Saturday Evening...

>> Saturday, March 15, 2008

For us here in North Carolina, we can be very thankful our airmass did not get as unstable as it did in South Carolina. A big-time tornado outbreak for Georgia, South Carolina, and eastern North Carolina will slowly wind down tonight.

I think the severe weather threat for the Charlotte region has about come to an end as all of the big storms continue to shift southward. I expect a few more showers and possibly a storm this evening, but our airmass now appears too stable to any big severe weather problems.

Nice weather is ahead for Sunday through Tuesday with highs in the 60s. our next shot at rain and storms will be Wednesday.


Historic Outbreak in South Carolina

We are watching what could wind up being an historic tornado outbreak across South Carolina. A rare 'high' risk of severe weather has been put out for the Palmetto State, and frankly, some of the storms down there are some of the most impressive I have seen in a long time.

For us, I think our severe weather threat continues, but probably not to the extent of what is going on to our south.


Severe weather...

The Charlotte metro remains right along the fine line in terms of severe weather late this afternoon and evening. Severe weather will be possible through about mid-evening, so you need to have a reliable way of hearing watches and warnings.


Saturday Morning...

First of all, I was watching my Mississippi State Bulldogs play Alabama last night in the SEC Tournament in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta (I was having to watch it on the internet because the local affiliate didn't carry the prime-time SEC game....irritating, but I digress). At any rate, the games goes into overtime, and about 2 1/2 minutes into overtime, you can hear the distintive roar of strong winds or a tornado coming over the audio of the game. Play stops, the players, coaches, and fans are all looking up at the ceiling, and they see a scary sight. The rafters of the Georgia Dome are swaying back and forth, the canopy roof rippling, and debris falling from the ceiling. From the radar images I saw, sure looks like a tornado hit Atlanta last night, and there is lots of damage around the city. In fact, in an unprecedented move, the SEC has been forced to move the rest of the SEC Tournament to Georgia Tech.

Now, as for our weather, we have potential severe weather to deal with later this afternoon and this evening. For the Triad, some hail will be possible, but as of now, it looks like the biggest severe weather threat will be in southern North Carolina and down through South Carolina.

Thid remains a tricky situation. There is some activity down in northeast Georgia that could skirt parts of the area later today, but the bigger threat would come late this afternoon and this evening. A frontal boundary will be draped very near the area. Along and to the south of that front, a tornado and damaging wind threat will exist, while a large hail threat will exist to the north of it.

In short, remain close to reliable source of hearing watch and warning information in the event they are required later today.


4pm Update....

>> Friday, March 14, 2008

Quick update on tomorrow's severe weather threat. As it stands now, it looks like the surface low will track somewhere pretty close to the NC/SC border. If that is the case, then the primary tornado and damaging wind threat would be across South Carolina. Across North Carolina, severe weather would still be possible, but mainly from hail-producing thunderstorms.

The big key is where exactly a frontal boundary is in the morning. It will be interesting to see how far south in the state the front pushes. Like I mentioned this morning, that front is sort of the railroad tracks for tomorrow's low pressure area. So, how far south the front makes it will be very important.

This is a tricky situation, and frankly one that I don't have a lot of confidence in the details of as of yet. I still think severe weather is possible, but if that low does track near the state line, then the big problems would probably stay to our south.

Stay tuned...


Active weather ahead...

Two systems are still poised to affect our area. The first system, the weaker of the two, will spread some showers in later this afternoon and into this evening. I am not convinced that there won't be a storm or two involved with that system as well.

The second, and more potent, system will move through later tomorrow. What will occur is that second low pressure area will track along a frontal boundary that will be draped somewhere across the region. That front will sag southward behind this evening's system, and that will sort of serve as the 'track' for the second system tomorrow.

Exactly where the low pressure area tracks tomorrow is very important. Most modeling now takes the low pressure directly over or just south of the southern Piedmont. However, the NAM model continues to insist on a more northerly track, taking the low to the north of the area. The farther north the low tracks, the more unstable our airmass will become tomorrow, and thus, the greater the severe weather potential.

Hopefully, the 12z models today will give us a better idea on the track of the low.

As it stands now, I still think the potential is there for severe weather tomorrow afternoon and evening. How great that threat is is still in question.

Stay tuned...


Thursday Evening...

>> Thursday, March 13, 2008

A couple of storm systems will affect the Carolinas over the next 48 hours. The first one is pretty weak, but it will being a chance of scattered showers tomorrow afternoon and early tomorrow evening. It will still be warm tomorrow with lots of 70s for highs.

The second, and more significant system, will roll through Saturday. This is a very complex system, and one that the details are still not very easy to resolve. However, I am concerned about the possibility of some severe weather.

For those of you meteorologically inclined, here are some numbers off of the 12z NAM for Charlotte valid at 4pm Saturday.

CAPE: 1066
Helicity: 489
EHI: 3.62
LI: -5.3
TT: 56

Those are some pretty impressive numbers. If things were to verify in that fashion, we could have a big problem on our hands.

However, like I mentioned, there are really more questions than answers with this system at this point. The latest GFS model has come in and looks to keep the biggest severe weather threat to the south of North Carolina. So, we will see....

The primary window of opportunity for severe weather looks to be from midday Saturday into early evening.

We will fine-tune this forecast as we approach the event.


15 Years Ago...

>> Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The great Superstorm of 1993 was raging at this point 15 years ago. What an incredible storm....truly the storm of the century.

I was living in a community northeast of Birmingham as the Blizzard of '93 unfolded. So many memories of that system. I was still a kid at that point, and the euphoria we all felt that day leading up to the event was incredible. I remember as light snow began during the day and began to accumulate, kids getting out to play in it. But we all knew this was just the appetizer....the main event would begin that night.

As the night progressed, my excitement gradually turned to fear as the power went out and the wind howled over 50mph. That night I witnessed one of the most incredible weather events I have ever seen......thundersnow. And a lot of it. Blinding flashes of lightning and sharp pops of thunder as blizzard conditions continued outside. I remember watching out of the bedroom window and seeing various colors of flashes....some lightning, others transformers blowing.

As morning broke, it was an unbelievable sight. Officially, at the Birmingham Airport, 13" of snow had accumulated. Other communities had up to 20." The snow drifts were incredible.....easily up to 3 to 4 feet in spots. I remember taking the first walk that morning around the side of the house. I was walking along fine and then....ooomp. I had stepped into a drift and was in the snow up to my waist. I remember me and my buddy next door digging out the back door of our was completely blocked by a 3' drift.

Like I mentioned, the power was out. So, we took our perishable items out of the refrigerator and put them in the snow bank outside the back door. I was out of school for a week. We had no power for four days....other folks were without power for over a week. Thankfully, we had a fireplace. We hung blankets across the opening of the door leading into the den where the fireplace was to keep the warmth in that room. And that room is where we lived. We ate what we could cook in the fireplace. Thankfully, we had a gas hot water heater, so we could take hot baths.

The city was shut down. It was easily the snowstorm of record. The next morning, the temperature dropped to 2 degrees at the Birmingham Airport. I still have the image burned into my brain of first responders carrying a pregnant woman in labor on a stretcher through the snow to get her to a safe place to deliver the baby. So many stories of people helping each other.

But the storm was not only amazing in Alabama. This incredible system dropped 50" of snow up on Mt. Mitchell. Winds gusted over 100mph in the mountains of North Carolina up through New Hampshire. A vicious tornado outbreak occurred in Florida.

We might not see such an incredible system again in our lifetimes.


Wednesday Afternoon Post....

Delightful weather out there today and tomorrow. Highs today in the upper 60s with some low to mid 70s tomorrow.

We could see a few afternoon showers Friday, but that system looks pretty weak. However, a more potent storm system will move through Saturday, and that looks to bring a good chance of showers and thunderstorms.

I am growing more concerned about the possibility of severe weather. Most modeling is indicating that we will have a pretty good amount of instability in place Saturday afternoon, especially south of I-40. The chart below is showing the instability forecast to be in place by the 6z GFS at 2pm Saturday afternoon.

The dynamics with that storm system look pretty healthy, so we might have some severe weather issues by later Saturday. We will keep watching it.

Cooler air flows in behind that system with 50s for highs Sunday and Monday. Beyond that, it looks like later Tuesday into Wednesday will be our next chance of rain.


Endeavor Launch

>> Monday, March 10, 2008

The Space Shuttle Endeavor will launch early Tuesday morning...during the pre-dawn hours.

If the sky remains clear enough, it will be visible up much of the Eastern Seaboard. Click on this link for more information.


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