Thunderstorms developing today, continuing through Friday
Unsettled weather over the next three days will bring the possibility of severe weather and 2-4” of rain. Locations north of I-12 are at greatest risk for strong storms and heavy rain. Keep in mind though, weather doesn’t obey risk categories; numbers or colors on map, so please stay weather aware wherever you are.
Today & Tonight: Today, expect highs in the upper 70s, with mostly cloudy skies, scattered showers and thunderstorms. There will be breaks in the precipitation. In fact, some locations could feasibly go without rain today; we’re forecasting 60% coverage. While a widespread severe weather event is not anticipated, a few storms could be strong, producing gusty wind or a brief tornado. As always, review your safety plan and stay in touch with the forecast in case any warnings are issued. Numerous showers and thunderstorms continue overnight. Lows will be in the upper 60s.
Looking Ahead: As a cold front nears the area on Thursday, rain and thunderstorms will continue. By this point, the main concern will shift to heavy rain, gusty wind and frequent lightning. Actually, the setup for severe weather on Thursday now looks more favorable than Wednesday. It is possible to see a few peeks of sunshine during breaks in precipitation. Highs will again make it into the upper 70s. Showers and thunderstorms may linger into the first half of Friday before ending. 2-4” of rain is expected through the event, with much of it occurring on Thursday. A cooler and drier weekend will follow.
Discussion: At the surface, southerly wind are returning moisture and pushing a warm front northward. A deep trough is positioned in the Southwest United States allowing for deep southwesterly flow to saturate the atmosphere. Disturbances will cycle around the trough basin and cross the Gulf Coast act as a trigger along the slow-moving front. Showers and thunderstorms will become more numerous into the afternoon hours. With regard to severe weather, the threat is certainly there. Instability will be highest Wednesday and Thursday Afternoon while the best low-level directional and speed shear shows up Wednesday Evening and Overnight. Additionally, the most favorable shear will be displaced just north of the local area. As the best instability and shear don’t line up, the tornado threat should remain fairly low. With all of that being said, there is some opportunity for a few storms to act up—especially north of I-12. Gusty wind and downpours will be the main concerns. By Late Thursday though, a cold front will approach as the lower and upper level winds turn southwesterly becoming unidirectional. With a well saturated atmosphere, storms producing heavy rain will become the main concern. The Weather Prediction Center is projecting an event total of 1.5 – 4” across the region with the lowest amounts to the southwest and higher amounts to the northeast. The forecast models are at odds over how the Friday to Sunday time period will unfold. The slower ECMWF holds rain through much of Friday with the cold front hung up on the coast. The GFS is more progressive and dries Friday considerably but also shows a more vigorous disturbance crossing the area Sunday bringing clouds and showers to what would otherwise be an unfettered weekend forecast. As of now, we’re leaning toward showers wrapping up by Friday Afternoon and just some high clouds passing by Late Sunday.
Check out the video below for Meteorologist Josh Eachus thoughts on the next three days of active weather and why the severe threat may be limited.