Unsettled week ahead
Warm and wet will be the best words to sum up the next 7 days.
Today and Tonight: Rain and thunderstorms will become increasingly more likely throughout the day. The most likely time period for rain on Monday will be 10am – dusk. Rain could fall heavily at times, especially during the afternoon. The cool, wintry air felt over the weekend is long gone and the afternoon will feel muggy with highs in the low 70s. Some shower activity will continue overnight with a low in the mid 60s.
Looking Ahead: Tuesday and Wednesday look quite unsettled. While timing it down to specific hours will be a task best done day of, rounds of rain and storms are expected to impact the area. For the two day stretch, 2-4” may fall. Additionally, the Storm Prediction Center has placed our region under a “marginal risk” for severe storms Tuesday and a “slight risk” on Wednesday. This means that while a widespread severe weather event isn’t expected, a couple of storms could be strong with damaging wind gusts and an isolated tornado the primary threats. Temperatures will stay muggy and well above average. Look for highs in the mid 70s and lows in the upper 60s. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day will continue to find a few showers, and warmer temperatures. In fact, Christmas Day could be close to the warmest on record. That mark is 82° and right now we’re projecting 80°.
Forecast Discussion: High pressure has parked off of the Carolina Coast. Southeasterly return flow has become well established and moisture has returned to the lowest levels of the atmosphere resulting in a return of humidity. At the same time, a deep, southwesterly flow aloft is saturating the upper atmosphere and the strong jet stream created by a Western U.S. trough and Eastern U.S. Ridge is going to be the focal point of an unsettled pattern over the next few days. This jet stream will feature several disturbances which will cut across the Gulf Coast creating rounds of rain and thunderstorms. With ample saturation in the profile, rain is expected to fall heavily at times—leaving behind 3-5” by Christmas Eve. We continue to watch the possibility for a couple of stronger thunderstorms which certainly seems plausible given the strong jet support up top. As has been the case with previous events, the limiting factor will be instability but it wouldn’t take but a few degrees of warming by a brief break of sun to create the destabilization needed to spark off a stronger storm. The flow will relax somewhat by the end of the week by a persisting pattern will continue to leave showers in the mention for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, though some sunshine may well peek out as well. As far as temperatures go, don’t expect to see a cold front kick through the area and end unseasonable warmth until that Eastern Ridge is broken down—which isn’t forecast by the model guidance until at least the weekend. It looks as through Christmas will be muggy and warm.
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