weather & Forecasting — Mike U @ 12:24 pm

Here’s the first blog post of this event.  I’ll try to keep this blog fresh about twice a day (or more) until the event ends.  Another major winter storm is approaching the central High Plains… and it looks eerily similar to the December 19-20th storm… the only difference for Southwest Kansas is the fact that there will not be a pre-existing source of remnant cold canadian air (for freezing rain).   Below is the 60-hour total QPF from this morning’s 12z GFS run… pretty amazing:

Star = Dodge City, open circle = Denver, yellow dotted line = forecast mean position of rain-snow line through event

The problem for here in Dodge City is simple–  it will just be too warm for all snow.   The next problem is the fact that this system may evolve very similarly to last week’s storm… in that it will begin to slow down and occlude to the west southwest or southwest of Dodge City.  For large-scale cyclones like this… it usually means one nice shot of precipitation in the warm sector (the warm conveyer air stream), then the dry intrusion really takes over and the event is essentially done with…until the wrap-around air stream comes through…but by that time, the storm will be severely occluded and the best forcing for lift and precipitation will be over with… so only light accumulation of snow would occur, if that. 

Below is the GFS +48 and +72hr forecast from this morning’s 12z (6am) run:

blue arrow = warm conveyer air stream where significant precipitation occurs (where you want to be!)
yellow arrow = dry intrusion (where you don’t want to be!)   …if you like precipitation
thin arrow points to Dodge City, KS in the 700mb panels
green dotted line in the 850mb panels denote approximate rain-snow line

The 700 and 850mb do not change much in 24 hours.  The locations that remain in the vicinity of the blue arrow (in the moist conveyer) for 24 hours or more will see some major precipitation…and on the cold side of the dotted rain-snow line… well… you can put two and two together.  It looks like another 18"+ event for someone on the Colorado Front Range and/or High Plains.  More later…

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