Friday, April 4, 2014

Monday could be a stormy and very wet day

We've been spared the typical springtime weather woes of heavy rain events and severe thunderstorms, largely because of that persistent block of cold air to our north that pushed its way into the Carolinas frequently in February and March.

But things are shaping up for a potentially wild day on Monday.

Our string of 80-degree days will come to an end when a cold front pushes across the region later Friday night. Behind the front on Saturday, we'll have a very nice day, with partly sunny skies and temperatures somewhere around 70 degrees.

But then things go downhill.

Low pressure is expected to form in the lower Mississippi Valley on Sunday and push northeast. The track of the system is important, because the center of the low is predicted to push across Louisiana and Mississippi through Tennessee and then Kentucky.

Clouds will increase in the Carolinas on Sunday, and it probably will be a chilly day, with temperatures not getting much above the lower 60s. And rain from the low pressure system is expected to arrive by Sunday evening.

Andrew Kimball of the National Weather Service's office in Greer, S.C., said computer models indicate "copious amounts" of moisture will be spread northward from the Gulf of Mexico into the Carolinas.

How much is "copious"?  Some of the computer-generated forecasts show up to 3 inches of rain falling from the system.  That would be enough to cause some flooding problems in areas where the heaviest rain falls.

But that's not all.  Remember the cold front that passes through our area tonight. It will stall somewhere to the south of us this weekend, then be dragged northward by the low pressure system pushing up through Tennessee and Kentucky. All the ingredients will be there for severe weather sometime Monday.

Areas to the south of that front will be at risk of severe thunderstorms with damaging winds and hail. And tornadoes will be possible, too.

It's nearly a sure thing that much of South Carolina will be in the warm sector south of the front. Kimball said computer models predict the front will move far enough north to put the I-77 / I-85 area in the warm sector, too. And there even is a possibility of the front pushing up to the foothills.

Rain, some of it heavy, is a very strong possibility from Sunday evening through late Monday. And severe weather will be in the mix, too.

We'll watch how this develops over the next few days.