Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Hastings, NE

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FXUS63 KGID 212118

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Hastings NE
318 PM CST Tue Feb 21 2017

.SHORT TERM...(This evening through Wednesday)
Issued at 201 PM CST Tue Feb 21 2017

See fire weather section below regarding fire weather concerns for
this afternoon and Wednesday.

A record high of 74 degrees has already been set in Hastings, NE
for today. The previous record high of 73 degrees was set back in
1995. We may still climb higher later this afternoon. Get out and
enjoy these record February temperatures as a rude awaking is
on the way for Thursday night into Friday. Grand Island`s record
for today is 75 also set back in 1995 and we may still catch that
record or come very close later this afternoon.

Tonight will be very warm for this time of year with lows in the
lower 40s, which is typically where our highs should be. As mixing
decreases tonight we will see the winds lighten up an turn more
westerly ahead of a cool front.

Wednesday...A cool front will track through Wednesday morning with
the wind turning northwesterly. However, the cooler weather will
only gradually filter into the region and good mixing with steep
lapse rates should still allow temperatures to warm well above
normal, but cooler than today. Highs will generally range from the
upper 60s to the lower 70s and should fall a few degree short of
the daily records.

.LONG TERM...(Wednesday night through Tuesday)
Issued at 201 PM CST Tue Feb 21 2017

Winter Storm System Thursday through Friday...
The big story will be a strong late winter storm system that will
track east out of the Rockies and strengthen over the plains
bringing much colder air and snow to the region. The best bet at
heavy snow accumulations will be across northern Nebraska where a
winter storm watch will be in effect. The heavy snow band is
currently expected to be north of our forecast area, yet our
northern zones, especially north of I-80, may still see a few
inches of wind driven snow primarily Thursday night into Friday.
We are right on the edge of this system and any slight shift of
the storm track could really influence expected snowfall amounts.

Most areas will only see a chance of rain during the day on
Thursday as the colder air continues to filter in on gusty
northerly winds. The best chance for rain will be Thursday
afternoon. However, by late afternoon northwestern zones from Ord
to Lexington could possibly begin to see the change over to snow
with that change over from rain to snow spreading southeast across
the area Thursday night. Most of any remaining wrap around
precipitation on Friday would be light snow for Nebraska...with
rain or snow if anything across northern Kansas. There are still
plenty of model differences in timing and storm track such as the
12Z and 18Z NAM is rather fast and brings more snow into our
northern zones Thursday afternoon but has all of the snow out of
here by Friday morning. The 12Z GFS and ECMWF are both slower
than the NAM with light snow primarily across Nebraska zones
through much of the day on Friday. The 12Z ECMWF is the
furtherest south model and does give Kansas zones at least some
chance of a few snow flakes although not much more than that.

Initially snowfall amounts currently look like little to nothing
over north central Kansas, a dusting up to maybe an inch or two
south of I-80, and then 1 to 5 inches north of I-80 with perhaps a
tight snowfall gradient. This is still very early and expect
forecast amounts to change as forecast models settle in on a
preferred storm track. Highs on Friday will only be around the
freezing mark across south central Nebraska to the upper 30s over
northern Kansas, a big change from the recent warmth. The north
winds Thursday into Friday should be gusty as the sfc low
strengthens over Kansas increasing the pressure gradient. Expect
wind speeds of 20 to 25 mph with gusts to over 30 mph at times.
These winds will make for blowing and drifting snow with poor
visibilities Thursday night into Friday across northern zones
where we see more snow.

Saturday through Tuesday...
Expect a gradual warmup with highs back into the upper 40s and
50s by early next week. Precipitation chances are not very good
from this weekend into early next week with just some small
chances Saturday night and again on Tuesday, but have little
confidence in these chances.


.AVIATION...(For the 18Z KGRI/KEAR TAFS through 18Z Wednesday afternoon)
Issued at 1137 AM CST Tue Feb 21 2017

A gusty southwest wind today will gradually die down this evening
becoming a light westerly wind. There may briefly be some higher
low level wind shear around dawn Wednesday morning that may
eventually need to be added into the TAF. A cold front will turn
the winds to the northwest later Wednesday morning.


Issued at 201 PM CST Tue Feb 21 2017

This afternoon...
A Red Flag Warning remains in effect for most of
south central Nebraska north of Highway 6 through 6 pm this
evening. Those areas south of Highway 6 that are not under the Red
Flag Warning due to slightly lower winds are still seeing near
critical fire danger and are certainly very near our Red Flag
Warning criteria. Be aware that any fires today could quickly get
out of control. The wind will gradually die down this evening and
the RH values will increase as temperatures cool brining a gradual
end to the worst of the fire danger.

Near critical fire danger is expected again by Wednesday
afternoon. Decided to go with the higher 12Z NAM winds for
Wednesday afternoon given good mixing with mostly clear skies. The
wind will start out light out of the west Wednesday morning, but
will increase out of the northwest by late morning into the
afternoon as a cold front moves through and we get good mixing of
the stronger gusts to the sfc. RH values may not be as low as
today, but should again be right around 20 percent. We are
currently right on the threshold of needing a fire weather
headline for Wednesday and will need to keep a close eye on the
fire weather forecast.


NE...Red Flag Warning until 6 PM CST this evening for NEZ039>041-



LONG TERM...Wesely
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