Sunday, March 06, 2016

Red Flag Warning Today - Sprinkles To Start New Week

We were out in the grasslands near Sonoita yesterday - bit windy out in that area, with gusts hitting 25 to 30 mph while dewpoints dropped below 0 F. This morning is dawning quite cloudy (above) over most of southern Arizona, as the pattern change continues for the Southwest.

The NWS Office at Tucson has issued a Red Flag Warning for today that covers parts of southeastern Arizona. The graphic above is from the NWS homepage, and I'll remind everyone that this graphic is not accurate - the actual warning is shown only if one clicks through to the "Hazards" display (below).

Unfortunately, the grid point forecasts are apparently driven by the inaccurate, general zone forecasts (i.e., what's shown on the home page). So if one wants to check the detailed, small-scale grid forecast for the airport (current version shown above), it indicates that there is a Red Flag Warning in effect for the airport. What a sad, pathetic mess the NWS page is.

Many folks are probably not aware that the SPC issues a whole series of fire weather products each day, and today's outlook is shown below (with the southeast Arizona critical area better reflecting the current Red Flag Warning). The SPC "dry lightning" outlooks can, at times, be very useful during the Spring and early Summer.

The situation for precipitation remains quite marginal for tomorrow and Tuesday, as per current model forecasts. The QPF plumes from the GEFS run at 06 UTC last night continue all over the place, with amounts ranging from about a third of an inch to a number of members remaining essentially at or near zero (timing also is fairly different within various members). So not much consensus or help from the models, even though the event is fairly imminent.

The Atmo WRF-GFS high-resolution forecast for precipitation from 06 UTC is shown below; a fairly dismal forecast for what we had hoped would be a wet start for March. Remember that this forecast is driven by the operational member of the GEFS (currently one of the very dry members) that is shown in blue above. Perhaps things will look up some by tomorrow morning?

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