Friday, May 20, 2011

From the Gulf of Mexico with Love

Have You Ever Seen the Rain by Credence Clearwater Revival is one of the great weather songs of all time (although in the song, rain is probably used metaphorically) and it just seems perfect for today.

One of our readers brought up the possibility that some of the moisture from this ongoing storm originates with the Gulf of Mexico.  I may take a closer look at this today, but I did want to point out the tremendous plume of high precipitable water that wraps around the cyclone from the Gulf of Mexico, into the High Plains, across Montana and Idaho, and then into northern Utah.  Incredible!

1200 UTC IR satellite and radar imagery with GFS
precipitable water and 700-mb wind vectors
Typically tracing moisture in storms is more complicated than you think, in part because the sources can vary considerably depending on what altitude you are looking at.  Nevertheless, at least for the late stages of this storm, it does appear the Gulf of Mexico is playing a role.  Who would have "thunk" that, especially given the fact that the flow over Utah is out of the north?  As the Grateful Dead sang, "what a long strange trip it's been....".

1 comment:

  1. Will be interesting to see what you find. I think Gulf moisture is a common ingredient with these "wrap around" type of rainfall events which most often seem to occur in May when we do get them. In this case it looks to me like the Gulf moisture plume was a little late to the party, but certainly some of the moisture was tapped from the Plains region at least. I noticed that Brownsville, TX had a dewpoint of 79 this morning so the moist inflow is becoming rich now as the system exits Utah.