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Thursday, April 3, 2008

April Showers- or Downpours?

If you did not get to see the Cherry Blossom Festival this year, here is a sample from Jim Schuyler. The rain on the way will take down a lot of the flowers, and the Tidal Basin may end up a milky pink color by tomorrow afternoon. Jim has much more than I can post here, so check out this link to some of his photo albums and perhaps he will post them soon.
Let me begin with the disclaimer that BWI is 2.91 inches of rain below normal for the year to date, that is exactly the forecast from the NAM model through Sunday morning. I would be surprised if it works out that well. The trend since yesterday is for more rain and lasting a little longer this weekend. Here is the rain forecast through Sunday morning, which shows the Bay area of Maryland (in the red shade) with 2.5 to 3.o inches of rain. Much like yesterday, the bullseye is along the lower Mississippi Valley in through Kentucky. This area can expect between 5 and 6 inches of rain. This is all part of a slow moving 'stationary' front with a few waves of low pressure riding essentially from the lower mid west through Maryland. At this time it looks like our best chance of moderate to heavy rain will be both Friday morning and Saturday morning. If we get under some thunderstorms on Friday afternoon- that would change the whole equation... but a very good chance to make a dent or make up the drought deficit. It also brings up the notion of a new pattern for the spring.
Much like the winter pattern was for heavy snow to our north and west, the storm track could be shifting south- closer to us. Combine that with saturated soil from the winter snow pack- and here is the NOAA Spring Flood Outlook.
You can see the just Harford and Cecil county has an above average chance in Maryland. I suspect that is along the already swollen Susquehanna River. Most of Maryland is on target with normal, but the flood risk I mentioned yesterday extends from the Mississippi River Valley with more rain, up through the areas that had heavy snow this winter. While most of this is due left over soil moisture from the last season, that overactive patter is a sign of what we could see this spring.

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