Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Brutal cold could set stage for weekend headaches

The late Woody Hayes, longtime Ohio State University football coach, used to say that three things can happen when you throw the football, and two of them are bad.

That's sort of what it's like when an arctic air mass moves into the Carolinas. As long as the cold is here, or even nearby, we're at risk of trouble.

The cold air -- our coldest of the season -- will arrive Wednesday afternoon. The wind will pick up, and temperatures will fall late Wednesday afternoon and evening from about 40 degrees into the teens. By Thursday morning, many spots in the Charlotte region will be sitting at 10 degrees.

It won't get above 30 degrees in most areas Thursday afternoon, and it'll drop into the teens again Friday morning.

A second arctic air mass will arrive late Friday or Saturday, and although the temperatures with the second system won't be quite as cold, they'll be cold enough to leave us at risk of trouble Sunday.

That's when a low pressure system off the Mexican coast could push eastward and begin affecting the Southeast.

One heavily used weather computer model, the Global, is predicting that the storm system, while weak, will spread precipitation into the Carolinas on Sunday morning. At that point, temperatures will be cold enough for freezing rain.  I realize that some people enjoy wintry precipitation, but I don't think very many people want freezing rain.  Power outages with temperatures in the 30s are not fun.

The other major weather computer model, the European, is predicting that the energy will remain over Baja California a bit longer and not reach the Carolinas until Sunday evening. By that time, the cold dome of high pressure over New England is expected to have moved offshore, and temperatures will climb enough so any precipitation falls as rain.

This is what we'll be watching over the next few days.

By the way, some of the longer-range computer guidance indicates the cold air will be reinforced early next week, and a fairly strong storm system will form off the Southeast coast.  But that's more than a week away, and forecasts that far out are not terribly trustworthy.


James Edgar said...

I believe Vince Lombardi was the first coach to say that about passing. It's the philosophy John Fox swears by (which makes it so wrong that he gets to coach Peyton Manning).

I don't like freezing rain. It adds nothing. Snow you can play in, even as a grownup.

Anonymous said...

Temperatures in the thirties and teens aren't anything we haven't seen before. There isn't anything "brutal" about it. It's simply winter weather. No big deal.

Oh, and this "Please prove you're not a robot" thing is really tiresome.

Frazer said...

Actually (funny that an article about weather devolves into a discussion of sports quotes), the quote is attributed to both Woody Hayes and Texas Longhorns coach Darrell Royal. Royal has the first recorded use of it, but Royal himself attributed it to Hayes. Here's an interesting dissection: http://quoteinvestigator.com/2011/10/04/pass-3-things/.

Anonymous said...

There isn't one credible source predicting problems Sunday.

This is just another example of Lyttle weather hype.

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