Saturday, December 10, 2016

Short Term And Very Long Term Outlooks

Chamber of Commerce/Snowbird weather continues here in Tucson - forecast surface plot above is from 06 UTC WRF-GFS and is valid at 3:00 pm this afternoon (Saturday, December 10th).

So, a look off toward the Great Lakes is needed to find a bit of weather interest. Above webcam view is from Portage, Wisconsin - where a winter storm watch is in effect today. Portage is along the Wisconsin River north of Madison and a bit east-southeast of the Wisconsin Dells.

For December, the skies are pretty friendly this morning, with almost no flight delays across the country. The map below is the FlightAware Misery Map showing airport delays at 5:00 am this morning. I expect things will go downhill a bit later today as snow impacts the Chicago and Detroit airports.

Here in Tucson there has not been a rain event that produced a quarter inch of rain at the house since September 7th - it takes at least a quarter of inch to put some moisture into the ground for a few days here. In fact, total rainfall during the past three months (i.e., since September 10th) has been only 0.98", and big question is: when will there be a significant precipitation event for southeastern Arizona?

The QPF plumes from the 00 UTC run of the GEFS (above) indicate some possibilities for TUS beginning in about a week. However, the operational version of the GFS is more interesting in the very long term. The forecast below is for 48-hour precipitation totals ending at 5:00 pm Christmas afternoon. The model brings a serious plume of subtropical moisture into the Southwest for the Holiday weekend, which would dampen the Winterhaven Festival of Lights. Cold and wet weather usually happens sometime during the event, which begins today and ends December 26th.. 

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