Weather Blog: A Volatile First Week of April--Some Storms, Summer Warmth & Snow!?

On Monday afternoon and evening, severe thunderstorms can't be ruled out. Models show a strengthening low-pressure tracking out of Missouri and towards northern Indiana; that type of low-track can allow for a favorable overlapping of both wind-shear & instability across a good chunk of the Ohio Valley, Central Appalachians & the Southeast. Storms forming in an environment like that can turn severe. (WCHS/WVAH)

Good Sunday to you!

I hope you enjoyed the 1st day of April on Saturday--but we were certainly fooled by mother nature; instead of reaching the low to mid-60's--where we should be this time of the year--afternoon high's only reached the upper 40's thanks to a thick and persistent shield of stratus clouds. Those low clouds occasionally produced some pockets of drizzle, too--especially across the higher terrain east of town. These clouds should slowly break overnight, which will lead to some areas of fog forming late--some of which could turn dense. How does your Sunday afternoon look, though? Severe storms possible early in the week? What day looks to be the best to be outside? And even some snow late-week!? (not an April Fool's Day joke, either). Here is your complete and detailed, seven-day forecast...

SUNDAY: After a chilly start with some areas of fog early on, mostly sunny and warmer in the afternoon. High: 69.

  • With a high-pressure moving overhead from the night prior, we should get off to a chilly start in the upper 30s to around 40 degrees. The same conditions that allow for this cool start--clearing skies, light wind and fairly low dewpoint temperatures--also usually favor some fog development, so be on the lookout for that until about 9 AM. Otherwise, expecting a warmer afternoon--as the low-level flow, albeit light, slowly veers more out of the southeast underneath a good amount of sunshine. As the high-pressure moves off the Mid-Atlantic later in the day, some high cirrus clouds may paint the skies a bit by then--but the middle to lower part of the atmosphere will be far too dry for any precip. The strong April sun should push our temperatures into the upper 60s, so get outside and enjoy if you can!

MONDAY: Partly sunny, warm and breezy. Scattered showers and thunderstorms around, especially during the late-afternoon and evening. A few storms may turn severe. High: 77.

  • The morning will start with clear evidence that a warm-front is nearby; namely--the hilltops and ridges will start the day in the mid 50s, while the valleys and hollows begin in the mid to upper 40s. This temperature inversion will quickly mix out by the mid to late-morning, though, as the wind begins to stir across the low-spots, too. Some mid to high clouds will be on the increase in the fast southwesterly flow aloft as the morning and afternoon goes on, so expecting an increasingly 'milky' look to the sky. Despite that, however, a pronounced south-southeasterly wind--sinking off the higher terrain--will warm fast due to compressional warming effects. This downsloping flow will be driven by a deepening area of low-pressure tracking out of Missouri and into Northern Illinois/Indiana by late in the day. This downsloping wind--which is notorious at drying the low-level air out (remember: sinking air tends to warm & dry)--makes forecasting the exact arrival of rain/storms a bit difficult. While it's certainly possible that a renegade shower/thunder could greet us early in the day given a broad WAA and Moistening regime--I think the best forcing for ascent and overall energy holds off until the late-afternoon and evening; that's when some fast-moving ripples of energy in the mid to upper atmosphere zoom in from the southwest. These 'waves', along with deeper moisture and even a slightly unstable atmosphere per the latest NAM & GFS, should induce scattered showers and thunderstorms. The latter is a bit of a concern given the synoptic environment in place. With a strong low-pressure across the lower Ohio Valley, both speed and directional wind-shear will be on the rise--thus any storms within that environment may tilt over and even rotate some. Based on this, I wouldn't be shocked if a few storms develop supercell characteristics; this especially looks true south of I-64 at this point. Some limiting factors for this, however, may be the downsloping flow--which can really eat our low-level dewpoints away--and widespread showers and thunderstorms across the southeast, which can rob the influx of deeper moisture/instability from us. Given the wind-fields aloft, though, it's probably wise to keep an eye on any convective activity here. Out ahead of these showers and storms--it will be a warm day!

TUESDAY: After some rain showers early in the day, breezy and gradually turning partly sunny. High: 67.

  • Models show the deepening low-pressure and accompany upper-air trough quickly sliding north and east here--not before pushing a front through early, though. The NAM shows deep moisture and some large-scale forcing up until about 8-9 AM; this would seem to suggest a decent band of rain showers and possibly even a rumble of thunder for the morning commute. However--after that--the deeper moisture quickly exits north and east, which should greatly reduce our chances for widespread rain. Nonetheless, the low-level moisture looks pretty solid behind the front--and with our wind quickly veering more out of the west, which may promote an 'upslope-type' scenario briefly--an additional shower/drizzle may dot our radar in the afternoon. Otherwise, the low stratus clouds should slowly break some--so hopeful that a touch of sunshine can occasionally emerge. Winds should gust between 20 and 30 MPH at times thanks to a strong low-pressure across New York state, which will enhance the pressure gradient behind the front.

WEDNESDAY: Mostly sunny and very warm with a slight breeze. High: 80.

  • This day looks to be more like May or June! It's kind of a double-edged sword, though. The reason it looks to turn so warm here is that a deepening area of low-pressure--much like Monday--will track across parts of Illinois and Indiana. Depending upon the EXACT speed of this system will determine whether there's any chance for rain/storms by late-day here; as of 1 AM Sunday morning, I don't think it will get in here quick-enough, especially with a pronounced downsloping flow from the southeast, to cause any unsettled weather. Instead, we will be close enough to see our temperatures rise to 80 degrees in the afternoon! Plenty of sunshine to start and a southeasterly breeze will make this happen fairly quickly, too. While the day looks terrific--and a good time to be outside--the weather may take a turn for the worse late Wednesday evening and into the overnight, as models suggest an overlapping of moisture, strong wind-shear and perhaps even a little bit of instability as a cold-front nears from the west; these variables working together may allow for showers and thunderstorms--a few of which may turn strong to severe--lasting into Thursday morning. Again, though, the exact timing of this front will be the deciding factor.

THURSDAY: Mostly cloudy and windy with showers and thunderstorms, especially during the 1st half of the day. Temperatures falling during the afternoon and evening. High: 68.

  • This high temperature may end up being VERY deceptive. While mid to upper 60s may go down in the climate books officially here--it most likely won't be that warm during the late-afternoon and evening. This is clearly a transition day thanks to a strong front plowing through the region. Does the front come through really early or later in the day? That will be the deciding factor in how warm it can get and what part of the day. No matter what, a strong and occluding area of low-pressure should track north and east of us as the day goes on. As it looks now, the front will race through around the middle part of the day, so expecting gusty rain showers and some thunderstorms in that time-frame. This should also be the same time when temperatures 'spike' into the mid to upper 60s on a southerly wind. Thereafter, however--kerplunk! Winds will quickly veer more out of the west and will drive a chillier airmass into the region by the late-afternoon and evening. Temperatures should plunge into the 40s by then--and some wet snowflakes should begin to fly across the higher terrain. Yes, seriously. Overnight into Friday morning, deep moisture will wrap around the strong low in Northeast to produce a mix of rain and snow across the lower elevations, too! That's about 36 hours away from when it was 80 degrees!

FRIDAY: Cloudy, breezy and cold with a mix of rain and snow showers. High: 40.

  • Synoptically, this day looks impressive for snow (crazy as that sounds)--especially across the higher terrain east of town. All long-range guidance shows deep moisture, cold temperatures aloft and a favorable northwesterly, upslope flow wrapping around a strong parent low-pressure anchored near New England. This means widespread snow showers--some heavy--will impact our region. Of course, given the strong April sun--boundary layer temps should be a bit too warm--especially with a rain/snow mix, for substantial accumulations across the lower elevations, but a grassy coating may be possible at. As for the US Route 19 Corridor and east into the higher terrain, they may end up seeing several inches of wet snow IF this model solution verifies. Right now, that appears likely. When the wind blows--and it will with a noticeable pressure gradient across the Northeast--it will feel more like the 20s. That's cold stuff for April!

SATURDAY: After some snow showers early on, gradually turning partly cloudy and chilly. High: 50.

  • This looks to be a slow recovery day, as the parent low-pressure--after drilling us with a northwesterly flow--slowly moves off the New England coast. Early on, we may still be close enough for a brief upslope event of snow showers and flurries--especially east into the Mountains--but models do suggest height rises and a high-pressure slowly building in. This suggests clouds slowly breaking down in a west to east fashion. If enough of the strong April sun can emerge, we should be able to make it to about 50 degrees by the late-afternoon. What a weather pattern!

Have a great day and take care!

WCHS Meteorologist, Brandon Stover

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