Weather Blog: A more stable and warmer weather pattern this week?

Your 7-Day Forecast, created on the afternoon of Saturday, April 8, 2017, shows a more consistent warmth with fewer weather disturbances compared to last week! (WCHS/WVAH)

Good Morning!

I hope you were able to get outside and enjoy Saturday! After a cold start in the upper 20s to lower 30s for many locations--with even some snow on the ground east of town into the mountains--temperatures recovered nicely in the afternoon. The strong April sun allowed temperatures to recover into the mid 60s for the I-64 corridor--average for this time of the year. Little, if any, wind actually made it feel a bit warmer, too--especially if you were out in direct sunlight. Like Saturday morning, we are starting chilly on this Palm Sunday morning, as clear skies and dry air were the rule overnight. However, we look to see an even bigger warm-up this afternoon! How warm will it turn? How long will it last? When is our next chance of rain and storms? Here's your complete and detailed, seven-day forecast...

TODAY: After a chilly start early on, mostly sunny and warm. High: 77.

  • We'll start chilly, as the night prior will have provided mostly clear skies, dry air in the lower atmosphere and little, if any, wind--that's a perfect combo for maximum cooling to occur. This will especially be true across outlying valleys and hollows, where frost is likely to form. A touch of river valley fog may also develop for some--but would be gone, by the latest, around 9 AM. Don't forget a light jacket if heading out the door early for Palm Sunday Services. Otherwise, the strong April sun, combined with a southerly flow--albeit light--will cause our temperatures to surge into the 70s by the early afternoon! We can thank a High-Pressure off the Carolinas and a Low-Pressure back near Nebraska for the favorable synoptic set-up for this! Clouds will be hard to come by for much of the day--let alone any rain--as the lower to middle part of the atmosphere looks to remain bone dry; due to this, don't forget the sunscreen if outside for awhile! Some high, wispy, cirrus clouds may spill over an upper-level ridge axis just towards our west at times, but that would be about it. Just a perfect day to be outside and possibly even take in a baseball game at Appalachian Power Park; the Power host the Rome Braves at 2:05 PM!

TONIGHT: Mostly clear and a bit chilly tonight, especially across outlying valleys and hollows. Low: 45.

  • The low-level flow--just a few thousand feet off the ground--will increase here, as a pressure gradient begins to strengthen over the Ohio Valley in response to some 'squeeze play' between a high-pressure off the East Coast and a low-pressure near Wisconsin. Thie increasing southerly flow means a temperature discrepancy--between valley and ridge--is likely again. Namely, the higher spots--where a slight southerly wind should stir--won't fall much below 50 degrees. However, across the more sheltered valleys and hollows, where the wind goes calm quickest, temperatures should tumble into the upper 30s to around 40 degrees given the dry air still in place. For the Charleston area, decided to go 'down the middle' here to compensate for those differences. It won't be as cold as Saturday Night, but still a bit chilly right before dawn on Monday. Otherwise, it looks quiet here--as deep moisture will be lacking and any waves of energy in the upper-atmosphere stay well towards our west closer to the surface warm-front. Just some high cirrus clouds moving in at times, but not thick enough to act like an efficient 'blanket'.

MONDAY: Mostly sunny and very warm with a slight breeze. High: 81.

  • The latest guidance from the NAM model continues to show a slow-evolving pattern here, which will continue to benefit our weather! With a high-pressure still anchored off the East Coast--and a low-pressure slowly moving across Lake Michigan in the afternoon--our winds will be more out of the south-southwest. It should turn a little gustier at times, too--possibly 15-20 MPH--as the pressure gradient will increase a hair more as the low-pressure draws a bit closer. This may not be a classic downsloping flow--that's usually southeast--but this wind direction will still come DOWN some from the Cumberland Plateau in eastern Tennessee; as a result, due to this slight compressional warming--low 80s appear likely. This sinking air will also inhibit any moisture in the lower part of the atmosphere, so expecting another dry day, too. In fact, relative humidities may drop so low that there could be an enhanced wildlife risk in the afternoon--so you don't want to burn anything outside during the day. Besides that, though, expecting plenty of sunshine due to a very dry atmospheric column and no lift, or rising air motions. A few more clouds may move into south-central Ohio and central Kentucky by days end--but the front itself should stay well back in Illionis.

TUESDAY: Partly cloudy and warm with a slight breeze. A scattered shower and/or thunderstorm possible late in the day--mostly across western counties. High: 79.

  • The main question here--how fast does the front move in from the west? Ultimately, that will be the deciding factor in whether we see any rain and at what time. At this point, I think a slower solution would make the most sense, as the parent low-pressure isn't particularly strong and the mid to upper-level winds are mostly blowing parallel to the boundary--that's usually a 'trend slower' type scenario. Nonetheless, the NAM does show the shortwave trough and accompany low-pressure scooting across southeast Canada in this time-frame; therefore, can't rule out a few showers/possible thunderstorm/late in the day as this upper-air feature drags the front closer. Latest guidance shows our low-level winds veering more out of the southwest and weakening some--so this doesn't look like an impressive setup for any severe convection at this time. Before clouds slowly increase during the afternoon, a slight breeze should push us close to 80 degrees--so another warm day! I think by 6-8 PM, a line of showers/isolated thunderstorm or two/ should be slowly crossing the Ohio River. Before then, though, a good chunk of the day looks dry and pleasant. Any rain/storms will have an affinity for the front only--so a rather thin band of unsettled weather.

WEDNESDAY: After a few rain showers early on, clouds breaking for some sunshine in the afternoon. High: 71.

  • On Tuesday, the question was how quickly does the front get in? The question here, however, is how quickly does it get out? The latest NAM model shows the front straddling our area early on here--with a good amount of low-level moisture pooling along the boundary. However, the deepest moisture and the best forcing for ascent (lift) looks to outrun it towards the east. Based on this, a few rain showers--and possibly even a rumble of thunder--should be with us during the early-morning hours. As the morning and afternoon goes on, however, the front will move further east into the Mountains of WV and eventually out of the state altogether. Due to this, I'm expecting the low stratus clouds to break-up during the afternoon for many--so increasing sunshine and drier conditions should push us to around 70 degrees in the afternoon. This especially looks true with an area of high-pressure dropping down from Indiana in this time-frame. With abundant low-level moisture and a high building in, normally--I would be a bit concerned with a temperature inversion locking low clouds in, but that doesn't appear likely at this point; model guidance doesn't show a temperature inversion, plus the sun is stronger this time of the year. The bottomline--the 2nd half of this day should be fine!

THURSDAY: Mostly sunny and warm with a slight breeze. An isolated shower possible late--mostly across northern counties. High: 78.

  • The day should start a bit chilly in the upper 30s to lower 40s, as clearing skies and drier air will have been with us from the night prior. However, a warm-air advection regime will quickly set-up during the late-morning and afternoon, as long-range guidance shows a high-pressure moving into the Mid-Atlantic/Northeast region. This placement will allow our winds to shift more out of the southeast and south as the day goes on--so temperatures should rise fairly quick. This especially looks true since the lower to middle part of the atmosphere looks dry at this time--that means a good amount of sunshine. However, these setups can be tricky sometimes--and with a warm-front draped across the lower Ohio Valley and some upper-air disturbances dropping down in the WNW flow aloft--the moisture return may be faster than indicated here. Due to this, an isolated shower or two may be possible late in the day--especially north and west of town where the downsloping flow doesn't dry the air out as much. Not seeing anything glaring here, though, so most of the day looks good.

FRIDAY: Mostly sunny and a bit cooler with a slight breeze. High: 65.

  • Not a surprise, but long-range guidance disagrees here. As always, though--or most of the time--I decided to go with the ECMWF model given it's track record. It shows a wave of low-pressure scooting into the Northeast and dragging a fairly weak front through early in the day. This front may have enough moisture with it to produce a shower or two overnight Thursday--but it looks fairly weak at this point. Due to this set-up, our winds should shift more out of the north behind the front for a good chunk of Friday; therefore, temperatures should cool a little bit, but still not bad given a fairly zonal jet-stream. I will say this--I wouldn't be surprised, in upcoming model forecasts, if this front trends weaker or never even makes it down to West Virginia. If that happens, then this day could trend warmer.

SATURDAY: Partly cloudy and warm with a scattered rain shower possible. High: 77.

  • It looks like a low-pressure will develop and strengthen across the Midwest here. As it does--our winds will shift more out of the south-southwest, drawing some moisture up from the Gulf. While both the GFS and ECMWF show little, if any, QPF for our region--I can't totally buy that given a theta-e surge/warm-front/ just towards our west and some upper-air ripples moving in out of the west. Therefore, I inserted a chance for a scattered rain shower or two within this broad WAA/moisture regime just towards our west. Otherwise, it should be a warm day given the aforementioned wind direction and some filtered sunshine at times. If dewpoints can rise quick enough--which could create an unstable atmosphere--this is one of those set-ups where a thunderstorm could occur later in the day. Overall, though, the forcing and moisture depth doesn't look consistent enough to be too confident in rain chances here. It should be a decent day when all said and done.

Have a great day and take care!

WCHS Meteorologist, Brandon Stover

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