It is no secret that rain and snow have been very hit or miss across the Western United States. One can see that from the map below:
Total Precipitation Past 30 Days
Northern California and the Pacific Northwest have received some great moisture, as have parts of New Mexico and Texas. However, most of the Western High Plains has remained parched. Because of this, drought continues to expand:
Given what lies ahead during the next couple of weeks, the drought should continue to worsen across Colorado and Western Kansas. There is a storm in the pipeline for late next week, but most of our computer model information suggests that it will mainly impact areas to the north of this expanding drought region.
GFS Model Total Expected Precipitation Next 10 Days:
GFS Model Total Expected Snow Next 10 Days:
Is it possible that the storm could impact areas farther south? Possibly a bit farther south, but the model with the most southern track is the ECMWF Model. Its upper-level pattern is shown below, starting late next week:
Thursday Evening, October 17th:
Notice the southern part of the trough exiting Eastern Colorado? Now look where it ends up 24 hours later...
Friday Evening, October 18th:
The storm is centered over Northeast South Dakota and Southeast North Dakota. The storm is not only moving quickly but has a northern bias.
Saturday Evening, October 19th:
Shortly after the storm pushes farther east, a strong ridge of high pressure starts to build over the Southern Rockies.
Sunday Evening, October 20th:
The ridge size and strength depicted above is pretty impressive. This ridge pushes the main storm track WAY to the north, resulting in more dry and warm weather for many of us in the Western and Southern Plains.
This pattern may eventually shift as we head into December. However, I still believe that the areas most impacted by that potential pattern shift will be the Eastern United States and the Northern / Northwestern United States. I will elaborate more on that in a comprehensive regional breakdown later next week.