This is going to be an active week of weather with 2 storms heading our way. The first one tonight into Tuesday will be mainly rain for the piedmont but some snow for the mountains. Storm #2 on Wednesday night into Thursday will bring snow for most of the area including the Charlotte area. The real question is will it be just flurries or will there be accumulations? Here’s my video briefing on the situation this morning and like most of this winter the guidance has been very unreliable with this storm as well.
Here’s a look at the storm tracks and snowfall potential from HPC(Hydro Meteorological Prediction Center).
Storm TracksChances of 1” of snow Thursday
Here’s our Furturecast model for 7am Thursday
Here’s the EURO(ECMWF European Model)
NAM model sounding
Ready for Spring? Here’s the good news!
The good news if you are ready for Spring all signs point to a major pattern shift to milder weather after this weekend. The NAO(North Atlantic Oscillation) and AO(Arctic Oscillation) both go from their very negative territory this winter to positive. This along with the long range models all point to milder air starting late this weekend into next week.
Doesn’t look like much now but the models have been flip flopping on a potential winter storm for Thursday next week. The European model has been more bullish with the storm but even it has backed off. This model has performed the best this winter so far.
The GFS has all but lost the storm with the 18z run, but this is not unusually for this model this winter.
This is really a waiting game and with the pattern the way it is, plus the cold air coming south something is bound to happen. The question is, how Strong and when? Stay tuned we’ll likely know much more on Monday and I’ll be posting an update Monday regardless. The good news is the NAO and AO are both scheduled to go positive after Valentines Day. Which combined with the long range GFS points to milder weather for later this month. STAY TUNED!
URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GREENVILLE-SPARTANBURG SC
322 PM EST THU FEB 3 2011
…DEVELOPING STORM SYSTEM TO BRING ICE TO PORTIONS OF THE WESTERN
CAROLINAS AND NORTHEAST GEORGIA…
.PRECIPITATION WILL GRADUALLY OVERSPREAD THE AREA TONIGHT…LIKELY
STARTING OUT AS A SLEET AND RAIN MIX. TEMPERATURES WILL COOL
QUICKLY ONCE THE PRECIP BEGINS TO FALL AND ARE EXPECTED TO FALL TO
OR BELOW FREEZING IN SOME AREAS…ESPECIALLY ACROSS PORTIONS OF
THE MOUNTAINS…AND THE NORTHERN FOOTHILLS AND NORTHWEST PIEDMONT
OF NORTH CAROLINA. THIS WILL ALLOW FREEZING RAIN TO DEVELOP…WITH
SOME SLEET POSSIBLY MIXING IN AT TIMES. LIGHT ACCUMULATIONS OF
ICE ARE EXPECTED IN THESE AREAS FROM LATE TONIGHT THROUGH
SOUTHERN JACKSON-TRANSYLVANIA-HENDERSON-CALDWELL MOUNTAINS-
GREATER CALDWELL-BURKE MOUNTAINS-GREATER BURKE-MCDOWELL MOUNTAINS-
EASTERN MCDOWELL-RUTHERFORD MOUNTAINS-POLK MOUNTAINS-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF…CLAYTON…NEWLAND…STATESVILLE…
322 PM EST THU FEB 3 2011
…FREEZING RAIN ADVISORY IN EFFECT FROM 3 AM TO 6 PM EST
THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN GREENVILLE-SPARTANBURG HAS ISSUED
A FREEZING RAIN ADVISORY…WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 3 AM TO 6 PM
* LOCATIONS…NORTHEAST GEORGIA MOUNTAINS…MUCH OF THE NORTH
CAROLINA MOUNTAINS…THE NORTHWEST PIEDMONT AND NORTHERN
FOOTHILLS OF NORTH CAROLINA.
* HAZARDS…FREEZING RAIN COATING TREES AND POWER LINES AND
CREATING HAZARDOUS DRIVING CONDITIONS.
* TIMING…PRECIPITATION IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN BY THIS EVENING…AND
CONTINUE THROUGH FRIDAY MORNING BEFORE CHANGING TO RAIN DURING
THE AFTERNOON IN MOST AREAS.
* ICE ACCUMULATIONS…TRACE AMOUNTS TO LESS THAN A TENTH OF AN
INCH IN MOST AREAS. HOWEVER…LOCATIONS ALONG THE BLUE RIDGE
WILL SEE HEAVIER AMOUNTS. SOME LOCATIONS ALONG THE ESCARPMENT
COULD SEE AS MUCH AS A QUARTER OF AN INCH OF ICE.
* IMPACTS…SLICK SPOTS ON ROADS…ESPECIALLY BRIDGES AND
OVERPASSES. SOME DOWNED TREES AND POWER LINES COULD LEAD TO
SPORADIC POWER OUTAGES NEAR THE BLUE RIDGE.
* TEMPERATURES…LOWERING TO FREEZING ONCE PRECIPITATION STARTS
LATE TONIGHT…GRADUALLY WARMING ABOVE FREEZING ON FRIDAY.
A FREEZING RAIN ADVISORY MEANS THAT PERIODS OF FREEZING RAIN OR
FREEZING DRIZZLE WILL CAUSE TRAVEL DIFFICULTIES. BE PREPARED FOR
SLIPPERY ROADS. SLOW DOWN AND USE CAUTION WHILE DRIVING.
With cold and dry air in place over the Carolinas and a strong storm system developing to our southwest. The potential is there that late tonight and early Friday we will see the first batch of moisture start out as sleet or freezing rain. This likely will not last long as warm air aloft will overcome this cold dry air mass at the surface. This will change things back to rain during the day Friday for the piedmont and the Charlotte area. In the mountains and foothills it’s a different story, let me show you why.
The cold air is in place thanks to the mid west blizzard, it left behind this huge area of arctic air. This arctic air is center over Oklahoma but with the clockwise flow around the high we have seen this arctic air ooze into the Carolinas. North and northeast winds today have been advecting or transporting this cold dry air mass into the region since late last night.
While all this cold air had been moving in a low pressure system and a strong subtropical jetstream have been throwing moisture north and east over this cold air mass. There are already winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories for pats of coastal Texas and deep into southern Louisiana today.
Overall I don’t expect this to be a major problem in and around Charlotte unless the moisture starts to make it to the ground early tonight. That would give us several hours of below freezing temperatures and a cold ground to cause some problems. I do worry about areas here along the Blue Ridge which might seen a prolonged period of freezing rain and I bet we see a Freezing Rain advisory issued later tonight.
In an epic battle between a large hibernating rodent and the mythical Mr. Snow Miser this morning. The rodent known only as “Phil” did not see his shadow and thus defeated the forces of Mr. Snow Miser, a.k.a Winter. Spring will apparently be returning as Mr. Miser makes a slow retreat back north No word on how long this exit will actually take, but my guess is it will actually be a few more weeks.
As we all know there is a massive blizzard in the middle of the country slamming a large section of the heartland. We will stay on the “warm” side of this storm but won’t escape all of it’s impacts entirely. There are extremely strong winds associated with this storm. As the combination of strong jet stream level winds along with the pressure gradient between the storm, a 990mb low, and the arctic high 1055mb, to the west will create damaging winds. High wind warnings will likely be needed in the mountains with wind advisories for the piedmont tonight and tomorrow. These winds and the combination of possible thunderstorms could bring major problems tonight and tomorrow for the Carolinas. These winds will be from the southwest which means a warm wind but still dangerous. Let me show you why.
Here is the NAM model sounding showing the core of highs winds moving in early tomorrow morning. 2am-8am.
I’ve highlighted this high wind core with the yellow arrows but notice the legend on the left how close to the surface these winds are. Often times with mixing at the surface these winds “mix” down or are transported down to the ground pretty easily. This mixing is what causes the gustiness of the winds.
Now for the mountains this is a even bigger problem because…well the elevation puts them right into the high winds. This means no mixing is even required for 70-80mph gust to occur at higher elevations.
With the snowmelt and wet ground many trees will be coming down tonight through the day on Wednesday. Be prepared for power outages and tree falls especially in the mountains. Plus I bet Grandfather mountain breaks that wind gust record again this week.
This will be the weather story of the week as a huge winter storm will be impacting over 60% of the U.S. with snow, ice and wind. It won’t bring us winter weather but we will see some heavy rain and maybe severe storms early Wednesday . The real issue will be what this storm does to the weather patterns after it moves through, This will determine if a second storm that forms in the Gulf of Mexico will bring us some wintry weather late this week. Here’s how things stand today.
This thing is just huge with the main surface low being somewhere in the neighborhood of 990 mb if not lower over southern Illinois. While at the same time a 1050mb arctic high is over the western Dakotas. This will provide a large area with blizzard conditions Tuesday and Wednesday.
The snowfall totals from this are just epic on our Futurecast model. Haven’t seen 14-24” totals forecasted over such a large area in a long time. It’s likely there could be a swath of 1-2 FEET of snow from Oklahoma all the way to Maine!
With the success of the blog and the need to add new features like a request page, weather data, pictures and so much more. I decided to finally host the site on my own server and use WordPress as my content management system. While my blogs will be updated frequently I’m still building out the other pages, so I ask for your patience. I hope to have all of the climate data for Charlotte and the Carolinas hosted on the site so it can be a one stop shopping place for Carolina weather information. I’m currently working on a logo and some other design features so this is really just the beginning. If there is something you would like to see or contribute to the site please drop me an email or tweet about it.
Last October I did my annual winter forecast for the southeast and theirs no denying I blew the temperature forecast big time! I relying on some long range modeling and teleconnections that pointed to La Nina having an influence on us with mild and dry conditions. I did though feel that much like last winter the negative N.A.O (North Atlantic Oscillation) and the negative A.O. (Arctic Oscillation) would help cancel out some of the effects of the La Nina. I just didn’t foresee how negative both indices would get. The net results of these 2 indices being negative especially the A.O, which may have been at record low readings, has resulting in the second coldest winter in the past 69 years here in Charlotte. Here is what these 2 indices do to our weather patterns across the southeast.On the left in the figure you can see the impacts of a positive A.O. on the left and a negative phase on the right. Notice how when the A.O. is negative both Europe and the eastern U.S. have really cold winters. You also will notice that Greenland and parts of eastern Canada have warm winters. When you look at the effect of the N.A.O you have very similar impacts when this index goes negative.
Positive N.A.O Negative N.A.O
Looking at these 2 indices you can clearly see why we had such a brutal stretch of cold weather the past 2 months. Though notice the forecast 10-14 days out into middle and late February. You can see for the first time in almost 2 months these indices are going positive. Which will likely mean a significant warming trend for late winter. This is no grantee that we’ll be done with the cold and snow, but likely those cold episodes will be fewer and shorter lived later next month. I also should note here that climatological Charlotte has it’s biggest snows in February and March. This is due mainly to better timing of the moisture and cold air as the cold air is retreating and warmer air is coming north.
Here is where we stand today across the southeast for ranking the coldest winters in the past 69years. The numbers represent the ranking this winter for coldest mean temperatures so far, through Jan 27th, 2011. We’ll see if this late winter warm spell will be knocking us further down the list but with 2 solid months of cold it’s not likely 2-3 weeks of warmer weather in February will have much impact on the final numbers.
While our large winter storm is looking more and more like a very good cold and soaking rain for the Charlotte area. There’s still a chance for a little snow at the end as the storms moves out. If you live north and west of HWY 64 be ready for a heavy wet snow. Here’s the run down of what could happen based on the current data.
Here’s where the storm is right now. Here’s the ECMWF model with a cold pocket aloft moving overhead Wednesday evening. This will likely change the rain to a quick bust of snow Wednesday evening, something I’m watching closely. NAM model kind of does the exact same thing at the tail end of the storm theirs a period of heavy snow for 1-3 hours, right over the western Carolinas. Including a large section of the piedmont. NAM sounding shows it too!
Forecast scenarios right now: Charlotte/Metro and surrounding area: The basic gist right now is mostly a cold rain from Tuesday night into Wednesday afternoon for Charlotte and the surrounding piedmont. Then late Wednesday a brief period of snow and colder air re-freezing roads which could cause some slick roads on Thursday morning.
I-40 Corridor and northern piedmont: Likely a cold rain too but some wet snow mixing in from time to time. This is the one area that a small shift in the track could bring accumulating snows. I wouldn’t be shocked to see more snow here than we are thinking right now.
Mountains and areas west & north of HWY 64: This is likely going to be a very wet heavy snow with rain mixed in. Accumulations could be from 1-3” below 1500’ in elevation but above 2500-3000’ accumulations could be 4-8”. Need to watch closely in case some cold air gets trapped in the high mountains valleys, then we could see some freezing rain mixed with snow. Likely going to see a Winter Storm Watch issued here by tonight.