Come on Sunshine…

So far, my forecast for Memorial Day has been pretty good. Showers and a few storms were mainly out of the area by 9AM. Now, we have to clear it out. The clouds have been quite stubborn, especially from Milwaukee southward where they are closer to a big cluster of thunderstorms around Chicago. The clouds from those storms have crept into Wisconsin. I still think as the day progresses more and more sun will filter into the area from northwest to southeast. Kenosha and Racine may not be so lucky. I was expressing to my wife earlier today why the forecast was even more important than usual. I was sitting at the computer staring at the visible satellite and making sure that my forecast was going to be ok. I said that because thousands of people will be outside at parades and barbecues if I have a busted forecast it would not be good. Speaking of visible satellite…

A visible satellite is simply a picture taken from a camera in space. Note how the majority of the state is sunny with just the SE corner stuck in the clouds. Also take note of the thinner clouds across Waukesha, Washington, and Sheboygan counties. This is a good indication that the sun is filtering through the clouds. It may not be perfectly sunny, but you can still see your shadow.

Overall, it has been a dry couple of weeks in our area. There were a few spots this morning and last week that got a quick hit of heavy rain, but that missed most areas. Our plants and lawns could use some rain. There is a very good chance of rain arriving late Tuesday night into Wednesday morning and depending on the eventual placement of the stationary front, we may get another round on Thursday. There could be some heavy rain and even the possibility of some severe storms…most likely being strong winds. The best chance of severe weather would be early Wednesday morning. Take a look at the forecast amounts of precipitation below.

The image above is from our RPM model. It shows the heaviest rain staying to our south and builds high pressure into the area for Thursday keeping any rain to our south. Now, take a look at the QPF forecast from the Hydrometeorological Prediction Center.

The QPF or quantitative precipitation forecast…a fancy term for expected rainfall…keeps the heaviest rain just to our south, but still brings our southern counties an inch of rain.

With either forecast, it would be prudent to have an umbrella on Wednesday. Now we just need some rain up north. Here is the latest drought monitor for the United States. The worst drought anywhere in the lower 48 states is located in Northeastern Wisconsin.

Hopefully, some of the next few rounds of storms will bring some much-needed rain to the northern half of the state. However, it looks like the majority of the rain will stay to the south. Stay tuned and have a great Memorial Day.



2 Responses

  1. Mark – question..

    Much of the northern half of Wisconsin has been moderate to severe drought conditions for quite a few months. In fact, this week the Palmer’s Drought Index worsened to extreme this last week in NE WI.

    The Midwest Regional Climate Center shows a solid surplus of soil moisture in the top six feet.

    Any ideas?

    • Scott,

      This is a running deficit over about two years. I’m surprised the soil moisture is adequate, but a lot of the drought index is based on river flows and it is down over 60% of normal this year. That’s my best guess.


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