Blog: 70s Today Before Winter Returns!

Forecast Surface Map

Ok the blog title may be a little ….mmmm… inaccurate.  Technically it is still Winter.  So it’s not like it can really COME BACK right now!  But…after a good stretch of warm weather, it will be a shock to possibly see Frosty the Snowman visit our viewing area this weekend.  More on that in a moment.  First off…the warmth.

Today we started with mixed cloud cover and mixed temperatures.  Lows were in the 30s, 40s, and 50s.  Yep!   They steadied out through the morning as the clouds have thinned out.  We’ll see lots of sunshine today.  Winds will be out of the west/southwest at 10-15mph with gusts up to 25mph.  High pressure is to our south.

Regional Weather Map

Temperatures will warm up nicely this afternoon. We’ll rise up into the low-mid 70s.  It will be a big jump compared to the morning temps.  So dress in layers.  Tonight we’ll have increasing clouds. South winds will resume.  So it will be mild with lows in the low 50s.  Tomorrow the front that is in the Midwest will roll down into our region.  We’ll have some isolated to scattered showers with the system.  Most of the models don’t have much rain for tomorrow.  Also, we’ve been pretty dry lately.  However, out Future Trak model does have a sizable batch of showers tomorrow around midday.

Future Trak (Noon Friday)

I’m calling for isolated to scattered showers from the late morning through the early afternoon.  Highs will be in the 60s.  The colder air starts to sink in by Friday night.  Lows will drop to the 30s as we dry out.  We’ll top off in the upper 40s on Saturday with mostly cloudy skies.  Then there’s Sunday…

The forecast pattern is pretty set, but the details differ on Sunday’s system.  Basically the colder air will settle south Saturday night.  The cold front will stall out to our south.  Perhaps well to our south.  An area of low pressure will track east along the front.

Forecast Surface Map

The models generally agree that the colder air will settle as far south as North Carolina.  However, some sources take the front as far south as Georgia.  Moisture will try to sweep north of the front into our region, but we look to be on the edge of the moisture.  The farther south the front and the low, the less snow we’ll see in our region.  The European model trended south and drier yesterday.  It has been pretty consistent since then.  Here is its latest snow forecast:

European Model Snow Forecast

Meanwhile, the GFS (AKA American) model has been shifting each day.  Yesterday up until last night it was pretty bullish on snow.  Especially over northeast North Carolina.  Then this morning it trended towards the European model (south and drier):

GFS Model Snow Forecast

This upcoming event just got in range of the NAM Model.  For now it looks fairly in line with the GFS, but may hint at more of a northeast turn of the low by Sunday afternoon.  The GFS rolls the low pretty much due east and offshore.  There are some factors that we have to keep in mind with this system.  First, the models have been shifting over the last 48 hours.  The GFS has had some wild swings!  So things will likely change again before Sunday gets here.  Though the trends are consistent now. We’ve been pretty dry lately, and that could start to factor into the model’s moisture fields. We could also warm up a bit more than forecast.  That would allow the track of the low to shift north.  That could increase snow totals, though the odds of that are decreasing.  There will be a potent short-wave coming-in in the upper levels.  This will aid in lift, but it looks to fall apart by the time it hits the coast.  A huge factor that we have to keep in mind are the ground and water temperatures.  They are way up for this time of year.  It is one cause of the early blooms from the plants and trees.  So there is likely to be a lot of melt as the snow falls.  Rapid/heavy/wet snow can overcome a warm ground, but for now the models show lighter amounts in the region.  As far as air temperatures go… The models are calling for lows in the low 30s or near 30.  However, due to overunning we’ll probably have clouds earlier than forecast.  This could cap the temps a bit in the overnight into Sunday morning.  So air temps could be just above freezing Sunday morning.  We should be able to warm to the upper 30s through the day.  This would also allow for melt.  One last note.  Overunning precip could allow for an earlier start time, and a little more precip than the models show in our region, but we’ll see.  I’ve seen it before many times.  Which one wins?  The dry air pushing in at the surface from the north or the moisture pushing in from the south aloft.  If the track of the low doesn’t change, then dry air will probably win.  I’ll have a better idea on that tomorrow when the higher-resolution models get in range.  (4K NAM and Future Trak).  We’ll have a better idea of the temperature profiles as well.  I do think there will be some rain and sleet mixing in near the coast.  Maybe in other locations too.  We’ll dry out on Monday with highs still only in the 40s.

If that’s not enough…the cold air will sit over the Mid-Atlantic Monday into Tuesday.  This will create a large trough (dip in the jetstream) over the region, and that will create another surface  low offshore.  That will try to retrograde west into the trough on Tuesday.   This will bring us some scattered rain showers during the day, but by the evening cold air will wrap in on the backside.  So we could transition to some snow or a wintry mix north of the metro.  It could turn into some heavy snow north of our viewing area.  We have to get on the other side of the Sunday precip before I can focus on that.   Stay tuned for updates!

By the way… at this point I doubt we’ll have enough snow to make Frosty!

Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler

 

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