Thursday, October 3, 2013

An Octoberfest of Weather

October is one of my favorite months of the year. Sandwiched between the leftovers of summer in September and the often dreary damp days of November, October can feature mild to crisp days, cool nights, brilliant tree colors, in some cases, a variety of contrasting weather across the country.

That's the case this first week of October 2013. So far this week the weather has been mild to much warmer than normal over the eastern two-thirds of the country. However, today's weather map is offering up a buffet of interesting weather. CoCoRaHS observers will be getting a workout from the Rockies to the Gulf Coast and east.

Surface map for 4:00 p.m. CDT October 3, 2013
In the west, a strong storm system is gathering strength in the central Rockies and will bring the first significant snow of the season to parts of the Northern and High Plains.  The Rockies will be getting plenty of snow as well, although it won't be the first time this year.

It's likely that snow could accumulate up to two feet in northern Wyoming and to a foot in western South Dakota. The snow will be whipped around by winds expected to reach sustained speeds of 45 to 50 mph in South Dakota.  Blizzard warnings are in effect for several counties in western South Dakota beginning the morning of October 4 and continuing through until Saturday morning October 5. Rain is falling in the area now and is expected to change to snow Friday morning.

Probability of at least 12 inches of snow between 6:00 p.m. MDT October 3 to 6:00 p.m. MDT October 4.

Watches, warnings and advisories in effect for eastern Wyoming and western South Dakota.
NWS Rapid City, SD

Zooming down to the Gulf of Mexico, Tropical Storm Karen poses the first serious threat to the U.S. mainland since Andrea in June. As of 7:00 p.m. CDT a Hurricane Watch is in effect from Grand Isle, Louisiana to west of Destin, Florida. Karen is expected to strengthen some on Friday, possibly reaching minimal hurricane strength before expected landfall on Saturday afternoon.

Six to eight inches of rain with locally higher amounts may accumulate from southern Mississippi to southern Alabama.

Back in the central U.S., the cold front associated with the storm system now in the Rockies will bring much needed showers and thunderstorms to dry areas of the Midwest. Storms could be severe on Friday from western Oklahoma northeastward to western Wisconsin. The outlook from the Storm Prediction Center for Friday outlines an area of Moderate Risk for severe weather over northern Iowa and southern Minnesota. Be sure to check the latest update to this outlook on Friday morning.

Convective outlook for Friday, October 4 issued at 11:30 a.m. CDT October 3.
NWS Storm Prediction Center

On Sunday the Rockies storm will be affecting the Great Lakes with strong winds and cooler weather, while the remnants of Karen slog their way through the southeastern U.S.

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