Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Enjoy Spring Now; Winter Returns Next Week

First things sure to get out and enjoy these temperatures through the rest of the week and weekend.  We will be a good bit above normal with most locations getting into the 50s and even some 60s east of the mountains.  This will definitely rid areas of most of their existing snow pack.
0-4 day Temperature Anomaly

Our next system will be in the form of a pretty strong, early season cold front on Friday.  There were signs a few days ago this may produce severe weather across much of the area.  We usually struggle to get enough instability for widespread severe weather this far north this early in the season.  That's even further hampered when we don't have peak afternoon sun to destabilize everything.  This front will cross through most of western and central Virginia by early Friday morning, not allowing the sun to heat things up out ahead of it.  The exception will be far eastern Virginia where it may not pass until early Friday afternoon.  There may be a bit of a squall line that develops, with damaging straight line winds being the biggest threat.  Once again, with it being this early in the season and an unfavorable timing with the cold front, I don't expect this to be a widespread severe event up here.  Below is where the Storm Prediction Center has highlighted for a slight risk of severe storms.

2/24 Monday- 3/1 Saturday Temperature Anomaly
The colder pattern we are returning to next week is pretty easy to see coming.  The tricky part is determining if we will get a storm during this colder period.  I think there's only a few things points you can take away right now:

  •  A piece of the polar vortex is coming south.  We are later in the year and have a much higher sun angle than what we saw back in January, so this won't be nearly the cold outbreak we saw then.  Still cold for late February/early March.
  • Plenty of northern stream disturbances will be swinging around it.  There will be chances for these to team up with a piece of Pacific energy to give us our storm (although I'm not seeing as much of an active southern flow as we saw last week) 
  • There will be a bit of suppression from the polar vortex initially. This will make it tough to get much more than late blooming storms that head harmlessly out to sea.
  • The polar vortex cant stay this far south forever...Once it relaxes, i think that's where our chance at a storm will be
  • Between figuring out when this relaxation period is and when/if we can time up the northern and southern stream energies...the best thing to do is wait..especially with how the models handled energy with polar vortex interaction earlier this winter                                                     

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