Thursday, April 7, 2011

First Strong Cell

Angus Young is smiling.  We have our first strong (>50 dBZ) cell of the day, which has developed over the Dugway Proving Grounds.

Note that the inflow for this cell features a temperature of around 53F (to left of station model above) and dewpoint of about 36F (to right).  This morning's sounding featured very little convective available potential energy (CAPE)

but if we modify for the observations in the inflow region, we have 729 J/kg of CAPE to play with.  Kaboom!

Sounding manipulation of this type is one way that meteorologists forecast convection.  The challenge in Utah often diagnosing and predicting moisture.  Surface dewpoints typically vary dramatically around the state and it's hard to anticipate how they will change with time.  Today provides a good example of a sounding where moisture is everything.  The lapse rates are very steep and there is strong lift, so the real question is will we have enough moisture?  It appears we have enough for some arcing and sparking over northern Utah.  Will we get it in Salt Lake?  Time will tell.

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