Sunday, March 02, 2008

Pleasant end to the weekend, severe weather possible Tuesday

Today marks the beginning of Severe Weather Awareness week in North Carolina. Of the following 4 storm elements, which one is *not* considered criteria for a severe storm?

a) Penny-sized or larger hail
b) Frequent lightning
c)Winds of at least 58 mph
d) Produces a tornado
The answer later in this blog.

We had a wonderful weekend so far, as yesterday featured abundant sunshine and highs in the mid to upper 60s. We also had rather breezy to windy conditions which when combined with a dry surface and low relative humidities brought about a heightened danger of forest fires . Its not as windy today, so we can concentrate on a nice Sunday and prepare for the possibility of severe weather on Tuesday.

We started out with high pressure to our north today and lows of about 10 degrees chillier than yesterday. RDU internation recorded a low of 32 degrees. By lunchtime we should be well on our way to high in the low to mid 60s for the afternoon.

Our current precipitation almanac shows a deficit since the beginning of 2007 of over 10-inches. Many counties this week were removed from the highest level of drought (exceptional). We had 64 counties last week, but have 39 this week. While this is encouraging news we still have significant drought throughout the state and need to watch our water useage carefully. One week's reduction in a number does not a trend make, so we just take it as good development and see if we continue this improvement.

Here's the surface map for Monday. We're watching one storm in particular thats developing along the cold front you see cutting the US in half from the Great Lakes to SW Texas. The "L", which is an area of low pressure over SW texas will be supported by a strong upper-level storm system and make a move eastward toward the Mid-Atlantic by Tuesday.

Precisioncast shows this developing storm as it produces rain and snow in the Midwest and Mississippi Valley. Monday we'll have an increased windflow from the South which will tap into some Gulf and Atlantic moisture. That will enhance the fuel available for this approaching storm.
The Storm Prediction Center has been watching this storm possibility for the last week and has been issuing us advisories well in advance but today issued this map. Its advising us that a good deal of NC will be in a slight risk for strong to severe storms on Tuesday from the afternoon throughout the evening.

They also gave a breakdown which shows what part of the state in the slight risk area has what percentage of seeing a severe storm. The best risk is approximately from Charlotte and Greensboro eastward. Again, while this is today's advisory for Tuesday, that could always change so stay close to News 14 whether its via "Weather on the Ones" or our website for updates.
Tuesday's storms could being us some considerable rain. Possibly an inch to an inch and a quarter which would be very welcome in our drought. This is Wednesdays map which shows high pressure moving in behind the storm . We'll have a couple of quiet days before yet another chance for some showers. We'll keep you updated on that as well.

Okay, we asked you about which of the 4 options posted above, which was *not* criteria for a severe storm? Well, I wouldn't have put a lightning bolt here if it wasn't lightning. The National Weather Service does not issue warnings for lightning but given the deadly nature of lightning you should always be aware of lightning anytime a thunderstorm is nearby.
We'll have more information about severe weather throughout the week and coverage as these storms develop on Tuesday. Til then, have a great weekend!
Pati Darak

No comments: