Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Fog, crazy temperatures, talk of snow ...

Sorry for being away a few days.  A little virus caught me last weekend and sent me to the hospital briefly, but it's time to get caught up here.

There is a lot of weather news out there, and I'll try to address it all briefly:

"SNOW" TALK ... A storm system is expected to cross the Southeast on Thursday and Thursday night, with temperatures marginally close to the snow level in parts of the Carolinas, Tennessee and Georgia.

Most of the computer models show this as a rain event for Charlotte, and the National Weather Service and most meteorologists are buying that solution. There'll be plenty of precipitation -- around 1 to 2 inches in parts of the Piedmont and foothills -- but temperatures simply aren't cold enough for snow.

Those who are wish-casting for snow say the low pressure system could strengthen enough to cool the atmosphere in the areas of heaviest precipitation, and that's certainly not out of the realm of possibility. But the computers simply don't show the system getting strong enough to do that.

Having said all that, stay tuned to the forecast.  And snow certainly is likely in the mountains, especially above 3,000 feet.  Finally, the exact track of the system will play a role in where the heaviest precipitation falls.

THE FOG ... It's dense again this evening, and that's a sign of a stalled front nearby. Remember those 70-degree temperatures we had over the weekend?  If you live 40 to 50 miles south of Charlotte, you're still enjoying the warmth. A cold air wedge became established during the daytime hours Tuesday, stretching generally east-west across South Carolina.

At 9 p.m., it was 48 degrees in Charlotte but 61 in Camden, S.C. -- and even warmer, 70 degrees, in Columbia.

It's a safe bet that the fog will continue throughout the night in the immediate Charlotte area, but it's not so clear what happens Wednesday. The forecast is for the cold air wedge to break down, and temperatures to climb into the mid 60s in Charlotte.  But these wedge conditions almost always are much, much more stubborn than expected.  Don't be surprised if we remain in the low to mid 50s much of the day, with low clouds.

TEMPERATURE PLUNGE ... The much-ballyhooed (by the computer models, for weeks) arrival of polar air now seems to be more likely, early next week.  A pair of cold fronts are predicted to cross the Charlotte region Sunday and Monday, and high temperatures Tuesday might struggle to climb much above 40 degrees, despite plenty of sunshine.

Will it be a transient (i.e., short-lived) shot of cold air, or will the polar outbreak last a while?  That's still an open question, but it looks like the end of January and beginning of February will be quite a bit chillier than the past several days, at least.


Anonymous said...

Quit putting "snow" in the headlines of our Charlotte paper. If you must use the word...please use some sense and put the word "mountains" in the headline too.

Anonymous said...

He is talking possibilities. Move onto the Sports Section if you don't want to hear about what the weather models are saying.

Melted Snowman said...

You will see the Panthers win the Super Bowl in a few weeks before you will see any snow.