Before Winter Storm Q has completely departed the Northeast, its twin, nicknamed Rocky by the Weather Channel, is spinning over the Texas Panhandle, producing blizzard conditions from western Kansas to northeastern New Mexico. As the day progresses, this smaller but more tightly wound storm will move to the northeast, drawing in moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and spreading a rain-snow mix in advance of its cold front.
The heaviest snow (12-18 inches) is expected to fall from Wichita to Kansas City and, here in central Missouri, we are promised another 4-8 inches atop the remnants of Q that still coat our lawns and choke our side streets. Yet, it's hard to complain about the much needed precipitation and we won't know until tomorrow morning what this twin storm has wrought; rain showers are expected to begin this afternoon, changing to steady snow overnight and throughout most of Tuesday.
Indeed, it appears that the drought pattern of the past 18 months has finally broken. The high pressure dome that diverted Pacific storms to the north of the Great Plains has faded away and the typical track of late winter and early spring storms appears to have returned. In other words, while the drought has not yet resolved, the stagnant weather pattern that produced it has broken down; if Q and its twin are reliable omens of change, soil moisture, river flows and reservoir levels will gradually return to normal across the American Heartland.