Thursday, January 10, 2008

Wild January Weather

The ups and downs of our weather so far in January 2008 have had some people asking... how unusual is it for us to have such wild weather changes in January? Well, it is somewhat rare, but it has happened before. All we do is look back to just 3 years ago...

On January 13-14, 2005 a storm system produced severe weather across North Carolina including a weak F0 tornado that swept through a small part of Orange County. The above map and photo was taken from a storm damage survey from the National Weather Service Office in Raleigh.
That same system caused several wind damage reports across central North Carolina as well and one other tornado in northern Warren County near the Virginia border. It was not too long after that when the weather looked like this in Raleigh..
The above picture is another photo from the National Weather Service Office in Raleigh. This was taken on the Centennial Campus of North Carolina State on January 19, 2005. Many people in Wake County will remember January 19, 2005. That is the day a half inch to one inch of snow caused gridlock around Raleigh. Motorists reported being stuck in traffic for hours and some school children had to spend the night in school.
So, yes there have been some wild weather changes during Januarys of the past. And now in January 2008, we're getting ready for more "wild" swings in the weather. We've already seen some of the coldest air of the season last week when morning lows dropped to the teens. So far, this week, we've set two record high temperatures in the Triangle. Next on the horizon could be some stormy weather Friday morning.
The above is the forecast surface map for Friday morning. Late Thursday night we'll see a warm front race across the state. That front will cause temperatures to actually warm up overnight. We'll go from lows in the low to mid 50s Thursday evening to the low to mid 60s by daybreak Friday morning. That warm up should create a somewhat unstable atmosphere as that cold front you see on the above surface map moves across the state. When that front bumps into the unstable atmosphere across the Carolinas, we expect a line of showers with a few embedded thunderstorms. In fact, we're monitoring the potential for some strong storms Friday morning.
As of early Thursday morning, the Storm Prediction Center has placed eastern North Carolina under a "slight risk" for severe storms. The severe weather threat could bring gusty and damaging winds in the strongest storms. It's not a guarantee that we will see severe storms Friday morning, but the chance is there. We'll have updates every 10 minutes on News 14 Carolina with more frequent updates if warranted.

So how will the weather change from Friday? First off, we expect cooler weather for the weekend with highs in the 50s on Saturday and possibly only the 40s for Sunday. By Sunday, it appears low pressure will be forming off the Carolina coast. Computer forecast models have "flipped and flopped" back and forth with the solution for late Sunday and early Monday. Some models have kept the low far enough east that it would not bring any precipitation to our part of the state. Others this morning's 6Z run of the GFS (posted below) model brings the low right along the coast bringing some a needed cold soaking rain our way by late Sunday afternoon and evening.

The above model forecast is taken for Sunday evening. If the low does take that track, we would see a cold rain through Sunday night and possibly lasting into the early morning hours on Monday. As the low pulls away from the coast, it would pull in cold air behind it. That could be enough to change the rain to some light snow in the Piedmont (areas west of the Triangle) early on Monday. However, that all depends on the exact track of the low. With the computer models still varying on their forecasts for late Sunday and early Monday, it is too early to make a call on exactly what we expect. So for now, it's just another system to watch closely. We certainly will be watching it, and you can count on News 14 Carolina for Weather on the Ones updates into the weekend as we fine tune that late weekend forecast. Stay tuned...

You can read more about some of the topics on today's blog by visiting some of the following links:

No comments: