Modest Drought Relief
A modest rainfall event is moving over the Southeast U.S. this morning. As is often the case in February, the heaviest rainfall, often within thunderstorms, is located along the immediate Gulf Coast. In fact, climatology of rainfall (1 inch or more) indicates that the center of activity in February is along the central Gulf Coast.
Several severe thunderstorm warnings have been issued for storms along the Alabama and Northwest Florida coasts. Hourly rainfall rates are near 2 inches with some of the isolated stronger storms.
Take a close look at the rain over Georgia. This rain is moving directly over the core of most intense drought. While this is indeed a welcome soaking rainfall, total amounts are not likely exceed 1 inch, and most spots will be between 0.25 and 0.75 inches. Keep in mind that this region needs between 6- and 9-inches of rain to end the drought.
Blizzard On The Way
A major winter storm, with blizzard conditions, can be expected over parts of the northeast U.S. Over a foot of snow, along with high winds, can be expected from Boston to Portland. Boston is likely to as much as a couple of feet of snow along with damaging winds.
Possible Significant Rain Event Next Week
I mentioned in my Weekly Water Outlook the possibility of a pattern change that could bring heavy/prolonged rain to parts of the Southeast U.S. The set up for this pattern would allow the jet stream to steer multiple pulses of energy from the Southwest U.S. over portions of the Southeast U.S. The focus of heavy rain will be along a nearly stationary frontal boundary.
Currently, the region most likely to experience multiple rain events next week includes Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and portions of North Carolina. There is still a lot of uncertainty with this event. The specific pulses of energy could move further north, or be weaker. Still, NOAA’s HPC is calling for rainfall in excess of 4 inches from Sunday through Thursday. Considering the multi-day/multi-event aspect of this event, it could represent one of the best opportunities for drought relief for a long time. I’ll be watching this event closely – and expect there will be adjustments to the track and rainfall amounts.