Nothing But Sunshine

Today there is nothing but sunshine across much of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Temperatures in the upper 60s and even into the 70s for much of the Upper Midwest and not a cloud in sight. The only excitement for the day is the passage of a cold front through the area late Monday evening. This cold front will bring just more cool dry air into the region so there is no precipitation expected with this event. Overall, a very nice day to get outside and get in some golf or other outdoor activity.

Now although the outdoor enthusiasts enjoy the sun and lack of rain, it is an issue for many framers of the region. Much of the upper Midwest region is in desperate need for some rain. Looking at Figure 1, courtesy of the Climate Prediction Center, we can see that most of the Continental United States could use some rain.

Figure 1: The current outlook for through December. Courtesy of the Climate Prediction Center

Unfortunately for the Midwest, the sunshine will continue on through the rest of the work week and into the weekend due in large part to the developing omega block developing over Minnesota. An Omega block is a large scale feature that can develop in the atmosphere and blocks or slows down the normal motion and transition of weather systems. In other words, under a block, a region can experience the same weather for many days or weeks on end. An typical omega block is a low pressure-high pressure-low pressure system that forms a shape similar to the Greek letter omega Ω. Figure 2 shows the 250 millibar level prediction for Tuesday. On this image we can see the distinctive omega shape currently over Canada, but it is expected to slowly transition eastward over the next week.

Figure 2: The 250 millibar chart for Tuesday at 12:00Z or 7:00am central time. Generated via the GFS model run using the weather.rap.ucar.edu website.

By next week this feature may be gone. Until then, take advantage of the warmer weather and sunshine while it is here.

-Timm Uhlmann