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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!"

February 21, 2007

Central Plains Winter Storm Feb 23-24 [2]

Filed under: Feb 23-24, 2007,General Weather & Forecasting — Mike U @ 12:32 am

. . . A bit farther south? . . .

The new Feb 21 00z run of the GFS suggests the mid level upper low will close-off over the Texas Panhandle around +84hr to +90hr… a classic scenario for significant precipitation over Southwest Kansas.  As a blizzard lover, this is exactly the kind of 500mb pattern I would be looking for — but there is one problem:  the magnitude of warm air ahead of the system and the overall lack of low level baroclinicity.  At least for here in Dodge City, we may be too warm for significant snow… at least as it stands right now.  That said, it is actually quite a feat to get this kind of deep tropospheric cyclogenesis without cold enough air for snow in Southwest Kansas in February.  A 535 decameter 500mb is usually deep enough to "generate" its own cold air through the column for snow at this time of year.  The question will be how quick this can happen.  A big "kicker" Pacific jet will keep this system on the move, so any blizzard conditions would likely occur for a 6 to 9 hour period perhaps over portions of western Kansas — a lot of uncertainty though.  When it does snow though, the snow rates may be quite high and with 30-50 mph winds… blizzard conditions would most likely be met… including here in Dodge City should this latest GFS run be any accurate.

96hr GFS run valid 6pm CST 2/24 showing the upper low and surface low nearly stacked along the OK-KS border.

Storm chasing this system?  There still remains a possibility of a chase Saturday if a) I am not needed for any overtime at work b) if Dodge City area remains out of the blizzard risk.  I will not chase if it appears we may get blizzard conditions in Dodge City with this storm.. (that’s the blizzard freak in me!).  Anyway, below are two charts from the 21/00z run of the GFS… the first is the 400mb RH and the 2nd is the surface wind and Lifted Index.  (I like to look at 400mb RH because I think it shows the mid-latitude cyclone dry intrusion subsidence and warm conveyor best and roughly the level in the troposphere that water vapor is depicted on the WV satellite imagery)… anyway, using these two charts, and *if* this were a perfect prog, then there should be an enhanced tornado threat over far south-central Kansas shortly not too long after 18z, if any insolation is realized in the mid level dry intrusion.  We’ll see how this plays out in subsequent runs as well as other models.

400mb RH… I like looking at this as a prog for what the water vapor satellite image might look like

Surface wind and surface-based LI suggesting an area of instability near the OK-KS border… notice this area is progged to be at the nose of the mid level dry intrusion in the image above.

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