Weather Blog: March looks to end on a warm note, but they'll be some storms to dodge, too

The latest RPM model, via our futurecast, shows scattered showers and thunderstorms developing Sunday afternoon and evening. While the severe weather threat should remain pretty scattered, a few of the stronger cells may produce hail, strong winds, brief heavy rain and lightning for some communities. (WCHS/WVAH)

Good Sunday!

I hope you had a great Saturday! It wasn't too bad, either--especially in regards to the thermometer! Despite mostly cloudy skies, a favorable jet-stream pattern and a light southerly wind was enough to catapult our temperatures into the mid to upper 70s on the 25th day of March. Even though the clouds looked like rain at times, nothing fell from the heavens above--so a quiet day, too! That should be the case tonight also--but a stormy weather pattern looks to greet us on Sunday afternoon and evening. What will those storms be capable of? Does the 7-day forecast look stormy at times? Will this warmth finish out the month of March and go into the first of April? Here is your complete and detailed, seven-day forecast...

TONIGHT: Mostly to partly cloudy and mild. A sprinkle and/or light shower across western counties late towards dawn. Low: 54.

  • Looks quiet! Outside of some passing clouds, the main moisture plume--with embedded shortwaves to induce upward motion--is well towards our west across parts of central and western Kentucky. That axis will gradually shift east as the night goes on, though, but not quick enough to impact I-64. The only exception to this would be our far western counties (South-Central Ohio and Eastern Kentucky) around dawn, where a low-level jet axis and some upper-air disturbances nearing from the west should be sufficient enough for some light to moderate showers to occur. Temperature-wise, given some warmer temperatures aloft, hilltops and ridges won't fall much below 60 tonight. However, given relatively dry air in the boundary layer, very little wind near the surface and some breaks in the clouds overnight--outlying valleys and hollows will tumble into the upper 40s to around 50 degrees. That's chilly if you sit out in it for awhile, but still mild for this time of the year! In the coolest spots, a touch of river valley fog may occur--but nothing widespread and/or significant given the lack of completely clear skies.

SUNDAY: After a mostly dry start, turning mostly cloudy and warm with scattered showers and thunderstorms increasing--especially during the afternoon and early-evening. One or two storms may turn strong to severe. High: 72.

  • Many of us should start dry and mild here, as the best moisture and lift, associated with a negatively-tilted upper-air trough, hangs back just towards our west. However, a low-level jet axis--although not particularly strong--should be enough to keep some light to moderate rain showers going across parts of south-central Ohio and southeast Kentucky. Wouldn't be surprised if a few peeks of sun greet us in the Kanawha Valley, though, as a downsloping flow from the south-southeast should keep the lower part of the atmosphere fairly dry initially. Things quickly begin to change around 11 AM/Noon--as the low-level jet axis and some ripples of energy in the middle part of the atmosphere moves overhead; this should allow for a band of rain showers, but not before temperatures surge into the upper 60s to around 70 degrees thanks to a sinking airflow off of the higher terrain. Meanwhile, as an area of low-pressure tracks across Illinois and towards Lake Michigan, deeper moisture and better energy aloft will lead to increasing rain chances during the afternoon. Thunderstorms are likely at times as well, as models show dewpoints rising into the 50s underneath a cooler pocket of air aloft associated with the upper-air trough--that's a good setup to cause an unstable atmosphere, or air willing to rise on it's own. These thunderstorms will have a bit of wind-energy aloft to tap into, too, as the upper-trough lifts across parts of Indiana and Ohio during the afternoon; this means a few storms may turn strong to severe. This would especially be true after 3 PM, as this is usually the time in which diurnal instability is maximized. These storms capable of hail, strong winds, brief heavy rain and lightning won't be too widespread--like a giant red blob on doppler radar--but scattered about, so it depends on where exactly a few of these storms can fire up. Normally, when you see a SSE downsloping flow set-up, storms have a greater tendency to form closer to the Ohio River counties before tracking off towards the north and east.

MONDAY: After a few showers early on--mostly north and east of town--turning partly sunny and warm in the afternoon. Additional scattered showers, and possibly a stray thunderstorm, late in the day south and west of town. High: 75.

  • Kind of a complex weather day here, but a good chunk of it should remain dry. Early on, models show the upper-air trough--with it's widespread areas of lift--moving away towards our northeast. This usually means widespread sinking air, which is not conducive for any rain; indeed, that appears to be the case, as the latest NAM simulated radar hardly shows anything. However, with the frontal boundary nearby--and some low-level moisture, too--a few light showers may dot our radar to start the day, especially further north and east of town. Otherwise, expecting a warm day--as filtered sunshine and a southwesterly wind develops out ahead of a new low-pressure back in Illinois. That system will push a surge of warmth/low-level moisture (Warm-Front) during the afternoon--and those features are notorious at moving in quicker. Based on this, and some ripples of energy in the middle part of the atmosphere, can't rule out an isolated shower/thunderstorms forming with this surge during the mid to late-afternoon. Based on the placement of models now, this would most likely occur across parts of western WV & eastern KY. If a storm can fire up, it will have some wind-shear and instability to utilize for strengthening. Again, though, this looks pretty scattered at best at this point. By Monday evening and overnight, widespread rains and thunder are a better bet--as a mid/upper shortwave trough draws closer.

TUESDAY: Partly sunny and warm with scattered showers and thunderstorms, especially during the 1st half of the day. High: 71.

  • Models show a shortwave trough and accompany area of low-pressure scooting through here, which should allow for a fairly unsettled day. Given the lift, deeper moisture and even a bit of instability per the latest NAM model, showers and thunderstorms should be roaming around from the morning and into the afternoon. It won't rain all of the time--and there could be some peeks of sun in-between any rain--but keep the umbrella nearby. By the mid to late-afternoon--I wouldn't be surprised if the majority of the showers/thunderstorms slowly shift east, as our region should be on the backside of the upper-air trough; normally, that's an area that sees sinking air and resultant drying. It all depends on the speed of this system and front, though.

WEDNESDAY: Partly sunny and mild with a slight breeze. High: 68.

  • The surface boundary will be driven south and east of us here, as a large area of high-pressure--over the Great Lakes--induces more of a northerly wind for our region. However, a temperature inversion can sometimes occur along the southeastern periphery of these systems--where we will be; if this occurs, then low stratus clouds and possibly even some areas of drizzle may be around early. Regardless, expecting some low clouds to mix with some sun at times. Not foreseeing any weather makers, though, as the moisture looks shallow and the atmosphere stable. Temperatures are somewhat of a question mark. The GFS model is only suggesting high's in the 50s, while the others are confident with temps reaching around 70F. Decided to trend closer to the warmer guidance for now, but this could change depending upon the magnitude of the clouds.

THURSDAY: Partly cloudy and mild. An isolated shower possible late--especially across western counties. High: 70.

  • It may start chilly in the upper 30s here, as models show a high-pressure nearly overhead from the night prior--which would allow for mostly clear skies, light winds and drier air behind the front. However, temperatures should recover nicely in the afternoon, as our winds shift more out of the southeast gradually. This will be in response to a strengthening area of low-pressure back in the Mid-Mississippi River Valley--which will push a warm-front closer to us late in the day. This increasing moisture, lift and possibly even a bit of instability--may kick off a shower or thunderstorm by days end; again, this all depends on the exact placement of the parent low and how fast it moves east.

FRIDAY: Partly sunny and breezy with scattered showers and thunderstorms. High: 69.

  • Depending upon the exact placement of the low-pressure system, this day may end up being a washout or fairly dry. As of now, it looks as if the wave of low-pressure will track across Ohio--that's plenty close enough for good lift and moisture for showers and thunderstorms. It's a ways out, but any storms look like they would have some wind-shear to tap into--so perhaps an isolated strong to severe cell. Otherwise, in between any rain--a few peeks of sun and a southerly wind should push us into the upper 60s for this last day of March. Not bad!

SATURDAY, APRIL 1ST: After some rain showers early on, turning partly sunny, breezy and cooler in the afternoon. High: 61.

  • Happy April Fool's Day! Unfortunately---no joke here, but it looks to turn cooler and breezy behind a cold-front in the afternoon. Moreover, a northwesterly upslope flow, with plenty of low-level moisture with it according to the latest ECMWF model, suggests rain showers early in the day. The second half of the day, this moisture should thin out enough to see drier conditions--but it will be cooler and breezy with a decently strong low-pressure off the Mid-Atlantic coast.

Have a great night and take care!

WCHS Meteorologist, Brandon Stover

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