Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tough night could be ahead

Conditions appear primed for an outbreak of severe weather this evening and overnight in the Carolinas and southern Virginia.

Meteorologists locally and at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., are predicting severe thunderstorms and possible tornadoes in that area. On top of that, flooding is likely in the mountains, and some flooding already was taking place early Tuesday afternoon.

The scenario has developed pretty much the way we outlined it yesterday, with strong low pressure moving eastward across the South, a warm front pushing northward through the Charlotte area, and a cold front advancing from the west.

Charlotte moved into the warm and unstable area about 11 a.m. The temperature at Charlotte/Douglas International Airport rose from 54 degrees at 9 a.m. to 65 degrees two hours later. Dewpoint temperatures soared from the upper 30s early this morning to near 60 degrees.

The temperature actually might approach 70 degrees in Charlotte this evening.

In contrast, Hickory, which remains in the cool and more stable air, was at 45 degrees at 1 p.m. Heavy rain is falling in the cool area, however, but temperatures probably won't ever climb out of the 50s in the foothills, so that area is expected to escape the severe weather. Flooding will be more of a concern there.

A flash flood warning was issued at midday for the Hendersonville area, with flooding reported near the airport. More flood warnings are likely later today.

But the severe weather situation probably will develop in the Charlotte area sometime this evening.

By early Tuesday afternoon, a tornado watch was in effect for much of Georgia, and you can expect that watch pushed into the Carolinas in a few hours. Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms were pounding western Georgia.

Jonathan Garner, a meteorologist at the Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma, said the corridor of damaging winds this evening probably will stretch from the Piedmont to the coastal plain in the Carolinas. He also said strong tornadoes are a possibility.

Once the cold front crosses the area, sometime early Wednesday, the stormy weather will come to an abrupt end. And temperatures will take an abrupt tumble, too. Look for temperatures to fall from near 70 at midnight to the lower 50s by daybreak, and they won't climb much Wednesday.

Frozen Precipitation? Yesterday, I wrote about the GFS computer models indicating a chance of wintry storms around Dec. 8 and Dec. 13. I plan to follow that prediction every day until those dates arrive -- so we can get an idea of how the computer-generated forecasts often change dramatically.

But so far, there's nothing new to report. A strong storm system is still forecast to cross the area Dec. 8, and another storm system is predicted to move up the Carolinas coast five days later. In both cases, especially the Dec. 13 storm, temperatures could be cold enough to present some problems.

We'll keep an eye on this.

By the way ... one reader reminded me yesterday that some weather followers refer to the GFS as Good For ****. Officially, it's an acronym for Global Forecasting System and is among several models used by the National Weather Service.


Anonymous said...

.....don't get me started on what JFG might stand for.

Anonymous said...

o crap. now all the local "news" channels will hijack the airwaves to star their weatherpeople and their expensive cute colormachines from 6-9 pm

Anonymous said...

Here come the weather-hypers with their SuperPowerFirstAlertHighEnergyWe'llWarnYouFirstEarlyWarningFirstAlertSuperDuper Doppler radar to tell us that they can't believe the FAA is letting the planes land and takeoff in this stuff.

In the meantime, Chopper 9 will be hovering over the scene of Breaking News as a mysterious puddle of water forms on I-77.

jonathan said...

sever weather/tornado(s) = awesome!!

Anonymous said...

Heeeere comes weather!!!

Anonymous said...

It's the ghost of Jerry Peterson!!!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the insight. This is much better than simply looking at the 5 day forecast. I hope your prediction is correct and we get slammed with a snowstorm in December. It would be a lot of fun! Really enjoy driving my lifted 4x4 in deep snow and pulling people out of ditches.