Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Hastings, NE

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042
FXUS63 KGID 180006
AFDGID

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Hastings NE
606 PM CST Fri Feb 17 2017

.SHORT TERM...(This evening through Saturday daytime)
Issued at 429 PM CST Fri Feb 17 2017

The forecast through these next 24 hours remains very quiet and
about as "guaranteed dry" as it possibly gets. Thanks to a weak
cold front currently crossing the region, we are finally going to
catch a break from record-warmth on Saturday, but with highs in
the 60s it will still be well-above normal.

Taking a quick look at the current/recent weather scene as of
4PM/22z...today has overall played out much as expected under
plentiful sunshine, although if anything temps have maybe climbed
a degree or two higher and breezes might have gotten a few MPH
stronger behind the passing cold front (especially in our far
northern/west- central counties). Highs should end up 70-74 most
areas except for cooler mid-upper 60s far north around Ord.
Because of this, much of the CWA (especially northwest half but
also parts of the southeast) have breached "near-critical" fire
weather thresholds today, and in localized areas have briefly
flirted with outright-critical levels but not solidly met them.
Will however hang onto near-critical wording in the Hazardous
Weather Outlook (HWOGID) for a couple more hours. As mentioned, at
the surface the passing weak cold front is the main feature, with
it now roughly through the northern two-thirds of the CWA and its
passage marked by steadier north breezes as opposed to
light/variable or light southwesterly breezes still hanging on in
KS zones ahead of the boundary. In the mid-upper levels, we remain
in a ridge-dominated pattern just to the north of a slow-moving
closed low drifting east through OK/western north TX.

Now briefly glossing over forecast expectations through these next
24 hours...

This evening/tonight:
Very quiet weather persists under nothing more than perhaps some
limited thin high cirrus (most clear at worst though). At the
surface, although high pressure dominates the scene, there will be
just enough of a weak pressure gradient to promote light north
breezes of at least 4-8 MPH for most areas most of the night. Low
temps were changed very little from previous, and are aimed low-
mid 30s most areas with the main exception of some 20s mainly in
Valley/Greeley/Dawson counties.

Saturday daytime:
It will be roughly 7-10 degrees cooler than today in most areas
and skies will probably feature a little more in the way of
passing high cirrus, but overall another remarkable mid-February
day. Skies still mostly clear to partly-cloudy at worst. At the
surface, very light breezes in the morning will gradually turn
more easterly and then southeasterly during the afternoon as high
pressure departs, but with speeds largely near-to-below 10 MPH.
Highs changed little, aimed low-mid 60s all areas.

.LONG TERM...(Saturday night through Friday)
Issued at 429 PM CST Fri Feb 17 2017

General overview of this 6-day period:
Just not as much time today to discuss the details of these
periods as this forecaster would normally like, but here are the
basic main points:

1) We continue an incredibly mild and likely record-breaking (as a
whole) stretch of mid-February weather lasting well into next
week, with highs well into the 60s most days and even some low 70s
possible mainly Tuesday. A transition to a cooler regime is
expected Thursday, but even then highs are still aimed into the
50s and could end up warmer. Finally, a distinct cool-down (albeit
not bitter cold by any means) is in the forecast for Friday with
highs aimed into the upper 30s/low 40s, but even this isn`t far at
all from seasonal norms.

2) Precipitation-wise, there are two distinct windows of
opportunity with fairly high confidence in dry weather in
between. First of all, the first of two upper disturbances will
bring a chance for at least hit-and-miss, isolated to scattered
rain showers and maybe even a few rumbles of thunder, primarily
Sunday evening/night but possibly lingering into Monday as well
(especially in northern/eastern zones). The coverage/amounts of
this precip event don`t look great, but there is just enough
elevated instability (perhaps up to a few hundred J/kg) that it
was decided to re-introduce a small chance for non-severe thunder
to the forecast, which is also consistent with several neighboring
WFO`s and also the latest SPC Day 3 outlook. Then, following
several more dry days, the next potentially stronger/more
organized system looks to arrive in the Central Plains during the
Thursday/Friday time frame, and this entire time frame includes
chances for initial rain showers possibly transitioning to snow
Thurs night into Friday on the backside as colder air rushes in.
Although this system bears watching, and it does appear to have
some potential for accumulating snow, it`s worth noting that just
in the past 24 hours models have trended downward/northward with
heavier snow potential over our CWA. Of course, this trend is not
set in stone either. There is still a TON of time for the details
of this Day 6-7 system to evolve and change, so please don`t get
caught up in the details yet. Confidence is somewhat high that
this system will feature rather strong northwest winds on its
backside, and have already got sustained speeds in the 25-30 MPH
range in the forecast for Thursday night/Friday with further
upward adjustments possible as it nears. In addition, later shifts
may also have to consider at least an isolated/slight chance
thunder mention with this late-week system too but for now
instability looks quite meager.

3) In other departments, have introduced a generic mention of
"patchy fog" to the forecast for late Saturday night into Sunday
as moisture returns northward on light-but-steady southerly
breezes. At least one model (NAM) suggest that saturation may even
be deep enough to produce some patchy drizzle during this same
time frame, but have held off on this for now as moisture appears
fairly shallow. Last but not least, although there are no
"obvious" fire weather days in the forecast yet, we will have to
keep an eye especially on days like next Tuesday when near-record
temps again come into play.

&&

.AVIATION...(For the 00Z KGRI/KEAR TAFS through 00Z Saturday evening)
Issued at 555 PM CST Fri Feb 17 2017

VFR conditions are expected to continue throughout the TAF valid
period. Mostly clear skies will persist with just a few passing
high clouds. The wind will gradually shift from northerly tonight
to easterly by around noon and then southeast by later in the
afternoon. Overall the wind will be light.

&&

.CLIMATE...
Issued at 420 PM CST Thu Feb 17 2017

- First regarding today:
As of this writing, Grand Island has set a new Feb. 17th high temp
record of 72 (previous record 71 in 1981/1970).

- Looking ahead:
Although these next few days look to be record-free, there could
easily be at least two more opportunities for daily temperature
records at Grand Island and/or Hastings next week, but nothing
that is a "slam dunk". One possibility is record warm low
temperatures for Monday the 20th, and another possibility is
record highs for Tuesday the 21st. Stay tuned...

- Likely the warmest two-week stretch on record for mid-February!

Needless to say, we are in the midst of a REMARKABLE stretch of mid-
February warmth, what now looks likely to be the all-time warmest
two-week, mid-February stretch on record for most/all of our CWA!

Using our primary official climate data site, Grand Island airport,
as a proxy for our area as whole, and based on a combination of
recent observed temps and our current forecast, the expected average
temperature (mean of highs/lows) for the 2-week stretch Feb. 10-23
should end up around 48.2 degrees. This would shatter the current
Feb 10-23 average temperature record of 43.1 degrees set in 1930.

&&

.GID WATCHES/WARNINGS/ADVISORIES...
NE...None.
KS...None.
&&

$$

SHORT TERM...Pfannkuch
LONG TERM...Pfannkuch
AVIATION...Wesely
CLIMATE...Pfannkuch



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