April 16: Calm For A Few Days

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We’re zeroing in on the next chance of severe weather that will roll into central North Carolina on Friday, but for the next few days we get to enjoy a tranquil (and warmer!) weather pattern. While we started off in the 30s across most of the area this morning, abundant sunshine and southerly winds will push high temperatures will into the 60s and even the low 70s this afternoon:

We’ll see clear skies tonight, but the winds will remain just strong enough to stir around the atmosphere and keep temperatures from falling too far:

An even bigger warm-up is in store for Wednesday, with highs into the 70s to near 80°:

After another warm day Thursday, we’ll be tracking that severe weather threat on Friday. There are still plenty of questions about the magnitude of that threat, since we’re still one day away from getting some more-detailed forecast data. What we know now:

  • An approaching storm system is likely to trigger thunderstorms.
  • There will be abundant wind energy to organize those storms and help them rotate, increasing the severe weather threat.
  • There will probably be enough humidity to fuel stronger storms.

What we don’t know yet:

  • Will it be warm enough to boost the instability (“storm fuel”)? It’s possible that morning rain and cloud cover will keep us cooler and more-stable.
  • Will there be enough of a contrast between warm air near the ground and cold air a few miles above our heads to help the storms explosively develop?

So on Friday’s severe thunderstorm “recipe card,” here’s where we stand:

The Storm Prediction Center’s forecast model shows a 50%-70% chance of favorable severe weather ingredients coming together to our southwest by early Friday afternoon — that mix would then be pushed into central North Carolina as the whole storm system evolves:Considering that, it’s no surprise that the SPC has outlined most of the region with an elevated severe threat in its long-range thunderstorm outlook:Starting tomorrow, we’ll be able to get a look at the specific severe threats, the timing of the storms, and which areas within that long-range outlook will have the greatest risk.

The severe threat will be gone for Easter weekend, but some lingering clouds and showers will keep things cool on Saturday. It’s too soon to cancel or re-arrange any outdoor plans at this point, but I’d start thinking about a backup plan…lots of Easter Egg hunts on the agenda, I know!Easter Sunday looks better — some morning clouds should give way to plenty of sun, with temperatures warming up after a cool start. That warming trend will continue into early next week.

I’m on double weather-and-traffic duty again this morning, so no time for the science links. The daily nerdiness will be back tomorrow!

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