Wheat growers, livestock producers and traders are all paying close attention to what happens in the southwestern Plains region this week. This entire region is assessed at Drought Level Two through Four (Severe to Exceptional) in the latest Drought Monitor. And, with wheat exiting dormancy and going into its final growth and reproductive stages, moisture is definitely needed.
But, rain chances continue to be mostly elusive. And, forecast models cannot even agree with themselves on what's going to happen.
Case in point: Back on Friday March 28, the midday run of the U.S. forecast model brought a cutoff low pressure system into eastern New Mexico effective Thursday, April 3rd. (Cutoff lows are much-desired in the southwestern Plains; these systems, by virtue of being out of the main jet stream flow, tend to drag Gulf of Mexico moisture northwest into the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles, southeastern Colorado, and southwestern Kansas, and thus increase the likelihood of precipitation development.) The European forecast model, by the way, did not show such a feature.
However, as we look at the forecast model depictions today (Monday March 31), there is a completely different set of features. The U.S. model does NOT have that cutoff low for this Thursday, nor for any time frame during the next ten days. However, the Euro model DOES show this development (cutoff low), but again in the 7-day time frame, for Sunday April 6.
So, you have forecast model switching regarding upper-air features, but the time frame stays the same--out in the 7-day time frame. This disagreement of models with themselves--but always showing a particular feature "out there"--is not a forecast to show high confidence in.
The bottom line is--our view is that the dry southwestern Plains trend is likely to continue, with a forecast change requiring both model agreement and consistent closer-to-time depiction of weather systems.
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