Saturday morning...

>> Saturday, January 22, 2011

Well, the GFS continues to struggle, but the is nearly unanimous agreement amongst the other major models that a low will develop and move from the northern Gulf of Mexico and the strengthen as it moves up close to the Carolina coast. There are some differences in intensity and exact placement of the low, as you would anticipate a few days out, but really, if you discount the GFS, the agreement is pretty good.

The models that had taken a more inland track for the low yesterday, such as the Canadian and UKMET, have made a shift east to a track right near the coast. The Euro track on its 0z run is very close to, maybe slightly east, of its tracks the previous couple of runs.

In terms of ensembles, the Euro ensemble mean is pretty close to the operational track. The Canadian ensemble mean is a little east of the operational.

Here is the point where I will, as in previous systems, caution you not to pay tons of attention to QPF (precip) amounts. Suffice to say the 0z Euro is showing a major winter storm from northern Alabama and Tennessee east into northern Georgia, the Upstate of South Carolina, western North Carolina near and points north and west of I-85, western Virginia, and up into interios New England. The Canadian result is much the same.

The reason the GFS is different than the other modeling all has to so with the piece of upper level energy diving into the Lower 48 from Canada by later tomorrow. It brings the energy into the country around eastern Montana into the Dakotas, while the Euro is a decent bit west of that. The result is a stronger, deeper system on the other models compared to the GFS.

I will note that the Euro is farther east with this energy entering from Canada that it was on its 12z run yesterday. Don't know if that is a trend or the modeling just simply adjusting to the correct idea. That is the key to watch for this system.

So, no changes from me. The players are still on the field for a potential significant winter storm for parts of the Southeast. And for the Carolinas, I would still favor areas near and north and west of I-85.

Now is still not the time for towel throwing or celebrations. This piece of energy is coming in from a very data sparse area, so some adjustments are likely on the modeling. So, this could trend into a much weaker, less significant system, or it could remain a pretty powerful system. The devil is in the details, and those details will remain fuzzy for a little while longer.


Friday evening...

>> Friday, January 21, 2011

Not a whole lot to add to the thoughts I put out there this morning. Since the 6z run today, the GFS has lost tis way it seems. It seems to be digging the upper level energy in way too far east, resulting in a slower-to-strengthen system that most other modeling. So, I would not pay a lot of attention to the 12z and 18z GFS as of now.

I would still lean the way of something similar to the Euro. It has been the superior model this cold weather season, and it also has the general support of most other modeling in terms of a much more powerful system than the GFS is indicating.

Lots of variables are still up in the air, so again, it is way too early to count your snowflakes or raindrops before they fall.

Just wanted to throw out there that the potential for a big-ticket item for parts of the region is in play...and I would still lean toward the areas from roughly I-85 on north and west.


Arcitc air back in place....potential big system next week....

Take a look at today's video...I step you through some of the modeling and give you some thoughts on what could be a major eastern US storm system next week....

Colder air has again arrived....and we will be generally quiet and chilly all weekend.

I will skip right ahead to the system next week. Most of the models have converged on a solution that consolidates the upper level energy into a powerful upper level low that develops roughly over the Ozarks and winds up overhead in the Carolinas. This results in a phasing, rapidly deepening low pressure that tracks from the northeastern Gulf of Mexico to near or just inland of the Carolina coast and finally up to the New England states.

Now, I will caution here that, like some of our previous systems, we are talking about the precise interactions of upper level features in this fairly chaotic pattern, and some changes are quite likely.

But as it stands now, I would lean toward an idea something similar to what the GFS and Euro modeling is showing. What precip types any individual location would receive would depend entirely on the track and intensity of the surface low. For many Piedmont areas, this could be a snow to rain then back to snow scenario. But these details are really not even worth getting in to at this point.

So we will see what happens. If the energy aloft stays consolidated, then a major system is quite possible. If the system deepens too soon, many in our region could get a driving rain storm. If it deepens and tracks just right, it could be a biggie for somebody in the region.

But please hear this...the solutions that the Euro and GFS have shown this morning are rare events and very difficult to come by. So, I would not be surprised at all to see this intense solution not verify.

Like I said yesterday, I will likely not have any real confidence until a couple more days pass. Lots of players on the field here. As I said in the comment section, now is not the time for celebrations or pity parties. Lots will likely change in coming days.


Cold set to return....winter storm possibility early next week?

>> Thursday, January 20, 2011

Below is today's edition of the Carolina Weather Video. Again this morning, lots of ground covered....give it a look.

Today will be at least 10 degrees cooler than yesterday for most in the region with Piedmont highs in the 40s to near 50. Snow will fly in Little Rock, Memphis, and Nashville today, but the mountains will chew up most of what little moisture is left with that system as it arrives in the region. So, maybe a passing sprinkle or flurry tonight, but that's about it. The mountains will pick up several inches.

Tomorrow will be a cold, blustery day with highs shy of 40 in many Piedmont spots. Factor in winds gusting to 25 or 30mph, and it will be a brisk day.

It will stay pretty cold through the weekend with 30s for highs Saturday and lows in the lower 20s and upper teens.

Possible winter storm...

I still think all of the necessary players are on the field for the possibility of a winter storm for parts of the region early next week. Anytime from Monday afternoon through Tuesday is fair game at this point.

I won't bore you with all of the model details, but almost every model is indicating wintry weather in some shape, form, or fashion with this in the favored cold air damming regions of NC, SC, into northeast GA.

I have really made no changes to the forecast overall....the chance is there for a mixed bag of wintry precip from later Monday through Tuesday, especially areas near and north and west of I-85.

There is lots of model uncertainty, and really, the models are handling the upper level energy quite differently than one another in many cases. So, there is large potential for adjustments as we go forward. Stay tuned...


Interesting times ahead...

>> Wednesday, January 19, 2011

I cover a lot of ground in today's edition of the Carolina Weather Video. Anything from a nice afternoon today, some Tennessee Valley snow later this week, more arctic air over the weekend, winter weather possibilities in the Carolinas early next week, and the pattern as we march toward February. Give it a look....

We began our Wednesday with lots of fog and clouds, but this should actually wind up being one of the nicer afternoons we have had thus far this winter. Highs will top out in the 50s, and we will see lots of afternoon sun.

This is a quick-hitting pattern, and this mild weather will not stick around. A low pressure area and its associated arctic cold front will move through the Carolinas Thursday night. East of the mountains, any precip (and that will be limited) will be in the form of rain. To the west, this will likely be a light snow event through the Tennessee Valley. The amount of precip is limited though, so don't look for huge snow totals.

Much colder air will again flow in here Friday, and we might see some Piedmont spots struggle to hit 40 Friday afternoon. Snow will be flying again Friday morning in the mountains.

It will be cold for the weekend again with many spots in the 30s for highs Saturday and low to mid 40s at best Sunday. Lows will drop into the lower 20s and upper teens.

System early next week...

We are dealing with lots of moving pieces here, but this sure has the overall look of one of our cold air damming winter weather events. Frankly, at this point, the European, Canadian, and UKMET models are all really in quite good agreement with one another. The GFS is a little slower and weaker overall. But just look at this panel from the UKMET....1039mb high near the NE, and a low in the northern Gulf. That always smells like trouble.
To me this has the looks and feel of a potential ice event across parts of the region....maybe a snow to ice deal in the NC favored damming regions.

Keep in mind we are firmly entrenched into the 'potential' category here.....this could vanish in future model runs as, like I mentioned, we are dealing with lots of moving pieces. But it has my attention.


Changeable weather....

>> Tuesday, January 18, 2011

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

After some residual icing issues on some roads in the region (mainly the Triad, northern foothills and mountains), we will warm significantly today with most Piedmont highs in the upper 40s to even some lower 50s.

Simply put, tomorrow will be one of the nicer days we have seen this winter season. You won't find anybody that loves cold weather and snow more than me, but tomorrow will be nice....soem 50s for highs and lots of sun.

Don't get used to it....the 'warmth' will not last long. Our next system, really a cold front, will pass through Thursday night into Friday morning and bring some Piedmont rain chances with it. Behind that front, pure arctic air will again plunge into the entire region, and many of us will not get out of the 30s for highs Friday and Saturday. Lows will likely wind up in the teens again Saturday and/or Sunday morning.

I also should note that the European model continues to pop a coastal low later Saturday that throws some snow into the eastern Carolinas....generally east of I-95. We will see if those trends hold.

Next week...

I am watching with interest another potential system Monday into Tuesday next week. That one has some wintry weather possibilities somewhere around the region.

Longer term...

The PNA index (Pacific-North America) looks to stay positive basically through the rest of the month, generally meaning a ridge in western North America. So I still see no sign of a prolonged warm-up anytime soon.


Next system heading in...

>> Monday, January 17, 2011

Here is today's edition of the Carolina Weather Video. Couple of systems this week.

I hope everybody had a great weekend. After not taking a day 'off' from closely watching the weather for over a month, I tried my best to take a step back over the weekend. I love my job, and it is such a privilege to this for a living. However, I needed to back away for a bit just to refresh my mind. But I couldn't resist completely....kept taking a peek at a couple of things yesterday, especially the end of this week.

More on that in a second....let's talk about today and tonight. An area of low pressure is getting its act together in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico this morning. Rain is widespread through the Florida panhandle into southern Georgia, and that area of rain will lift north into the Carolinas later today and tonight.

I anticipate some light rain making it into the Piedmont later this afternoon, but the bulk of the heavier rain will be this evening. We are in a cold air damming regime, so highs will struggle to make it into the lower 40s around the Triad....maybe some mid 40s around Charlotte and the Triangle.

This evening, locations in the foothills could see temps dip to near or just below freezing, meaning a period of freezing rain is possible. However, if that does occur, at this point I only anticipate some relatively minor icing on elevated surfaces, and this would mainly be in the northern foothills.

Up in the mountains, a period of snow is quite possible, and some areas might wind up with at least several inches depending on whether or not heavier precip can make it in there.

System later in the week....

I will discuss this in the video, but the modeling has taken a shift. Earlier model runs were indicating colder air arriving, followed then by another southern branch system that spread winter weather possibilities through the Tennessee Valley and upper Southeast. However, the models at this point have generally shifted to showing the entire kit and kaboodle coming through at generally the same time (Thursday night into Friday) instead of cold air first, then the southern branch system. I show why this is the case on the video.

So, for the time being, the threat of winter weather later this week in non-mountains areas of the Carolinas has diminished. However, if the southern branch feature can remain some separation from the main upper tough coming through, then that possibility would increase again. We will watch and see.

By the way, looks cold again behind this for the upcoming weekend.


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