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Discussion:Mild temperatures will continue on Wednesday before a weak cold front moves through tomorrow afternoon, leading to cooler temperatures on Thursday. Our next weather system will move in from the south Thursday evening resulting in rain Thursday night. The rain could be heavy at times with very breezy conditions as well. At this time, a switchover to snow Friday morning is possible, so keep up with the most recent forecast as this event gets closer.
Forecasters: McCormack, Peine, Smith
Date Issued: 02/28/2023 5:00 PM CDT
The 18Z GFS model was utilized for this forecast due to the consistency of temperatures and precipitation amounts forecasted by previous model runs. The primary focus for this forecast period is a strong surface low pressure system that will affect the central CONUS Thursday evening into Friday.
At 250 mb, quasi-zonal flow is dominant for the CONUS, helping to keep conditions relatively calm for central Missouri this afternoon with lots of sunshine and temperatures near 60 degrees. Overnight on Tuesday, the pattern aloft will begin to shift more to the southwest as a potent mid-level shortwave trough ejects into the desert southwest. Cloud cover tonight will be minimal, yet the dominant pattern aloft will keep low temperatures into the low 40s (avg. low 31). Late tonight into early tomorrow morning a weak cold front will push through the region from the northwest. The aforementioned front is associated with an area of low pressure that will move across the northern plains Wednesday morning. High temperatures will not be affected too much behind the frontal passage with most guidance suggesting afternoon temperatures in the upper-50s to low-60s. The aforementioned trough will continue to deepen across the southwest CONUS on Wednesday and begin to pick up speed. Wednesday night conditions look to be mostly clear as the trough is still over portions of Arizona and New Mexico. With limited cloud cover and light northerly winds at the surface, low temperatures should be near average for this time of the year.
On Thursday, the trough will be even stronger due its negative tilt, favoring more divergence aloft and stronger pockets of vorticity out ahead of it. Cloud cover will gradually increase throughout the day from south to north and help keep high temperatures in the low 50s out ahead of the powerful surface low pressure system. This low will continue to deepen heading into the evening hours and this is when we expect rainfall to begin for central Missouri. Confidence is still relatively low on the track that this system will take, but as of now the center will be located near northwest Arkansas Thursday evening. With the low forecasted to track near our region, wind gusts over 40 mph are not out of the question for Thursday night. The low pressure will close off over eastern Missouri and help advect moisture and provide strong ascent. The current forecast would favor higher rainfall totals for our area with an 1”-1.5” possible Thursday night. The low pressure will continue to push off to the northwest overnight as the center should be in west-central Illinois by Friday morning. Confidence is very low as to the possibility of seeing accumulating snow on the backside of the low with temperatures forecasted to be in the mid-30s Friday morning.
Future forecast shifts should monitor the track of the approaching low pressure system and pay attention to the possibility of snow Friday morning.