February 13: Strong Storms Possible



Big changes coming to our weather over the next 24 hours! Some showers north of the Triangle this morning didn’t cause too many headaches for the morning commute…but we’ll be tracking a line of heavier downpours later this morning. Rain will continue off-and-on throughout the afternoon and into this evening.

The HRRR model’s radar simulation from 9:00am through 11:00pm shows the quick movement of the heaviest rain — that line should be off the southern Coastal Plain by mid-afternoon. The last of the rain showers will wind down tonight.

There’s a LOT of wind energy in the atmosphere overhead — some of the heaviest downpours could drag some of that energy down to ground level late this morning into this afternoon. The mix of severe weather ingredients is far from ideal for a significant outbreak, but it’s still something we’ll keep a close eye on.

The Storm Prediction Center has included most of central North Carolina in a “Marginal Risk” (the lowest category) of severe weather, reflecting the borderline nature of the threat.

Before the rain arrives, temperatures will warm up to around 70° in the Triangle, with our southern counties reaching well into the 70s.

Temperatures will back off already by this evening, as winds turn to the northwest.

Once the rain tapers off, temperatures really drop off. We’ll end up in the 30s and low 40s by early Friday morning.

Despite emerging sunshine overhead, we won’t warm up much during the day Friday.

The chilly air sticks around into the start of the weekend, then we’ll slowly warm up Sunday and Monday. Sunday’s and Monday’s rain chances continue to look less and less impressive, but I still can’t completely rule out the chance of a passing shower.

The next good chance of rain heads our way — along with warmer temperatures — by Tuesday and Wednesday. Temperatures drop off again by the end of next week.

The end of next week is…complicated. The American GFS model keeps us dry Thursday and Friday, with rain showers moving in next Saturday.

However, the European forecast model shows this scenario for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. That’s rain, changing to a wintry mix, changing to snow.

I can easily sum up my personal feelings about that particular scenario:

Those loops are individual runs of one forecast model, what we call “operational” models. This far out (over a week), forecasters rely more on “ensemble” members — one model run dozens of times, to let us narrow down the most-likely scenario. In this case, the European ensemble estimates a 20% chance that we pick up at least 3″ of snow late next week. Those are low odds, which is why you don’t see any snowflakes in the 10-day forecast…yet.

Regardless of how I feel about the potential of wintry weather, the atmosphere will do what the atmosphere wants to do. We’ll keep an eye on the latest throughout the weekend and next week, just in case things turn messy.


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