Milder weather for a couple of days....unsettled next week

>> Friday, January 28, 2011

Here is today's edition of the Carolina Weather Video. A nice weekend ahead, and I spend a good bit of time discussing the possibilities next week.

25 years ago.....the Challenger disaster. Those videos and images still send a chill up my spine. Even during childhood, I have had a love for all things weather, space, and aviation. I was very interested in the space program, and I kept up with every shuttle mission. I remember my mom and I watching coverage of the disaster in our kitchen....totally shook my young little world. For whatever reason, that was an event that deeply impacted me.....took me a long time to get over.

Weather played a role in the disaster....if you are interested in it, there are plenty of things on the web to read to see what role it might have played.

On to the weather...clouds this morning.....even a flurry or two can't be ruled we catch the tail end of a clipper. Behind the system, we should see a lot of afternoon sun with highs in the low to mid 50s.

A great weather day is on tap for tomorrow with highs in the mid to upper 50s and lots of sun. I still think a couple of lucky spots might hit 60.

Clouds roll in Sunday, and highs will likely be a few degrees cooler.

Next week...

Lots of moving pieces impacting next week's weather. It appears a pretty strong cold air damming set up will unfold from later Monday through Tuesday. At the same time, some weak disturbances will ripple some light precip is possible Monday and Tuesday.

The core of the main system will likely move through around Wednesday. It looks, as of now, as it the main surface low will head up near or maybe even west of the mountains, so the wedge should scour out with time. I am thinking we should end up with mostly rain Wednesday, but we will have to see exactly how the cold air damming sets up.

West of the always have to keep a watch of that shallow arctic air. This is the real deal in terms of cold air moving into the Plains early next week, and as I discussed previously, that cold air will bleed southward with time, getting increasingly shallow as it does. So somewhere in there, you have to watch for ice potential....but where or when is still a mystery.


Sunshine returns...

>> Thursday, January 27, 2011

Take a look at today's edition of the Carolina Weather Video. Lots to talk about.....some milder weather through the weekend, then I spend a lot of time on our system next week. Plus, a peek deeper into February....

What an impressive storm system the most recent one turned in to! We had anything from lightning and thunder to rain, sleet, and snow across our region, but the heavy, wet snow really got cranking from the mountains up through the Virginias into southern New England. Thundersleet and thundersnow hit right before the evening commute in D.C., and the result was a disastrous go of it.

Many spots from DC up through SE PA, MD, CT, RI, into New York City and MA picked up over 15" of snow. And this was heavy, wet, caking snow....over 500,000 power outages at one point!

Around here, the weather will be pretty docile the next few days, and we will actually squeeze in a little period of milder temps tomorrow through the weekend. Highs Saturday will surge well up into the 50s with lots of sun.

Next week...

As of the morning model runs, the Euro actually bowed to the more suppressed solutions on some of the other modeling with the track of the system next week. Taken verbatim, the Euro, GFS, and Canadian all show some wintry precip to some degree across portions of the region.

I am not sold as of yet. However, will say that another blast of true arctic air looks to plunge into the nation's midsection early in the week, and that arctic air will bleed southward and will get increasingly shallow as it moves.

As several pieces of energy eject from the western US, there are lots of possibilities on the table for how things might work out.....stay tuned. The latest Euro had a much higher-amplitude ridge near the west coast, and that caused our system to take a more southerly track with its 0z run. We will see how future runs unfold.


Upper air low moving through...

>> Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Here is today's edition of the Carolina Weather Video. I talk about our current system, where the snow will occur, and where we go from here....

Running way behind this morning, but no major changes to the overall ideas. You can see my map below. I think some wet snowflakes are possible really anywhere across the Piedmont, with the best chance from I-40 and points north.

I do still think some slushy accumulations could occur in the northern foothills and Virginia border counties as we head through this afternoon, and I think parts of the mountains will get a really good thumping out of this. Many mountain spots had already kicked over to snow as of 9am, and they were still in the southerly flow part of the system!

As the colder air aloft moves in, that is when the potential for snow will spread in. I also enjoyed seeing a few storms around this morning! Great stuff....

Below is my accumulation overly significant changes from yesterday. You can see the strip of really significant accumulations will run from the mountains up into the Virginias and southern New England.


System finally pulling in...

>> Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Take a look at today's video, docked below. I take a look at our incoming system and the week ahead...

It seems I have been talking about this system forever. It is finally arriving today, and rain, which began the day covering much of the Deep South and Tennessee Valley, will spread into the Carolinas as today unfolds. The man surface low will track from near the Gulf coast to just inland from the Carolina coast later tomorrow.

Periods of rain will occur across the Piedmont tonight into tomorrow morning. Total rain amounts are looking a little disappointing in some areas, but hopefully at least some folks will get a good soaking out of this....we could use it.

The upper level low (ULL), which is sitting over Texas this morning, will strengthen as it moves though Mississippi into Alabama and the Carolinas. There has been a little northward shift in the track of this ULL, and it is looking like the strip of pretty good accumulating snow is going to wind up being in the northern half of the outlined area I posted yesterday afternoon. Below is the snow map I am going with this morning.
Really anybody in the Piedmont is fair game to see some wet snowflakes as tomorrow unfolds, but the strip of significant accumulation potential will run from north MS and western TN east-northeast through Tennessee and into parts of KY the Virginias. I would include northwest NC in this area as well....mainly the northwest mountains and possibly parts of the northernmost foothills.

These outlines are general, and there may be further shifting needed as we see where the band of heavier precip actually sets up.

The weather looks pretty quiet then for the rest of the week into the weekend. Another system will swing through Friday, but it looks fairly insignificant as of now. The weekend is actually looking pretty nice.....maybe some 50s for highs.

There is still the chance of a storm system early next week, and February still looks cold as it gets going. I will delve more into that in the videos and discussions later this week.


Upper level low thoughts

>> Monday, January 24, 2011

Just to make sure I am clear, because I don't know that I was overly so in my morning post. I feel fairly confident that there will be a strip of snow tied directly to the path of the upper level low behind the surface system.

The possibility of this accumulating snow will likely begin in north Mississippi tomorrow night and make it into North Carolina by Wednesday evening.

This is one of those deals where we are looking at a deformation band, a relatively narrow area on the northwest side of the upper air low. In this band, precip could be heavy, and dynamic cooling (cooling from aloft) will take place and allow for snow. But this will likely only be at most 75 to 100 miles wide, and could be anywhere in the area outlined below.

Only that 75-100 mile wide area will likely have the chance of accumulating snow...if you are not in that precise area (as obviously many in the outlined area will not be), you will not see much snow. But I have outlined the zone within which it is most likely to set up.

Upper level lows always contain surprises, thus it is the 'weatherman's woe.' As for amounts, a little early for that....I could easily envision a few spots within that band getting over 5 or 6" with most amounts less than that.


Looking like mainly rain....but some wet snow possible on the back end

Here is today's edition of the Carolina Weather Video. Lots of time focusing on our next system....give it a look.

First off....a little light snow is making its way through the region this morning. It was even enough to whiten the ground in a few spots.

Highs will be in the 40s today and tomorrow....even a few lower 50s possible in a few places tomorrow, which leads us to....

Our next system...

The low pressure area will generally take a favorable track for interior Carolina snows. However, it looks like for a good portion of the storm (outside of the mountains), the lowest 3000 to 5000 feet of the atmosphere will be a little too warm for snow.

So, I anticipate rain developing in tomorrow afternoon (could be a bit of sleet mixed in very briefly due to some dry air aloft), and the rain will continue at times tomorrow night into Wednesday morning. But, there is still some snow potential with the system....see below.

Cold core upper air low....weatherman's woe....

A cold core upper air low will trail just behind and northwest of the main surface low. One of the main features of an upper air low is very cold air aloft. Time and time again, I have seen these systems put down snow, even when not even remotely foretasted to do so by modeling.

So, I think the potential for a period of wet snow is still very much there from north and central Mississippi, north Alabama, parts of Tennessee, northeast Georgia, the Upstate of South Carolina, then into the foothills and Piedmont of North Carolina.

For North Carolina, the best chance for this period of wet snow will be Wednesday afternoon into Wednesday evening.

You really have to watch those upper level lows for surprises. It is quite possible that some areas within the corridor I described above could see a period of heavy snow with multiple inch per hour accumulation rates, but that would be in a limited area, and could be anywhere along the track of the low.

But that snow potential is entirely dependent on dynamic other words, cold air brought down from aloft due to heavy precip. This snow potential is tied directly to the upper air low track, and it is a deal where if you are just north or just south of the track, you wind up with some rain while spots right under it get snow.

At any rate, that's the basic idea. Some good rains look possible from later tomorrow into Wednesday morning, then we will see how the potential for some back side snow works out for somebody in the region.


Well well....

>> Sunday, January 23, 2011

This will be fairly brief, but I wanted to put something up this morning.

The various models continue to really struggle with the precise track the upper air and surface features will take for our upcoming storm system....with the exception really of the Euro. It has been fairly consistent.

I really have no changes to the overall track ideas I have had out there as most likely....and that is a track very near the Carolina coast, give or take 50 miles.

The 0z GFS had that track, and then the 6z GFS came in and was further out to sea....and never brought a flake to the new England states! I will continue to give that model essentially no weighting until it shows an ounce of consistency.

The UKMET is way inland with the track, and the 0z Canadian is inland as well. While that track is possible, the track closer to the coast, as generally the Euro has had, is the way I still lean.

I have kind of been of the opinion all along that if we get a strong, strengthening low riding right up along the coast, the temperature profiles would sort of take care of themselves in the favored areas where the deformation band sets up (northwest side of the low where the heaviest precip occurs).

However, let's take the 0z Euro. Despite a near perfect track to get good snows from north Georgia up the I-85 corridor through SC and NC and back into the foothills and mountains, the lower level thermal profiles remain warmer than I would like to see for snow once outside of the higher elevations. This despite, in NC at least, the surface winds being out of the north for all or most of the storm.

I still have a hard time believing that, if the system unfolds as the Euro shows, that a lot of the deformation band precip would not be able to kick over to snow. I know there is no fresh source of cold air and no high to the north to funnel in low level cold air.

But if the 500mb map does indeed wind up looking like this (see image below), the height falls are so strong, I would imagine heavy precip rates would be able to overcome less than optimal low level temps.
But hey, the model has been pretty insistent that the low levels really do not cool enough for snow once you are out of the mountains and parts of the foothills. So maybe it is right. It definitely, definitely could be.

Bottom line here....lots and lots of details still to iron out. Folks in the I-95 corridor, this was never really your storm it appeared from the get go...I had always been leaning to the areas from I-85 and points north and west. In those areas, I will just say the rain scenario may win out, but I just don't have a lot of confidence in saying it is a rain storm and that is let's see how things play out over the next 36 hours.


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