Dry-Spell-Busting Rainfall in the Southern Plains

A low pressure system moving from west to east in the Southern Ohio River Valley through Sunday will supply showers to the Ohio River Valley and the Appalachians, with up to an inch of rainfall expected.  At the same time, it will help to set up a front across the Southern Plains during Saturday and into the night. The upper level jet stream will allow for upper level divergence, aiding in the development of scattered showers and elevated, probably non-severe, thunderstorms through Monday, especially in Northeast Texas. Instability and wind shear are lacking despite the recent warm temperatures in the Central Plains. Limited sunshine and weaker low level winds are also not helping. The rainfall is more the story with this system and the placement of this front is very important, because most of the showers will be centered on it as a piece of energy moves along it. Poor drainage flooding is possible in the stronger showers and thunderstorms, and if any storms train along the stalled front. Rainfall totals through early Monday approach 2 inches along the front.

 

Monday's upper level divergence, which leads to lower level convergence and scattered showers and possibly thunderstorms.
Monday’s upper level divergence, which leads to lower level convergence and scattered showers and possibly thunderstorms in Texas and rainfall in the Ohio River Valley.
GFS Forecast model depiction of the precipitation along the front.
GFS Forecast model depiction of the precipitation along the front.
GFS Forecast model depiction of the upper level low as it enters Texas.
GFS Forecast model depiction of the system as it enters Texas.

 

This rainfall will help to slacken the short term drought developing over the Texas area. The recent dry spell has allowed for numerous brush fires in the Central and Southern Plains, and has allowed for an area just north of Austin, Texas to enter into an abnormal drought designation by the Drought Monitor. In addition, temperatures averaged 10+ degrees above normal in some places this past week, with many places reaching into the 80s and lower 90s. Coupled with the warm temperatures, precipitation is totaling only 50% of normal and a few local totals only reaching 25% of normal for this time of year.

 

Precipitation through early Monday. Notice the precipitation streaks in Northeast Texas and the Southern Ohio River Valley.
Forecast precipitation through early Monday. Notice the precipitation streaks in Northeast Texas and the Southern Ohio River Valley.
Precipitation totals through early Thursday. Notice the high totals in Northeast Texas including the precipitation through early Monday.
Forecast precipitation totals through early Thursday. Notice the high totals in Northeast Texas including the precipitation through early Monday.
Comparison of the drought in Texas from last week to this week via the Drought Monitor.
Comparison of the drought in Texas from last week to this week via the Drought Monitor.

 

After the more widespread showers end Sunday night, showers and any thunderstorms will become lighter and less widespread as this piece of energy moves east of the Southern Plains later Monday. This piece of energy will then slow in the Gulf before another piece of energy ejecting off the Rockies later can tap into it on its trek toward the Northeast. This piece of energy, in the form of an upper low pressure system, will allow for more rainfall on Tuesday into early Wednesday in the Southern Plains. Any thunderstorms that accompany this low pressure system will most likely be over southwestern Texas  and move east along with the normal low pressure system’s warm sector into eastern portion of the Southern Plains. An inch to an inch and a half of precipitation is expected with this upper level low pressure system in the northeastern portion of Texas.

 

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