Quantitative Precipitation Forecast
Issued by NWS

Home | Current Version | Previous Version | Text Only | Print | Product List | Glossary On
Versions: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50
FOUS30 KWBC 250805

Excessive Rainfall Discussion
NWS Weather Prediction Center College Park MD
404 AM EDT Sat May 25 2019

Day 1
Valid 12Z Sat May 25 2019 - 12Z Sun May 26 2019


Periods of training convection near the northern KS/MO border
could be ongoing as the period begins, but should be on the wane,
weakening by mid-morning.

The significant action is expected during the late afternoon and
evening hours, as a complicated scenario is envisioned which
lowers confidence in the overall forecast.  Precipitable water
values (PWs) of 1.75" are available at lower elevations of the
Plains while the High Plains advect in 1-1.5" PWs.  Dryline
convection is expected to initiate across the Rolling Plains of
northwest TX Friday afternoon/evening where the mid-level capping
inversion is weak not far from where heavy rain has fallen the
past 36 hours near Lubbock.  The flow backs just prior to 00z
which would make it difficult for storms to forward propagate
initially.  Stalling storms could drop very heavy rain between
Lubbock and Childress TX -- up to 2.5" an hour -- before forward
propagating after 00z.  The guidance, to varying degrees, allows
this activity to set off outflow boundaries that forward propagate
through a significant instability pool which is more capped across
portions of OK into KS which severely muddies the waters from a
QPF perspective.  Meanwhile, evening/overnight convection is
expected to develop across northwest KS closer to a front.
Whether or not this northern convection forms depends upon whether
or not the more southern convection gobbles up the available
instability to its south, which has led to a variety of QPF
patterns across northwest TX, OK, and KS amongst the guidance.  No
matter what transpires, the congealed blob of
convection/MCS/possible MCC should merge across eastern KS which
should then navigate around the northern side of the mid-level cap
into northern MO.  Think the 00z NAM CONEST has a good idea here,
though its magnitudes are probably too extreme.  Warm advection
precipitation should develop off to the east across portions of
MO, IL, and IN while the mergers occur to the west.

The QPF template was based on a blend of WPC continuity, the
National Blend of Models, the in-house bias-corrected QPF, and 00z
HREF.  The mesoscale guidance has a strong signal for local
amounts of 3-5" near Childress TX and closer to Kansas City MO.
The region has been saturated by heavy rainfall for weeks now, so
soils are saturated and rivers are in flood as stream flow is
extremely high.  This led to a large Moderate Risk area covering
much of KS and northern MO, as well as adjacent portions of IA and
IL, with surrounding slight and marginal risk areas to encompass
the wider range of heavy rain signals.

...Northern Mid-Atlantic States...
Deepening moisture and instability couple to support convection
across the northern Mid-Atlantic States into northwest New
England. Ahead of embedded short wave energy in a fast mid level
flow, a low level west southwest flow transports 1.50"+ PWs (2-3
standard deviations above the mean) over NY state and northern New
peaking between 25/21z and 26/06z.  Behind a warm front moving
toward New England a slow moving cold front crossing the Upper
Great Lakes, an axis of up to 3000 ML CAPE extends across the
central Appalachians into into far western NY state, generally
before 26/00z.

The convection is expected to produce hourly rainfall rates to 2"
and local amounts of 3-4" (per the mesoscale guidance) in the deep
moisture in place over these areas, particularly where cells merge
and/or train. The convection is expected to be progressive, with
storms motions from northwest to southeast at 10 to 15 knots.
However, three hour flash flood guidance values here are as low as
1.50" in spots, and any short term training could pose a flash
flood threat.  The Slight Risk in place was expanded into western
PA to accommodate the most recent model guidance.

After the convection over western PA/western NY weakens during the
evening hours, short wave energy in the fast zonal flow interacts
with marginal instability associated with a weakening warm front
crossing northern New England between 26/03z and 26/09z. Moisture
is deep across the region, but as the mean 850-300 mb flow becomes

better aligned with the propagation vectors, training becomes a
possibility. Three hour flash flood guidance values are as low as
1.50-2", since 14 day rainfall amounts of have 150-250% of normal.
With marginally wet antecedent conditions over this area, a
Marginal Risk remains here.

...Western U.S...
A mid level system over OR weakens as it drops south into Northern
CA during the first half of day, followed by a much stronger mid
level system, reaching northwest CA by the end of the period.
Steepening lapse rates are expected to support 500-1000 J/KG of ML
CAPE across much of the higher terrain of Sierra Nevada mountains,
with the best instability between 25/18z and 26/03z, with the
instability becoming consumed roughly around 07z.

A low level westerly flow aids in pooling 0.75-1" precipitable
water air (which is between two and three standard deviations
above the mean) over this area. The combination of moisture and
instability should support in at least scattered convection over
the higher terrain initially, which drops into the valleys just
after peak heating.

In this airmass, hourly rainfall totals to 1.5" are possible,
especially over the northern Sierra Nevada Mountains into the
Shasta Trinity Mountains.  The Marginal Risk placed over the
Sierra Nevada range is meant for areas below the freezing level,
for elevations mainly below 7500 feet.


Day 2
Valid 12Z Sun May 26 2019 - 12Z Mon May 27 2019


...Update 08Z...
Slight Risk area was expanded north into eastern NE, far
southeastern NE and west IA with a Moderate Risk introduced across
portions of central/southern Kansas (DDC/ICT).  This is to account
for the widespread convection expected east of the dryline with
instability and moisture pooling across much of the central
Plains.  With ample upper level support arriving atop of strong
instability and moisture convergence, felt there should be
convective activity riding the instability gradient which would
produce pockets of localized higher amount of rainfall; though
these locations could be scattered in nature.  Given the mesoscale
dynamics will largely dictate convective interaction lending to
some uncertainty coupled with 300-400% above normal precipitation
the past 2 weeks, felt expanding the Slight Risk area and
introducing the Moderate Risk was warranted.  In addition, the
Moderate Risk was discussed with local offices who agreed any
additional rain (beyond what is expected on Day 1) will likely
exacerbate the flood threat.

The Marginal Risk over portions of western/central Montana remain
with a Slight Risk area introduced along the higher terrain
(Rockies Front Range down toward Bear Tooth) which was in careful
coordination with the local offices (MSO/TFX/BYX). With strong
upslope enhancement, strong 700mb east wind, 0.75 inches
precipitable waters and high snow levels, expect QPF values to
climb to around 1.5-2.25+ inches in some locations.  High
resolution model QPF totals are quite impressive as seen by the
HREF ensemble members. Not to mention, the more large scale
synoptic models hitting this region hard with QPF amounts as well.
With the potential for snow-melt and lower FFG due to
terrain/soil, expect flash flooding to be a concern.

The Marginal/Slight Risk across portions of the Ohio Valley
remains as convection rides a boundary aided by mid-level
vorticity.  With pockets of 2000+ J/kg MUCAPE in place, surface
convergence from the sagging cold front will assist thunderstorm
development. Convective activity may develop into an organized
complex given deep layer shear in place.

...Previous Discussion with Modifications Below...

...Southern and Central Plains...
Short wave energy ejected from a strong closed low over southern
NV taps deep moisture and strong instability along a frontal
boundary extending from the Central Plains into the Mid MS Valley
to support convection producing heavy rainfall over wet soils.
While there was decent model agreement concerning the placement of
the synoptic scale system, there was some spread in the placement
of the highest rainfall amounts (not surprising given the
convective nature of the QPF). With this in mind, the WPC QPF and
Excessive Rainfall Outlook were based on a multi model blend.

Convection is expected to initiate along the dryline/cold front
extending from central NE into west TX, mainly after 26/18z, in an
axis of 2500/3500 J/KG of SBCAPE. Given the amount of instability
in place, the storms are expected to be predominately hail and
wind producers, especially through 27/00z. However, short term
training or cell mergers along the dryline/cold front could pose a
short term flash flood before that time.

The convection is expected to increase in coverage as difluence
increases ahead of the closed mid level system over the southern
Great Basin during the second half of the period. A strengthening
low level jet transports 1.50/1.75 inch precipitable water air
across the Southern and Central Plains, peaking near 27/06z. By
that time, the propagation vectors slow to less than 10 knots
across portion of central KS into southeast NE, which could allow
storms or clusters to train as they move ahead of the front.

As mentioned earlier, there is some spread in the placement of the
highest rainfall amounts, which is typical in an environment
dominated (at least initially) by strong instability. However,
there was enough commonality to place the highest rainfall amounts
from west central OK across central KS into eastern NE and western
IA, as the storms follow the best low level moisture plume.
Therefore, the Slight Risk was expanded across this region.
Another round of consideration with regard to a Moderate Risk area
across portions of central KS, where soils are fairly wet due to
convection earlier this week. However, given the spread in the
placement of the highest rainfall amounts, and after collaborating
with WFOS ICT/DDC, it was decided to hold off the Moderate Risk
for now. However, if there is better agreement on the placement of
the highest rainfall amounts, a Moderate Risk could be needed in
later forecasts.

...Ohio Valley...
Short wave energy tracking along a frontal boundary extending from
the Central Plains into the Ohio Valley interacts with deepening
moisture and instability to support convection capable of
producing excessive rainfall, especially over southern
OH/northern WV into far southwest PA. While there was generally
good model agreement with respect to the overall synoptic setup
(including the frontal position), there are some differences in
the amount of QPF in these areas. In an attempt to mitigate some
of the differences, the WPC QPF and Excessive Rainfall Outlook was
based on a multi model blend.

Convection weakening over the Mid MS Valley early in the period
rides along a frontal boundary from IL into southern IN and
southern OH. Short wave energy (or MCV) riding along the frontal
boundary provides synoptic scale ascent over an area with
J/KG of MLCAPE extending along and south of the front, which
should result in renewed convective activity, mainly after 26/18z.
Storms will also tap into the 1.50 inch precipitable water
moisture plume in place.

As the low level moisture flux peaks between 26/21z and 27/03z,
storms (or convective clusters, as the 12z GFS simulated IR images
showed cooling tops aligned in clusters) could train as the mid
level flow parallels the front. Hourly rainfall rates could
approach an inch, especially where convection trains, with local
1.50 inch amounts possible through 27/06z. Three hour flash flood
guidance values are as low as 1.00/1.50 inches over portions of
southern OH/much of WV into southwest PA, and these amounts could
easily be exceeded by training clusters. Based on the above, the
Slight Risk was left in place, with just some adjustments due to
model trends.

As a strong closed mid level low drops south from Vancouver Island
into Northern CA moisture is transported across portions of MT and
far northern WY during Day 3. Steepening lapse rates in
conjunction with the mid level low could support 250/500 J/KG
MUCAPE values over much of central MT, where the low level flow
transports 0.50/0.75 inch precipitable water air (which approaches
two standard deviations above the mean). The combination of
moisture and instability could support convection capable of
producing hourly rainfall rates near 0.50 inches in this area.

There is a strong model signal for 1.50 to over 2 inches of
rainfall, especially over south central MT and along the Lewis
Range, along and just east of the divide in the upslope flow.
Three hour flash flood guidance values are as low as 1.00/1.50
inches, which are attainable where storms train. The Marginal Risk
was left largely intact for Day 3, and if there is a better
convective profile near the divide in later forecasts, a Slight
Risk could be needed.

A strong closed mid level system tracks from northwest CA early on
Day 3 to a position over southern NV by the end of the day.
Steepening lapse rates is expected to result in pockets of 250/500
J/KG of SBCAPE over the northern and central Sierra Nevada
Mountains into nearby sections of western NV. Scattered convection
forming in the afternoon will have access to 0.75 inch
precipitable water air to produce locally heavy rainfall through
the early evening hours.

As the mid level system passes overhead, steering currents will be
weak (generally under 10 knots), which could support local
training and cell mergers. Hourly rainfall rates in this
environment could approach 0.50 inches (as indicated by the 12z
GFS), with local 1.25 inch precipitation amounts possible where
training or mergers occur.

Three hour flash flood guidance values are as low as 1.50 inches
over portions of the Sierra Nevada Range, and these values could
be approached. It should be noted that snow levels drop to around
7000 feet with the mid level system, so the potential for runoff
issues should be limited to elevations below this. The environment
could be borderline for a low end flash flood threat, especially
as snow level drop. For now, no excessive area was assigned.


Day 3
Valid 12Z Mon May 27 2019 - 12Z Tue May 28 2019


...Northern Plains...
As the upper level low continues to track across NV toward UT, a
surface low will develop amid height falls and better diffluence
aloft.  The progression of this surface low is what will set the
stage for potential flash flooding across portions of eastern WY,
far southern MT into southwestern SD.

As the surface low develops across far northeast CO, it will
slowly meander into NE and become situated in this region for 9-18
hours allowing easterly winds to enhance upslope across portions
of the Black Hills, Laramie and Big Horn Mountains. While
precipitable water values of 0.75 inches may seem modest, for this
region it is sufficient (around 1 standard deviation above the
mean), especially given it will be aided by 35+ knot winds for a
long duration.  Combine this feature with moisture flux,
strengthening divergence aloft and mid-level impulses and
widespread precipitation will result.  While these synoptic scale
features are well aligned, instability is nearly non-existent
north of the surface low, though some instability aloft is noted

Based on this, expect 1.5 to nearly 3 inches of rainfall is
possible along the upslope regions of the higher terrain.  Locally
higher amounts are possible. With FFG around 1-1.5 inches in 6
hours, we will likely see QPF approach these values in some
locations.  Therefore, felt a Slight Risk was warranted in this
region.  Meanwhile a Marginal Risk is extended to the east along a
stationary front where precipitation from an earlier system exited
toward the Upper Mid-West/Great Lakes region with strong
instability noted along this boundary overnight.

...Upper Mid-West/Upper Great Lakes Region...
A Marginal Risk has been extended across this region to account
for convection on Day 2 lifting northeast aided by mid/upper level
flow.  As rich moisture transported by southerly flow converges
along a stationary boundary with strong instability (>2000 J/kg
MUCAPE), expect thunderstorm development to become reinvigorated
Monday afternoon/evening. Areal average precipitation of 1 to near
2 inches can be expected with higher amounts possible aligned with
better instability and possible training.

With three hour flash flood guidance as low as 1 inch, felt with
the aforementioned ingredients, QPF may approach these values.
Therefore, a Marginal Risk was introduced.  With multi-model
solutions starting to hint at values climbing above 2 inches, we
may need to consider increasing to a Slight Risk across a portion
of this region.  With the soils across southern MN and WI a bit
more sensitive to additional rainfall, these locations will likely
be closely evaluated in the coming days.


Day 1 threat area: https://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov/qpf/94epoints.txt
Day 2 threat area: https://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov/qpf/98epoints.txt
Day 3 threat area: https://www.wpc.ncep.noaa.gov/qpf/99epoints.txt


USA.gov is the U.S. government's official web portal to all federal, state and local government web resources and services.