Weather Blog: Chilly as we head towards Spring, but does the warmth return!?

Your 7-day forecast, made on the afternoon of Saturday, March 18th. Warmer temperatures, like we saw in February, look to return late this week and into the first half of the weekend! (WCHS/WVAH)

Good Evening!

We saw another wacky weather day on Saturday. The warmest part of the day--upper 50's for most-- occurred early this afternoon, as a cold-front plowed in from the west. Out ahead and along that front, rain showers and even a few thunderstorms--many of which produced small hail--raced across our region in a west to east-fashion. Thankfully, they were brief--and by 4 or 5 PM, temperatures were already falling into the 40s on a gusty west-northwesterly wind behind the front. Does this mean a chilly day for Sunday? How does the first day of Spring look on Monday? What day looks to be the best to be outside? Here is your complete and detailed, seven-day forecast below.

TONIGHT: Cloudy and chilly with scattered rain and snow showers--especially early on. More persistent snow across the eastern mountains. Low: 36.

  • The more widespread rain showers that we saw earlier this evening are beginning to fade some tonight, as an upper-air disturbance responsible for that activity moves east. However, the lingering low-level moisture and the windflow--northwesterly--continues to 'squeeze' moisture out as it runs into our higher terrain. This 'upslope effect' will keep scattered showers and some areas of drizzle around through the overnight--but thankfully, temperatures will be slow to drop given the widespread stratus clouds in place, which act like a blanket, and a marginal cold-air advection regime behind the front. In fact, I think most of the lowlands will only fall into the mid 30s tonight--not cold enough for ice formation. However, that may be different for the eastern mountains--especially along US Route 19 and east. In that corridor, stronger rising air motions--due to the steeper change in terrain--may cool the air down to around the freezing mark. This 'topographic lift' will also manufacture some persistent flurries and snow showers, too--which may put down a half inch to 1 inch for places like Beckley, Summersville, Richwood and east. That's not a lot, but given temps flirting with the freezing mark--you may want to watch the bridges and overpasses as the night goes on.

SUNDAY: After a scattered rain and/or snow shower early on--mostly east into the mountains--mostly cloudy and cool with a few peeks of sun late in the day. High: 47.

  • Northwesterly winds will continue here, as an area of high-pressure will be towards our west and an area of low-pressure will be off the Mid-Atlantic coast. While the moisture won't be very deep, the residual moisture in the lower part of the atmosphere does look to be fairly substantial; therefore, the low stratus clouds will be slow to mix out for a good chunk of the day. This means gray skies will generally be the rule, and those clouds may be thick enough to produce a rain and/or snow shower early--mostly east of Charleston across the higher terrain where the frictional effects of an upslope wind may make the air more prone to rise at times. Due to these clouds, it will feel chilly and temps will be slow to rise. By the mid to late-afternoon, as a high-pressure draws closer from the west, these stratus clouds should slowly begin to thin--as the low-level flow begins to weaken and backs a little more out of the west. Based on this, I wouldn't be surprised if some peeks of sun emerge in that time-frame. If the sun can come out sooner, temps should reach about 50 degrees. However, if it's slower than previously forecasted--mid 40s are likely. Not a great day, but I guess not awful, either.

MONDAY: After a chilly start, partly sunny and turning warmer with a slight breeze. Scattered rain showers--and possibly even a thunderstorm--nearing from the west by the late-afternoon and evening. High: 61.

  • Expecting a chilly start for the First Official day of Spring, as the night prior will provide mostly clear skies, light wind and fairly dry air. Low to mid 30's are likely as we head to the bus stop and work. By 6:28 AM, no matter what the thermometer says--it will officially turn Spring; that's when the sun's strongest rays (more direct, or 90 degrees overhead) finally reach the equator as it continues it's march northward (Vernal Equinox). While the morning will start chilly, we look to make a nice recovery in the afternoon--as the wind, albeit light--begins to shift more out of the southwest in advance of a surface warm-front back in the lower Ohio Valley. This light wind, along with at least filtered sunshine, should push our temperatures into the low 60s by the middle part of the afternoon--that sounds more like spring! While a good chunk of the day looks quiet at this point, models do show a rapid surge of moisture--arriving on the nose of a low-level jet--drawing closer by around 4 to 5 PM. This psuedo warm-front, or theta-e surge, looks to have some pieces of energy in the upper-atmosphere to utilize for some areas of lift, too; therefore, scattered rain showers--and possibly even a thunderstorm due to some elevated instability--can't be ruled out around dinnertime. This especially looks true across parts of southern Ohio, eastern Kentucky and western West Virginia--where the low-level moisture looks to move in fastest. Not concerned with severe weather because dewpoints, and resultant surface-based instability, look low. After dinner and into the overnight--a batch of showers and scattered thunder appears likely, as better waves of energy look to move overhead as a front nears.

TUESDAY: Partly sunny at times with scattered rain showers--mostly early on across southern counties. High: 58.

  • A bit of model uncertainty here in regards to the placement of a front--and the features around it. Per the latest NAM model, it looks like the surface front will sink towards our south here across parts of SE Kentucky and SW Virginia. Based on this, along with a general absence of upper-air disturbances during the late-morning and afternoon, this day has been trending quieter with each model run. Indeed, the latest NAM model does show the best low-level moisture migrating further south along/near the front. As a result, I think most of the rain showers--after an early morning visit--will be south of town for a good chunk of the day. Although we'll be north of the front, the colder air behind it doesn't look particularly impressive--plus some filtered peeks of the strong March sun should allow our temperatures to recover nicely. As of now, this day doesn't look too bad. However, by the late-afternoon and evening--guidance suggests several ripples of upper-air energy and deeper moisture arriving from the west north of the boundary; this would seem to suggest increasing rain showers and possibly even some wet snow late Tuesday Evening and into the overnight. Fairly unusual to see moisture and energy increase behind the front--but this looks to be an anafront, where lift can occur on either side.

WEDNESDAY: After a mix of rain and snow early in the morning, turning partly cloudy and chilly with a slight breeze in the afternoon. High: 44.

  • A surface low-pressure may briefly develop along the surface front across the Carolinas here--before it quickly moves out to sea. In this scenario, we may be grazed with a rain/wet snow mix early in the morning--before a high-pressure nudges closer during the afternoon. Regardless, it looks to be a chillier day--as we should be on the southeastern flank of a high-pressure across the Great Lakes; that's a location where you usually see a due north wind. Despite a mix of sun and clouds for a good chunk of the day, this northerly breeze should suppress our temperatures into the mid 40s--below average for late-March indeed. However, the moisture depth in the atmosphere simply doesn't look deep-enough to produce any weather-makers--so quiet during the afternoon and evening at least. Overnight temps, with a high-pressure building overhead, should tumble into the mid 20s by dawn Thursday--pretty cold!

THURSDAY: After a cold start, partly cloudy and warmer in the afternoon. High: 60.

  • The same high-pressure that will be the reason behind a cold start to the day here with it's clear skies, light winds and dry air--will also be the same reason why we can make a nice recovery in the afternoon. As this area of high-pressure moves off the Mid-Atlantic coast, and an area of low-pressure develops over western Kansas, our winds will shift more out of the southeast. These won't be strong winds, but enough to make the thermometer rise--especially with a decent amount of sunshine, too. The lower part of the atmosphere, given this downsloping flow, should remain dry; however--models do suggest some mid to high-clouds increasing from the west at times, which would most likely cause for partly cloudy to partly sunny skies. That's not full-fledged sunshine, but given the wind in place--temps should reach about 60 degrees across the lowlands during the afternoon.

FRIDAY: Partly cloudy and warm with a slight breeze! High: 75.

  • This day looks like an A+, even about 6 days out! Models show a high-pressure off the East Coast and a strengthening low-pressure across parts of the Midwest--that screams warm temperatures from a synoptic view. The only POSSIBLE fly in the ointment would be a warm-front/surge of moisture crossing early in the day--which, in theory, could set some showers/thunder off. However, the latest ECMWF and GFS models show this is as being a LOW probability. This especially looks true with a downsloping wind out of the south in place, which, along with only a few high clouds in the afternoon, should cause our temperatures to soar into the 70s! Golf, Fish, Hike--you name it, this looks to be the day to be outdoors at this point!

SATURDAY: Partly cloudy, warm and breezy. Scattered rain showers--and possibly a thunderstorm--later in the day. High: 77.

  • This day looks just as warm, if not warmer, than Friday given the synoptic setup. However, there are some timing questions in regards to a front/low-pressure nearing from the west--which makes determining our rain chances a little tough this far out. The GFS model appears to be an outlier--it shows a quicker-moving front coming through early in the day; that would produce rain showers with falling temperatures thereafter. Meanwhile, the ECMWF and the GEM model show a much slower--more of a cutoff low--feature sort of just hanging back in the lower Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys. This scenario would place us on the eastern flank of that system--meaning a breezy south wind. This downsloping wind--if there's enough sunshine available--could push us closer to 80 degrees when all said and done. By late in the day, increasing moisture and even some instability could allow for scattered rain showers and possibly even a thunderstorm. This far out, though, the exact timing remains in question. Synoptically, though, this day looks warm and mostly dry to my eyes!

Have a great night and take care!

WCHS Meteorologist, Brandon Stover

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