Spring Fling Weekend-- But Back To Normal Soon...

Unseasonably mild temperatures become more enhanced as we turn to the weekend. Plenty of showers around as well. Will we taste snow before the end of the month?

Happy Friday everyone! You have just-about made it through the first full week back from the holidays (for most of us anyway).

First thing's first...

About last night...

So we were looking for a continued warm-up, being on the underside of a lifting region of warm, moist air flowing northward from the Gulf of Mexico. The models had been sold on it all week long, though Wednesday's high temperatures left a little to be desired. That was all-too-easily blame-able on the sketchy showers that dropped by right during the prime heating hours of a January day. We awoke to that ridiculous thick fog in the morning, but even then we were still hoping to get to the 50s in the afternoon. Here's what happened instead...

NWS - Max Temps - Thursday

There was a huge "gradient" of temperature across our viewing area, with some only getting to the low 40s, and others approaching 60. As a case in point, the high temperature in Parkersburg was only 43°, but in Beckley (above 2000') it got to 55°. Pikeville, KY reached 60°, but Huntington only 46°. (Actually, that temperature in Huntington is going to be wrong, because we'll be warming tonight-- but more on that later).

This is the thing about these large areas of high pressure when they are over-head: The steering currents become non-uniform, compared to the periphery. We have a situation here where in the valleys and to the north there was a slow, gentle sinking of air coming in from the north that nestled itself right up against the mountains to the south, while warmer air was coming in over the top of it from the south, shooting over the slopes and never making it down below. If you look again at the high temperature map, you can pretty-much draw a line across I-64 where temperatures were 10° warmer 30 miles south, and 10° colder 30 miles north. Not a fun forecast, because I'm not going to say the high temperature will be 42-62° :-) Apparently 55° didn't end up cutting the mustard for the highly populated areas. Momma told me there'd be days like this ;-)

Okay...so where are we now..?

HPC - Surface Map - Friday PM

We're still looking for a nice rush of warm air from the south, though folks in the northern part of West Virginia (near Morgantown and Canaan) may still be feeling the effects of cool air oozing around the valleys while the warm air overruns above it. For us, we're south of the warm front, which puts us in the "warm sector" of the frontal system. I know I'm getting a little gun-shy now that the high temperatures have verified cooler than forecast two days in a row now, but surely this set-up favors the spring-like weather. We've been long-used to milder weather as it is though, so even if we do hit 60+ today, I wonder if anyone out there will say it actually feels warm in the rain :-)

Behind the cold front on the above image, a break in the action arrives just in time for Saturday. I know I've been selling this all week long, so now I'm getting a little nervous. As it is, some chaff may be wandering around, as has started to appear on the NAM:

NAM - Saturday AM NAM - Saturday PM

I think it's a bit more than a stretch to go around expecting broad sunshine Saturday, but as far as breaks go with this series of storms coming through-- this may be the best we get. There will still be lots of mud and puddles, so it's not like a trip to the park with the kids will be very fruitful (though we might try it anyway).

Plenty of days with rain in it, but the focus is to our west...

As we've shown over the past couple of blog posts, there will be a connected series (read: conga-line) of storm systems approaching from the southwest and riding up through the Ohio Valley. For the most part, we'll find ourselves underneath (south/east) of the swath of heaviest rain. This is one of the reasons for the warmer temperature call. Here's a look at the expected rainfall in total from all the different systems that will move through:

HPC - Total Precipitation Forecast

The flooding potential is much more pronounced on the other side of the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys. Indeed, Charleston is going to get but a fraction of the rainfall a place like Portsmouth will see. But, rain will nevertheless be a part of each of the next several days even though it won't be a washout.

Ending with snowflakes?

The models typically have a hard time coalescing around a single "end time" for prolonged/stalled upper-air features (like the one causing all this disturbed weather we're talking about). However, this time the Euro and the GFS are now both thinking that Tuesday's the day...

GFS - Tuesday PM GFS - Thursday PM

It is possible we get some snowflakes on the back-side of this last system Tuesday night, but it just doesn't have that "lake-effect" ring to me. We will return to the normal side of January though. (For a point of reference, the Euro is not as bullish with the cold air, leaving 'snowable' temperatures north of Route-50 during the period). The GFS is advertising a quick-moving "clipper" system scraping across the Great Lakes late Thursday. This has the chance of bringing us some snowflakes, but it's quite far out to nail it into the schedule-- and those kinds of events are more geared toward elevation as it is. The most important take-away is that all these warm temperatures that take about 5 seconds to get used to will be replaced with readings 30-degrees cooler, and that is where normal is.

Hopefully y'all have got your flu shots ;-)

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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