The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Thursday, October 5th:  The upper trough out west made very slow progress eastward across the northern intermountain west Thursday as a disturbance rotated southward across the northwestern Great Basin.  This brought the surface front to our south slowly northward overnight as a warm front, resulting in a warmer, mostly cloudy and very humid day Thursday.  The low, which occurred right at the beginning of the day at midnight CST (1 AM CDT) was 61.  By 7 AM CDT the temperature had risen up to 66 degrees.   The afternoon high was 76 with the dew point hovering in the lower 70s, resulting in an exceedingly sticky day for such moderate temperatures.  A few dribbles and spits of rain occurred from midnight to 7 AM, amounting to 0.04 inches at my residence, after which the rain was over for the day.

The precipitation total (and 24-hour total) for this event up to 7 AM Thursday averaged 0.34 inches among the seven Lawrence city precipitation measuring sites, ranging from 0.27 inches in  southwest Lawrence to 0.47 inches in the northwest part of town.  The airport is looking a bit low with a total to to 7 AM Thursday of 0.15 inches.   It looks like there might be some cobwebs stuck in the automated airport rain gauge again!

Across the rest of Kansas, in the 24 hours ending at 7 PM (this evening, not this morning), amounts ranged from little or nothing in some spots up to 0.68 inches at Concordia in north-central Kansas.  In second place was Liberal in far southwest Kansas with 0.32 inches and in third place was Emporia about 100 miles to our southwest with 0.21 inches.  The Lawrence Airport came in with 0.09 inches during the same period.

At this point, the bottom line is we still await the long-advertised heavy rainfall until the upper dynamics out west can move in close enough to lift the abundant moisture in the atmosphere over our area.  Or, as Tom Petty often melodically stated, ‘The waiting is the hardest part..’


Some surprise clearing took place late Thursday afternoon before the sun set behind a mid deck of clouds, as seen from the Baker Wetlands off the Haskell Avenue entrance Thursday evening.


At 8:45 AM plenty of moisture is seen streaming from Mexico and the Gulf across west Texas and New Mexico, even a bit into eastern Arizona, then east-northeastward across Kansas and Nebraska.  A good shot of rain is over eastern Nebraska and western Iowa with another in southwest Kansas into New Mexico.  Dribbles and spits rain for northeast Kansas are already over for the day, leaving cloudiness and high humidity in its wake.


At 6:15 PM Thursday, the digging upper low over western Nevada is still bringing some precipitation to the mountains of Idaho.  Very moist air continues to flow from Mexico across our region ahead of the upper low driving the flow but still enjoying a slow tour or Nevada.  Very dry air has pushed into California, southern Nevada and Utah closer to the low.


Morning 500 MB chart showing the digging trough over western Nevada, and a sort of Rex Block pattern (upper high north of the upper low).  High heights and the ridge line lie over our area.


At jet stream level Thursday morning the jet is to the north over northern Nebraska, which helped induce rainfall over eastern Nebraska to western Iowa, with somewhat lighter winds over our area in ridge position.  The Rex Block pattern is seen out west pretty clearly here between the low center at this level over southeast Oregon and the upper high centered over interior British Columbia.   So there is not much ‘upper dynamics’ to act on all the moisture over our area yet.


By Thursday evening at 500 mb the upper low center has moved eastward a bit, as has the upper ridge over our area.


Thursday evening at jet stream level the main jet is from Colorado across Nebraska and over to Chicago land with a ridge position over our area still.  The center of the upper low at this level has made some progress eastward, moving from southeast Oregon to central Idaho over 12 hours.


Just as the sun drifted below the distant mid deck to the west, this Baker Wetlands pond reflected some overhead clouds.  


Some precipitation aloft with multitudes of commuting gulls silhouetted.  It wants to rain, if only we can get some lift going in the atmosphere. 


Looking eastward, more gulls commute across the wetlands area as the sun partially lights a little wave formation. 


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