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Preview: Iowa Environmental Mesonet Daily Feature

Iowa Environmental Mesonet Daily Feature



Iowa Environmental Mesonet Daily Feature



Last Build Date: Wed, 23 Aug 2017 10:28:08 -0500

 



80s for the fair
(image)

The Iowa State Fair came to a close on Sunday and set an attendance record at over 1,130,000 people. The weather certainly cooperated for much of the fair. The featured chart displays the percentage of hours for each year's fair that the temperature was at or above 80 degrees between 7 am and 10 pm. This year's total came in at just about average, but quite lower than 2016. These values are based on hourly reports from the Des Moines Airport. 2004 shows up as the least number of hours and 1983 as the most for this chart.




Getting needed rainfall
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Significant amounts of rain fell in the state yesterday with western Iowa picking up the heaviest totals. The featured map displays the combination of MRMS totals for the previous week and the latest US Drought Monitor. The precip totals are presented as a percentage of average for the week. It is rather remarkable to see nearly all of the greater than 100% values confined to the driest areas analyzed by the drought monitor. Some of the driest ares south of Des Moines missed out on the biggest rainfalls, but what was received was certainly better than nothing.

Generate This Chart on IEM Website




Decision Time
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You may have heard that there will be an eclipse today and if you are still deciding on where to go, the featured map presents the latest NWS forecast for sky coverage at 1 PM. The darker areas on the map represent the lowest sky coverage (least amount of clouds). It would still seem like Nebraska is the best bet for Iowans, but caveats galore with the amount of traffic likely on the roads today and the ongoing storms this morning complicating the forecast. If you are sticking around Iowa today, clouds look to be a problem for most of the state. Whatever you do, good luck and enjoy!




Eclipse Sky Coverage Forecast
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There is great excitement for the full solar eclipse that will transverse the entire CONUS on Monday. The featured map presents a recent NWS forecast of sky coverage at 1 PM CDT on Monday and the path of eclipse totality. For this chart, the darker areas represent locations with fewer clouds forecasted. At this point, the best eclipse viewing would appear to be over the northwestern US. If you are looking for somewhere closer to drive from Iowa, Nebraska appears to be a better bet at this time. Suffice it to say, there has never been this much interest nor forecaster attention given to a sky coverage forecast!




Muted August Range
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The featured chart displays the range between the warmest high and coldest low for each August on record for Des Moines. The top panel displays the range between the two temperatures and the bottom panel shows the magnitude. The bar lines are the averages. It is kind of interesting to see that the recent year's August have almost all had below average range in temperature. Rewording, the range between the warmest high and coldest low is becoming less. One theory for this could be elevated humidity levels acting to keep overnight lows warmer and daytime highs cooler. The current forecast looks to continue the muted range with nothing too hot nor cold.

Generate This Chart on IEM Website




Much needed rainfall
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Rainfall visited the state again on Tuesday with some significant totals over western Iowa this time. The featured chart looks at classifying where this rain fell in relation to previous 31 day departures from average. The blue bars represent the areal percentage of the state with the given 31 day departure and the orange bars provide the percentage of the state that picked up at least 0.1 inches for that departure based on NOAA MRMS estimates. The plot shows that about 90% of the state was running below average prior to yesterday's rainfall and that area received a majority of the rainfall.

Generate This Chart on IEM Website




Over a month for an inch
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Rain again frequented the state on Monday, but mostly missed the driest portions of the state over south central Iowa. Based on NOAA MRMS data, the featured map displays the number of days you have to go back prior to accumulating an inch of precipitation. South central Iowa really sticks out for this analysis with the yellows and blacks representing 35+ and 42+ days respectively. Rain continues to be in the forecast, but it again appears that the driest areas of the state may miss out.




Trailing SPI
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The lack of precipitation for most of the state remains the main story this growing season. The featured chart displays a couple of precipitation metrics for Des Moines. Each point on the x-axis represents the period from that date to August 13th. The orange, green, and black lines represent precipitation totals over the period of days. The blue line is the standardized precipitation index (SPI), which expresses a departure from average in terms of standard deviation. For Des Moines, the SPI is most negative since late May. Rewording , the most significant precipitation departures have been over the period from late May to today.

Generate This Chart on IEM Website




More time for summer
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A few chilly evenings, preseason football, and school starting soon have many thinking thoughts of fall. If you consider the summer season to be the 91 day stretch with the warmest average temperature, there are still a few weeks left of summer! The featured chart displays the end date of the warmest 91 day period each year for Ames. A simple trend line is fitted and shows a slightly negative trend. Temperatures look to feel a bit cooler than typical for summer for the next week, but warmer temperatures are expected by late next week.

Generate This Chart on IEM Website




2017 Humidity
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Our somewhat strange early August weather continued on Wednesday with mild temperatures and low humidity levels. The featured chart displays a climatology of surface mixing ratio, which is a direct measure of the amount of moisture in the air. The daily averages for this year are placed in the context of long term daily averages and ranges. The bottom panel displays a departure from average. You can see how recent stretch has been well below average and running near the bottom of the range of what humidity levels have been during previous years.

Generate This Chart on IEM Website




Flat August
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The featured chart displays the daily high and low temperature climatology for Des Moines. While we have past the warmest days of the year on average, the trend for August is more flat than it is down. It is kind of interesting to see how the slide downwards really gets going in September. The month of August features elevated humidity levels, mature agricultural crops, and warm ground temperatures, all of which help to keep temperatures from fluctuating too wildly. The current near term forecast is a case in point with highs and lows about the same each day.

Generate This Chart on IEM Website




90 Day Departures
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The featured map displays MRMS precipitation departures over the past 90 days expressed as a percentage of long term average. The long term average being an analysis of climate station data. The most recent US Drought Monitor depiction is overlain for comparison. The map shows the current "D2" depiction over south central Iowa having some of the lowest percent of average values.

Generate This Chart on IEM Website




Coldest High of August
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The high temperature for Sioux City on Saturday reached a mere 66 degrees. There is a fair chance that this could be the day with the coldest high for the month. How rare is it for the coldest high to occur this early in August? The featured chart attempts to answer that question with the frequency of a given day of August having the coldest temperature. This situation is not all that infrequent with plenty either years having the coldest high temp this early in the month. The pleasant temperatures look to continue this week.

Generate This Chart on IEM Website




First Fall Sub 50
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The coolest weather of the season arrived on Thursday and temperatures have dropped nicely overnight with some locations having a low temperature below 50 degrees for the first time since 1 July. The featured chart displays the period each year between the last spring and first fall low temperature below 50 degrees for Spencer. The year is split at 1 July for the purposes of this chart. So having the first sub 50 low during the first week of August is nothing out of the ordinary for the location and even a little bit later than average.

Generate This Chart on IEM Website




Smallest Day to Day Changes
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The featured chart displays a histogram of 24 hour temperature changes based on hourly observations. It is interesting to note that the variability expressed in this chart is minimized about this time of the year. Rewording, this is the most likely time of year that the temperature in 24 hours is close to the current temperature. The weather this week mostly resembles this statement with pleasant highs and cooler overnight lows.

Generate This Chart on IEM Website




Better than no rain at all
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The receipt of rainfall continues to be a struggle for most of the state this summer. Some portions of the state did pick up some rain last evening as shown by the featured MRMS estimates. Totals were generally less than a half inch, but for those that did get some rain, every drop counts at this point. More rainfall chances are in the forecast, but it remains to be seen how much will fall on the driest areas in the state.

Generate This Chart on IEM Website




3 weeks before and after 25 July
(image)

High temperatures since the 25th of July have been rather pleasant in the state and generally in the 80s. This stretch to end July interrupted what otherwise was a very hot stretch of weather. The featured chart compares the average high temperature for the three weeks prior to 25 July with the three weeks afterwards. Some quadrant diagnostics are included to show how the population is distributed. It is kind of interesting to see how the averages are not much different for these two periods. The current forecast looks to maintain the mild conditions, so this year's comparison looks to be well into the fourth quadrant.

Generate This Chart on IEM Website




July 2017 Precip Ranks
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With a mostly dry day expected to end the month of July, it is likely safe to plot up climate district based precipitation ranks for this year. There is a good amount of variability over the region with top five wettest contrasted with top 20 driest over not that far of a distance. These climate district averages are unofficial totals estimated by the IEM.

Generate This Chart on IEM Website




July Precip Distribution
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The large disparity with July precipitation in Iowa does not look to change with the few days left in the month. The featured chart displays the distribution of July precipitation totals for the long term climate sites tracked by the IEM. The distribution this year is shown to be shifted a bit to the left of the long term climatology, assuming a normal distribution. The actual histogram for this year shows many more sites with below average precip than would be indicated by normal.

Generate This Chart on IEM Website




2017 Precipitation Bins
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The Sioux City Airport weather station reported just over 6 tenths of an inch of rain on Wednesday, which was very much needed. The location is still running a significant deficit for the year and the featured chart attempts to illustrate if the location has missed out on the big rainfalls or little rainfalls so far this year. The long term daily precipitation record is partitioned into five bins, with each bin contributing an equal amount of rain volume for the year. The chart shows the average number of days for the year to date period with that amount of precipitation being reported. The percentages express the difference in precipitation totals for this year from this average for the bin. So the plot shows that for the highest three bins, this year has come up short both on the number of days and total amounts. For example, we should have seen about ten days with a total of at least 0.53 inches. This year, only five have happened so far.

Generate This Chart on IEM Website