Strong Upper Trough Digs Out West

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A heron airs out his wings at the Baker Wetlands on a warm, sunny and dry late afternoon on Sunday.  (This is the first time I have captured a heron’s tongue suspended in a gaping maw.)  The wife and I bicycled the 4.6 miles from the house to the wetlands in the ideal weather conditions prevalent across the region Sunday afternoon.

Sunday, October 8:  A dynamic weather pattern has developed across North America as a very strong jet stream over the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies started buckling and digging southward over the Intermountain West on Sunday.  For eastern Kansas, this meant clear skies, mild temperatures and light south winds   A strong cold pushing was pushing southward across the Great Basin and into the Rockies, but precipitation has been limited mostly to the higher elevations, although snow fell across much of Wyoming in places such as Casper.  For Lawrence, however, the high Sunday managed to reach 81, which is 9 degrees above the normal high of 72 for this date.   The low was 46, exactly normal for the date.   My home weather station came in with 81 and 52.  Humidity was low, with the dew point hovering around 50 in the afternoon during peak heating, and averaging 54 for the day.

Weather prognostications call for this strong system to effect the eastern Kansas region as early as Monday night and move across the region on Tuesday.  This is certainly fast compared to the last digging system, so we’ll see.  Lets look at a few dynamic charts..

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Sunday morning 500 mb with another strong trough digging across the inland Pacific Northwest.

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By Sunday evening, a dynamic trough is now digging across northeast Nevada, driving a strong, windy but dry cold front across that region.  Some snow is developing across central and northern Wyoming.

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On the 9:45 AM satellite image, the front can be seen extending from northeast Nevada across central Wyoming.  The remnants of Hurricane Nate push into the southern Appalachians.

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By 3:45 PM, the front is progressing into central Nevada snow spreading southward across Wyoming.  Only one tiny patch of cirrus is the only cloud for miles around in our region.

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Here is the current snow pattern across northern and central Colorado at 11:15 CDT Sunday.  It will be interesting to compare this image with the aftermath of the incoming system.

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This 3:15 PM Pacific Time image and the next two images show the beginnings of a dust storm developing off of one of the dry lake beds of southern Nevada as a very windy but dry cold front pushes southward across the Great Basin.

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A half hour later, the dust is kicking up across south-central Nevada.  Wildfire smoke plumes are also seen in the souther Sierra Nevada of California and the Rim country of central Arizona.

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The dust storm develops further as the cold front pushes southward at 4:15 PM PDT.  (I wouldn’t want to be breathing the air on the Nevada Test Site as this dust storm pushes in there.)  The smoke plumes develop further, too, with dry west winds in those areas ahead of the front.  Very dry and cool air is pushing southward across the Great Basin and all areas east of the Sierra Nevada on very strong north winds.  This will probably bring Santa Ana winds and high fire danger to southern California over the next few days, with some dry northeast winds having a similar effect on the northern third of California as well.

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