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I'm Done.

I have no idea when regular rains will return to the Midwest.


Sometimes I just want to make one-off, sarcastic statements and fire them off into the void but doing so on Twitter always ends up netting a bunch of confused replies because folks aren’t in my brain and following along with my internal narrative.


Like, me waking up and shouting “I’m done.” into the void on Twitter probably isn’t good. And tacking on “I have no idea when it’ll rain the Midwest again” probably wouldn’t help.


I fired off an animated GIF of the next pattern-blocking cut-off low sitting over the Midwest for the next week and asked for someone to grab me a baseball bat because Mother Nature was serving up cement mixers. That was met with a string of “WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?” & “Explain.” responses. It doesn’t mean anything and there’s nothing to explain.


Or I can get all serious again and say in the most literal sense, the weather models are forecasting another slow-moving, cut-off low pressure system to sit over the Midwest for the next 7+ days. This effectively blocks the jet stream from advancing storm systems into the region, shutting the pattern down from meaningful precipitation. The area of low pressure sitting over head is not a big rain maker. And it will not be moving. Therefore, potential rain makers can not enter the region. That means it will not be raining for another week at least.


Do you know what that makes me want to do?


It makes me want to grab a baseball bat, square up, and absolutely crush that cut-off low pressure system and send it over the right field scoreboard at Wrigley Field.


That’s what the tweet means.


The sun is just coming up on the third Friday in June. We haven’t had meaningful rain in Champaign County, Illinois in 40 days. The sunrise is being muted by dense wildfire smoke. During this drought, the sun can’t even shine bright enough to cast shadows on the ground because it’s so dampened by the smoke. Forgive me for being a little melancholy this Friday morning.


Sipping my first cup of coffee and listening to the birds chirping outside in the crisp post-frontal air, I scrolled through the overnight model runs and sighed. No hope through the next 7-10 days, again. The cut-off low pressure system now meanders southward to the Gulf of Mexico, cutting off the pattern across the Midwest through the coming week.


Will this exact scenario play out? Who knows, to be clear - but global models are in agreement for now.


Also in agreement - global ensemble models continue to suggest the pattern finally opens up allowing a more active, stormy regime to commence across the Midwest. But now, 6+ weeks into this dance, I’m more convinced than ever that ensemble models are simply regressing back to the climatological mean, with ridging in the western U.S. and northwest flow ushering storms back into the Midwest. The model is essentially saying “I don’t know what will be happening two weeks from now, so here is what should be happening based on what’s typical this time of year”. Then, once we get within 10 days or so, operational models catch on to the fact that there is once again some wonky feature in the eastern U.S. that is blocking things up and preventing the jet stream from extending into the region.


So for now, I’m done. I no longer have any sense for when meaningful, regular rains will return to the Midwest.


I will say that I continue to believe that once they do, they’ll stay for a while. Mother Nature doesn’t own a calendar and does not abide by our expectations and every year will continue to have it’s own flavor. That being said, sometimes it does feel like an arbitrary flipping of the calendar can do the trick.


Maybe we turn the page to July 1st and the heavens open up and we’re all joking about what a nice spring we’re having from July into August with frequent rain and severe thunderstorms.


Or maybe 2023 is just destined to be one of those bad years that we talk about generationally like 1988 or 2012. Speaking of, saw an interesting nugget from Illinois State Climatologist Trent Ford: “The period April 1 - June 10 this year was the second driest on record (back to 1951) for the state as a whole... wetter only than 1988.”


Woof.

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