Monday, March 21, 2016

Fire And Snow, Whiplash Weather, One Extreme To Another, In Central Plains

To say the weather in the Plains states is erratic is an understatement. Especially so far this winter.
Looked like a lovely late afternoon Monday amid 70 degree
warmth in this webcam image from Yankton, South Dakota
but the area around the city was under a fire alert
due to low humidity and strong winds. And
a winter storm is likely Wednesday,.  

Especially this week. For instance, my in-laws in Yankton, in southeastern South Dakota have somehow managed to find themselves simultaneously under an extreme fire danger alert and a winter storm watch.

Those two things seem mutually exclusive, because it is by definition not normally dry during a winter storm, but it's happening.   

Actually, out ahead of the upcoming storm, it's remarkably warm, windy and very, very dry in the central Plains, hence the fire alerts. 

Then, a storm will start getting its act together Wednesday, probably over Kansas or Nebraska. It will strengthen pretty fast and draw cold air down from Canada. 

That's where the winter storm watch comes in. The wintry weather will extend from southeastern South Dakota, through northern Iowa and southern Minnesota, into central Wisconsin and a good chunk of the lower peninsula of Michigan.

No winter weather alerts are in effect in New England, at least not yet, but this storm is going to cause mixed precipitation, at least off and on in northern New England, Tuesday night through Friday, so be alert there.

As that storm strengthens develops over the Rockies tomorrow, then more intensely over the central Plains Wednesday, very dry, strong winds will sweep from New Mexico to Kansas.

NOAA forecasters are very, very concerned about extreme fire weather in parts of New Mexico, Texas and western Oklahoma Tuesday:

A significant fire weather event should unfold during the day, with the potential for rapid fire spread quite high. Additionally, overnight RH (relative humidity) recovery will be relativelky poor over parts of eastern New Mexico and the Texas/Oklahoma panhandles, keeping fire weather concerns elevated/critical through much of the night."

In other words, there's a high, high risk of some sort of wildfire disaster, possibly involving lots of homes up in flames, in that region.

Southeast of the developing storm, some severe thunderstorms, and maybe a tornado or two, could break out around northeastern Texas, eastern Oklahoma and parts of Arkansas.

Yeah, there's some extreme weather out there over the next couple of days.  

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