GOES-10 Science Test
Weather Synopsis - 30 March/12UTC - 31 March/12UTC 1998

Synoptic Situation:

A high amplitude upper air pattern persisted during this period, with a closed low over the southern Rockies and a broad ridge across the eastern US. The strongest dynamics were once again confined to the central US, as a shortwave trough moved from New Mexico toward the central Plains. Strongly diffluent flow aloft existed between coupled polar and subtropical jet streaks over the central US.

The predominant surface feature was a cold front which was located from the southern High Plains to the Great Lakes region to northern New England. Several low centers propagated along this frontal system during the period, with the dominant low deepening over Kansas and moving northeastward across Iowa. Strong moisture transport within the warm sector resulted from a southerly low level jet of 30-60 knots -- dew points across much of the central U.S. were 55-65 F. A surface dry line located across the Texas panhandle region moved eastward across Texas and Oklahoma. High pressure continued to dominate the eastern US.

Weather Conditions:

Strong convective systems affected much of the Mississippi valley, southern Plains and Great Lakes regions. Possible tornadoes were reported at Ottumwa, Iowa and Gravette, Arkansas, while widespread reports of hail were noted across Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Vermont (largest hailstone diameter was 2.75 inches in Arkansas). Wind damage (56-61 mph gusts) from convective outflows were reported from a squall line which moved across Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. Heavy rainfall resulted from training convection along the frontal boundary from Missouri to Michigan (rainfall totals were as high as 2-3 inches across parts of Iowa and Wisconsin, where some minor flooding was reported).

Light upslope snows were reported across parts of the central High Plains (Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota). More significant snows occurred across eastern and central portions of Nebraska and South Dakota, in association with an advancing short wave/comma head feature.

Several record high maximum temperatures were once again set in the East, from Georgia to Vermont and from Tennessee to Michigan. Allentown and Harrisburg, Pennsylvania set new all-time March maximum temperatures with their high of 87 F. Several record high minimum temperatures were also set from Texas and Louisiana to Illinois. The minimum temperature of 66 at Chicago was record high minimum for the month of March.

Cool conditions persisted in the southwestern states. Flagstaff, Arizona reported a record low of +1 F, while Bakersfield, California had a record low of 34 F.