Monday, October 13, 2014

48 hours of weather changes ... some of them not good

It's cloudy, damp and drizzly out there, but some major changes in the weather are on the way for the Charlotte region over the next 48 hours.

We're in one of those situations where a cold air wedge will be eroded, putting us into a sector of warm air -- just in time for a strong cold front to arrive.  The timing on all of this is iffy, but the bottom line is the Carolinas could be looking down the barrel of some severe weather late Tuesday and early Wednesday.

You'll be hearing about all this on the news today and tonight, as the severe weather started Monday morning in the lower Mississippi Valley. The Storm Prediction Center has placed parts of Arkansas, Louisiana, Tennessee, Missouri and Kentucky in a "moderate" risk of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes today.

By 10 a.m., I'd already seen one report of a fatality from a possible tornado in Arkansas.

Let's go over the timeline of what is coming between now and Wednesday morning ...

TODAY ... We're locked in a cold air wedge, with temperatures in Charlotte in the lower 60s and drizzle falling.  We're familiar with these conditions, as they've been common-place with our overall weather pattern during the summer and autumn.

High pressure in the Atlantic is pumping cool, moist air into the Carolinas. The cool air, which is heavier than warm air, sinks toward the surface and becomes blocked by the North Carolina mountains. We get low clouds and light rain in the Piedmont and Foothills.

Often, these wedges erode from the south and southeast, as wind circulation in the atmosphere swings out of the south. At 10 a.m. Monday, the wedge was being pushed inland. Charleston was near 80 degrees, as were areas of the Outer Banks.

(Update at 1:45 p.m. ... The wedge is eroding steadily. It's now 80 degrees in parts of Richmond County and near Camden, about 60 miles southeast of Charlotte)

During the day, according to National Weather Service forecasters and the computer models, the warmer air will push north and west.  By early afternoon, we could see Columbia in the low 80s while Charlotte remains in the low to mid 60s.  We've seen that scenario frequently.

It doesn't look as if places like Statesville and Hickory ever will escape the cold air wedge today, but Charlotte -- and especially Rock Hill, Lancaster and Monroe -- should break into the warmer air by mid to late afternoon.

Rainfall should be light during the day.

TUESDAY DAYTIME ... It looks as if the day will begin with partly cloudy skies and mild weather. Overnight temperatures probably won't drop at all, so we'll start the day in the low to mid 60s. Charlotte could hit 80 degrees Tuesday, but by afternoon, clouds will increase as a strong cold front approaches from the west.

Showers and thunderstorm chances will ramp up quickly during the afternoon.

TUESDAY EVENING TO WEDNESDAY MORNING ... This is where the severe weather chances will top out. The Storm Prediction Center says the Charlotte region has a chance of seeing damaging wind gusts and a few tornadoes. Right now, it looks as if the highest threat will be after dark, which is never good.

Our severe weather chances are not as high as in the lower Mississippi Valley today, but you'll almost certainly be hearing a lot of talk tomorrow about the possibility of bad weather.

Flash flooding potential looks to be moderate in the mountains and foothills Tuesday and Tuesday night, but the Charlotte area might escape that problem, assuming the storms are moving quickly enough.


Anonymous said...

So you've basically given us the weather report. When is it gonna get consistently chilly around here!?! I freakin' hate moderate climates.

Anonymous said...

Then move. This is NC weather. Which is much better than the dreadful 9 months of winter they have in the northeast. No wonder everyone up there is always grumpy.

Anonymous said...

Ok- so we are setting up again for the entire CHICKEN LITTLE THE SKY IS FALLING HERE COMES A STORM thing again-- seems all the weather people in town love to do this but the last 2-3 times they have cried wolf-- while forecasting is far from an exact science it seems a bit less cheap sensationalism and a bit more common sense and measured approach would be in order.

Anonymous said...

More Waffling-Weather. I remember when we used to have real seasonal weather changes around here instead of this five-days-of-spring-four-days-of-fall-three-days-of-winter thing we have now. I loved the coolness of Sunday as opposed to the mugginess of Friday and Saturday. The weather around here is a prime example of the box-of-chocolates metaphor. Can't really blame weather guys, either. They don't know any more than the rest of us.

Unknown said...

here , here I agree ...chilly weather where are you? I mean REALLY chilly

Anonymous said...

This weather just stinks. In Haagen-Daas, Finland, where I lived for 43 years, it would be snowing by now. Wish I was back in Haagen.

Unknown said...

Being a grumpy, heat-sensitive old man, I also want fall weather. I know it will be here eventually, so I'll try to be patient.

What I'm not going to do is watch local news. The weather geeks are sure to be calling for Armageddon and ordering everyone to get into the nearest ditch and not move until they tell us to. Not only are they masters of hyperbole, they're self-righteous on top of it.

Anonymous said...

Once again we have people on here doing their typical b$%ching about a weather story being posted. Steve has said it numerous times that he's not a meteorologist. He simply has a fascination for weather and his articles are meant to be informative, which help give a better breakdown on what to expect. Being so close to the mountains and the coast is what makes our changing weather patterns fascinating.

So for the rest of you who have nothing better to say, please leave! There are several highways leading out of the area where you can go live in misery year-round.

Anonymous said...

These awful storm always have to arrive in the middle of the night to terrorize us while we sleep. If this storm is what they say it is, I dread the thought of having the power knocked out and roof taken off in the pitch black of 2:00 am.

For crying out loud, summer is over. Enough of this b--s-- weather.

Anonymous said...

It's never chilly here most of October, only one month removed from summer. Not until early November do you get weeks where chilly days outnumber the warm ones in a given week.

After that awful winter we just had, with above normal snow, icy roads, and destructive ice storms, I hope it stays warm as long as possible.