Update - An interesting and challenging forecast coming up

Sunshine will soon come in fits and starts later this week, as we're tracking several opportunities for rainfall-- and major forecast-busting potential. :)

Updates Below ... (most recent 3:00pm)

Happy Wednesday Everyone! 

We're half-way there...

Exactly.

Your friendly neighborhood forecaster may also be livin' on a prayer this week with such a challenging forecast ahead. It's a rather typical weather setup in the late spring through the summer months, but it's unfortunate that this 'typical' pattern is also marked by its fickleness.

Most of the day today will be just fine, outside of the chilly morning temperatures (again) and the late-day clouds. Showers should be able to stay out of the area until the day's activities are completed. After that point, well, here's a few maps from the GFS that show the scene (it's more-or-less the same thing we talked about a little bit yesterday):

GFS - Thursday AM GFS - Friday AM GFS - Saturday AM

So, lots of moisture coming across in intervals, but in reality, those intervals, and the placement of the line are up to the winds of change (no, I'm not going to post that song this time ;-)

Here's a good way of showing it (again, with the GFS for consistency):

GFS - Animation - Relative Humidity (700mb) - Thursday to Saturday

So this shows the relative humidity at the 10,000-feet altitude (700mb pressure level). You can clearly see this winding snaking line of moisture slithering up and down through the Ohio Valley. This trait gives forecasters fits, because it rarely plays nice and comes through with the same timing that the models put forth. Temperatures north and south of the line can differ by more than 20-degrees, and you can clearly see the humidity drops off to nil outside of the core of the moisture flow. This sets up a nasty picture where the "correct" forecast would be for "steady rains affecting part of the area for part of the day, interspersed with patchy clouds and sunshine"..."temperatures will range from the upper 50s to the low 70s". A forecast like this would be not very useless given the range, but unfortunately it will be very difficult to be completely accurate over any one city this far out. But, for folks that have an appropriate understanding of what's coming, the information presented here should indeed be useful because you can always check the radar and follow along where that moisture feed is at, and where it's not. To a similar but smaller-scale degree, "lake effect" snow patterns in western New York operate similarly. Often the plumes of moisture generated off Lake Erie will snake and bump up and down across the terrain, giving some folks 8" of snow, and others none, all nearly impossible to pinpoint 2-3 days in advance.

By the time we're done with the week, here's what the HPC thinks we'll see for total rainfall (again, fairly consistent with the same rendition last week):

HPC - Total Rainfall - Through Sunday

To put that in context, we really haven't had a 5-day period that wet for so many this year, let alone recently. So we'll just have to see how it plays out.

---Earth Day Tangent---

I realize Earth Day was Sunday, but we were following a historically large late-April winter storm which took a lot of my attention. I wanted to touch briefly on the day itself, because out of 365-days, we certainly can spare one to highlight the need for us as inhabitants/citizens of the Earth to make a more overt effort to be a steward of the resources and beauty the land provides simply by existing. It's not really a political thing or anything... but I suppose our perspective on this side of the pond regarding our resources may be a little out of step with other folks in more desparate parts of the world where scarcity is center stage.

One of the great things that I saw on Earth Day itself was a volunteer effort undertaken in Huntington to clean up Four Pole Creek. It was a great way to do a small part on a local scale to just "make things better", for lack of a more appropriate phrase. It didn't take a lot of time; it didn't require a megaphone or whatever; just some people offering their time on a cloudy afternoon. Perhaps next year there will be such a project that merits a little of your time in your area.

---End Tangent---

Here are your maps for the day today. There may be a growing risk of thunderstorms later in the day Wednesday (more specifically overnight). I'll put up the full suite of tracking tools today, and may get to update things as the day wears on.

Update 2:30am - Check out the radar maps below. You can see the first salvo of what I've been talking about here, with a large blob of moisture cutting real close to our area. Folks in Paintsville and Pikeville have been seeing a downpour here and there, but Charleston is still clear. Farther upstream, breaking clouds separate one wave of energy from another. These showers will continue to move around the ridge to the south, giving a close shave to the Big Sandy river.

Update 9:30am - The Storm Prediction Center has placed the far western portion of our area under a "slight risk" for severe weather (we're mainly talking this evening and overnight). Here's the breakdown:

SPC - Hail Threat SPC - Wind Threat SPC - Tornado Threat

 Gusty winds could become a possibility (it has been windy around here), but mainly what we'll be watching tonight will be where those downpours set up. Some of these storms individually could be responsible for 1" of rain or more. However, if it becomes more than that you can follow along on the radar and warnings maps below.

Update 3:00pm - Already we're seeing that thin ribbon of showers extend down into parts of southern Ohio and West Virginia (on the maps below). It's not raining everywhere though, which is the difficult nature of the forecast itself. We're still expecting a greater amount of storminess and shower coverage later in the day, but right now is not THE best time for outdoor chores in some areas (and I've got some personal knowledge of that right about now :-)

Regional Radar/Satellite with Warnings Tracking

Accuweather Radar

From the Storm Prediction Center (below): Click For a Larger Image

Activity Overview Storm Outlook Watches Potential Watches Storm Reports
Temperatures HD Doppler Radar Estimated Rainfall Active Warnings
Current Temperatures HD Doppler Radar Estimated Rainfall Active NWS Warnings
Click For Larger Click For Interactive Radar Click For Larger Click For Larger

Have a great day everyone!

-B

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