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Tony's Blog: Weekend to Watch Skies

Weekend to Watch Skies

Back in Charleston this Friday evening as I am opening the Light Opera Guild’s performance of Pump Boys and Dinettes, a neat musical set in North Carolina. No doubt, I will be peppered with questions on the weekend weather since FestivALL is set to wrap up a rousing 10 day run.

Let’s get something straight up front. I have a 1 PM tee time at Sugarwood on Saturday. Of course, your first thought then must be I expect it to be dry from 1 until 5, right? Not quite. You see, I am due here in Charleston all day on Sunday as I man our booth at the Capital Street Fair then return to the Guild at night for an encore.

That puts my back against the wall to get in my weekend round of golf on Saturday. Since I like to sleep on weekends, the 1 PM tee-time gives me plenty of beauty sleep before I grip it and rip it along the banks of the Twelve Pole Creek. Make no doubt about it, when it comes to my summer outdoor plans, I never cancel based on my forecast. I wait until the heavens open up, then and only then do I pack it in!

I have always contended that summer shower and storm forecasting is the hardest of the year. Take today, when I correctly signaled a daily double with a morning and late afternoon shower/downpour. Trouble is the timing and placement of such action is always problematic. This morning’s action stayed north and east of Huntington while the afternoon cells moved steadily along and south of I-64. At my house in B-Ville, that morning shower forecast was misplaced but the afternoon deluge was spot on!

Here in Charleston, I was asked at 3 pm by our producers about the feasibility of a live shot at UC for Jessica before the Blues and Brews Barbecue. Jess was to do go live at 5:12. I gave it my best shot and touted a thunderstorm overhead at that time. No live shot was recommended due to the risk of harm to both Jess and photog Dave McQueen. Well, turned out the rain and lightning came after 5:30 so my forecast looking out 2 hours was off by 20 minutes.

At 6, I alerted Blues, Brews and Barbecue goers that the sudden deluge that hit would be gone by 7. Perfect short term forecast, but it was based on my interpretation of our 3D Doppler radar. Short term forecasts based on radar returns are superior to longer term forecasts made say 12-24 hours in advance.

Same forecast challenge arises this weekend. Oh it is going to rain, and in spots torrentially. But when and where? Sugarwood at 1? Charleston at 3 for the Wine and Jazz? All that matters to you is the time you are out and about.

Let’s take the opening day of the Central City Farmers Market as a snapshot. The market opens on Saturday at 8 with of plenty of home grown veggies and fruits. Will it rain at 8 and so for how long? The market stays open until a sellout. Will that be at 3 or 5? What about the weather for those 2 times?

If you are eying the West Virginia Festival Pageant, you want it to be dry for your drive to the Logan Jamboree. After 6 PM you are indoors.

OK, enough hemming and hawing. Since Saturday rains, and Sunday’s for that matter, don’t exist right now, it would be foolish for me to try to nail down when it will rain in your neighborhood. Right now (10pm Friday), I see more showers lined up from Cincinnati all the way to Chicago aimed in our direction. Those thunderstorms will make steady progress toward us and cross the region with thunder, lightning and gusty winds predawn. Local street flooding can occur especially in Southern Ohio. Some of this action could linger into the first few hours of daylight.

Saturday will trend hazy and muggy as the atmosphere reloads again then after a long respite in the rain, new showers and thunderstorms will fire late afternoon Saturday. These cells could grow intense since they will feed on the tropical air that is in place across our region. Local street flooding looks a real good bet where the fiercer cells hit.

As for Sunday’s rains, you ask? Well, let’s just see what happens with Saturday’s action before we tackle that issue.

Josh is on duty in the morning with a 3D Doppler update. Make your plans accordingly!

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