Happy New Year!

>> Saturday, January 01, 2011

Happy new year to you and yours!

Limited on time this morning, but what a foggy start! Some of the densest fog I have seen in a while in parts of the Piedmont. Showers will develop in today and continue into tonight.

Yesterday did indeed feature a pretty nasty severe weather outbreak. One especially nasty storm rolled through central Mississippi. Here is a velocity image from that storm....

Watching how things will unfold next week. A lot of the modeling has switched around to the possibility of a system late Wednesday into early Thursday. Not totally sold yet, but we will see. The bottom line here is that potential for fun and games is alive and well as we head into January.

I will take the normal detailed look at things Monday morning....look for a new video and post at that time.

Have a great day....oh yeah, and Go Bulldogs! Beat the Wolverines in the Gator Bowl!


New Year's Eve....

>> Friday, December 31, 2010

A big storm system is wrapping up in the middle of the country this morning. Heavy snow is flying in Nebraska and a tornado watch is up from NE Oklahoma to Missouri.

Heavy snow will spread through the High Plains into the upper Midwest today into tonight. At the same time, a pretty significant severe weather risk will ramp up through the Lower Mississippi and Tennessee Valleys.

For the Carolinas, this will be one of the nicer days this month with a good bit of sunshine and Piedmont highs into the 50s. Enjoy!

For any New Year's Eve plans you might have this evening, the weather will present no problems for you with come increasing clouds and temps settling into and through the 40s.

Not the prettiest of Near Year's Days tomorrow.....morning drizzle and some showers rolling in by the afternoon. The cold front will move relatively slowly through the region, some some light rain could even linger into Sunday morning.

Next week....

The weather looks pretty benign for at least the first few days of next work week. Highs and lows look to be at least relatively close to average, and it looks like the precip, at least into mid-week, will stay to our south and west.

I am still keenly eying the potential for a system around January 8, or Saturday week. Really, the overall players on the field look very similar to what we were tracking and watching for last week leading up to the Christmas storm system.

At this point, it very well looks like we are going to be watching for the interaction between a southern branch piece of energy and a northern branch piece of energy (phasing). The 0z European model phased those two streams just in the nick of time to provide a good snowstorm for north GA, E TN, and much of the Carolinas into Virginia. The GFS was close at 0z but way off with the 6z run. The 0z Canadian held the energy back in the SW much longer.

Below are two panels from the 0z Euro....notice on the first image in the upper-right panel, the southern piece of energy and the northern piece are interacting. The result 24 hours later (the second image) is a fully-phased, low pressure bomb going off just east of the Outer Banks.

This is far from anything to be excited about yet, but I remain in the corner of what I have had out here. The next time-frame to watch for potential fun and games is around January 8.


Sizing up early January....

>> Thursday, December 30, 2010

Here is today's edition of the video. In today's video, I take a look at a stormy finish to 2010 for the Lower Mississippi and Tennessee Valley, and where the pattern heads next week.

A little light freezing rain and snow is possible in the mountains this morning, but aside from that, the system pulling into the region today will only bring clouds. Highs today will range from 45-51 degrees for much of the Piedmont.

Lower Mississippi Valley severe potential tomorrow and tomorrow night...

Looks like there will indeed be a threat of severe weather from late tomorrow afternoon into the overnight hours tomorrow night, beginning in Louisiana, Arkansas, and Missouri and spreading into parts of Mississippi, Tennessee, and Alabama. Instability looks to remain somewhat limited, but shear and the wind fields will be significant, and some isolated tornadoes and damaging winds will be possible in those areas.

For the Carolinas, I don't think enough instability makes it into the region for any severe weather, or really even any thunderstorm potential. So, no changes here... I will continue to mention the chance of showers from later Saturday into at least Sunday morning. Slow moving front with the main dynamics well off to the north.

Chilly high pressure arrives Monday...many Piedmont spots probably in the 40s for highs.

I am eying the period around January 8 for the next chance of some wintry fun and games in the Southeast and/or the mid-Atlantic. See the video for a little more on this.


Wrapping up a cold December...what does January hold?

>> Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Here is today's edition of the Carolina Weather Video. In it, I take a look at the December temps thus far, how our forecast is shaping up for the next week, and some January ideas...

Some updated info on the cold December, through Dec. 28. Here are the temp deviations from average thus far for the month.

CLT: -10.2
GSO: -8.7
RDU: -8.8
GSP: -8.1

Those are very significant deviations. Even though it will be a little milder the next couple of days to end the month, December will go down as one of the coldest on record. For instance, if the month were to end now, it would be the second coldest December on record for Charlotte.

We will see how the numbers sort out after the month officially ends.

It will be a bit milder to finish the week. Highs will be well up into the 50s Friday. Our next precip chance comes later Saturday into early Sunday as a cold front approaches.

Next week is interesting. The GFS is insistent on overrunning precip mid-week....we will see. Next week looks like the type of pattern where you have to watch for a sneaky little shallow layer of cold air oozing in from the north. But details are sketchy as to even a rain chance might occur.

At this point, I am not seeing blow-torch type warmth for January. The NAO wants to stay negative, and so does the AO. With that being the case, the chance of a long, huge ridge in the eastern US is slim.


Gradual warming...

>> Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Here is today's edition of the Carolina Weather Video.....

Here is the compiled snow total map from the NWS. Notice every county in the state of North Carolina had at least some snow on the ground. That is a rare occurrence. The totals from the New England States are very impressive.....numerous spots over 25" and 30"!

It has been a cold month of December.....that's an understatement. It has been a rare combination of factors that have given us this cold month, including a strongly negative NAO and negative AO as well as tremendous blocking in the higher latitudes that allowed for continually dumps of true arctic air into the eastern US. Here is the temperature average and temperature anomaly map for the month through Monday.

Gradual moderation will continue this week with some 50s for highs by New Year's Eve and maybe some lower 60s for the first day of 2011.

However, I still think most signs are pointing toward a return to colder air as we get deeper into early January. The NAO will stay negative, and that often favors cold air in eastern North America. The arctic oscillation (AO) looks to stay largely negative as well.

And, while we will not have the volume of storm systems we have during, say, an El Nino winter, I see no indications of just a simply dry pattern. We will still likely have storm system chances from time to time.

Basically, I am saying this.... All of the above average temp forecasts for January that were put out in the various winter outlooks (including mine!) could be in jeopardy. We will see....


Gradual moderation later this week...

>> Monday, December 27, 2010

Here is today's edition of the Carolina Weather Video....

Lots of snow still on the ground around the region after our Christmas weekend snow event. I am very happy that so many folks that wanted snow got it. And I also think it is incredibly neat to get snow on Christmas weekend.

Today will still be very cold with Piedmont highs struggling to make it above the freezing mark. It will also be breezy, adding insult to injury in terms of how it feels. Lows will be bitterly cold tonight....teens for most in the area.

Gradual moderation will take place later this week with some highs actually above average by New Years Eve. Some spots could be in the 60s for the first day of 2011. However, I don't think this is a prolonged warm-up with cooler air ready to move back in by Monday of next week or so.


I see no sign of a 'warm' pattern coming for the eastern US. This is the week that pattern seems to be kind of reloading. However, the NAO and AO will remain negative, and we might even see the PNA spike toward positive. All of this, to me, indicates that more cold air is on the horizon.

It is very early in the winter season, so chances are, we have not seen our last winter weather potential. In fact, most of our winter weather events occur during the second half of winter, so tons of time to go.

What did we learn about the models from this most recent system?

First of all, the European model is still the model of choice in the medium range. It was the first to latch onto the idea of a big east coast storm. It had this idea while the GFS was indicating this to be a weak system that rode along I-40.

Admittedly, the Euro lost touch with the system a bit in the 2-3 day range, but it never completely lost the overall idea....it was just later with less impressive with any phasing.

The NAM is still clueless. Granted, I used it to verify the Euro ideas in the 60-84 hour range, but it totally lost touch with reality as the event neared.

The Canadian also had the idea of a big east coast system 4 and 5 days ahead of the event, but it too then lost the idea and never really got it back...at least in terms of the global model.

So, all in all, the Euro still led the way. And although it has its biases and can never be blindly trusted, it definitely means if we see something on the Euro for a few runs in a row, that idea probably has at least some merit.

But here is the thing that I think gets lost more and mote in meteorology today. The models are just tools for the meteorologist to use. So few times nowadays do people look at the actual weather and compare that to experience from the past. That is where real meteorology comes in.....not just reading models.


Christmas weekend storm system slowly pulling out....

>> Sunday, December 26, 2010

I hope everybody had a great Christmas. Many folks around the region got the treat of a white Christmas, although around the Charlotte metro, it took until evening to get the snow in.

The big coastal low continues to rapidly strengthen this morning, and it will continue to lift slowly up the coast. The band of moderate to heavy snow on the backside of the low will continue to gradually lift east and northeast out of the Carolinas, but it is a slow process.

All totaled, the Charlotte metro looks to have 2-5" or maybe 6" in some spots. For the Triad, 4-8" looks to do the trick, although there are some localized variations. The Triangle area looks like 5-9" with even some higher totals possible in a couple of spots. The system will even end as snow for the Outer Banks. This might be one of those rare systems where every NC county at least sees snow.

It will be very cold and blustery today and tomorrow. Highs will struggle to make it above the freezing mark today and tomorrow, and lows tonight and tomorrow night will drop into the 15-25 degree range around the Piedmont.

A big warm-up is on tap later in the week though with highs by the New Year in the 60s.


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