This IOP will commence at the earliest on Wednesday night, but more likely on Thursday morning. The science planning meeting will be scheduled during the Wed 30 March daily briefing, and might occur on Wed evening, but more likely on Thur morning.
The overall scenario is one of several rounds of convection between Thur morning and late night/early morning Friday. The first round should be “elevated” with the primary threat being heavy rain. There may be another round or two during the day on Thursday, based on recent experience. Several models are showing a buildup of surface-based CAPE Thursday afternoon, with varying degrees of low-level shear, and strong deep shear. Finally, a cold front passes on Thursday night with an additional round of convection.
There is much uncertainty in this forecast, almost all related to the effects of hard-to-forecast convection on the state of the atmosphere. The PIs had a long discussion about this uncertainty, and whether this IOP should be terminated. However, we have a general philosophy that once an IOP is declared, we will terminate it only if there are obvious reasons that it will be a null event. Without this approach, traveling investigators would likely be in the frequent situation of starting travel and then returning home, canceling reservations, etc.
After this IOP, current forecast model runs indicate a generally quiet and dry pattern for the first ~10 days of April.