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Watching a strong cold front for the weekend

7 months 1 week 3 days ago Thursday, December 15 2016 Dec 15, 2016 December 15, 2016 5:48 AM December 15, 2016 in Weather
Source: WBRZ Weather

The area will be chilly through Friday Morning before a warm front lifts through the area. After an unseasonably mild Saturday, a jarring cold front will bring wintry temperatures by the end of Sunday.

THE FORECAST:

Today and Tonight: Thursday will find highs in the mid 50s beneath sunny skies. Winds will be light and northeasterly. Staying clear, nighttime lows will drop into the upper 30s.

Up Next: On Friday, a warm front will lift through the region bringing milder air and increasing clouds. Saturday will mostly cloudy and quite mild ahead of a strong cold front expected to cross the area Sunday. A line of showers and thunderstorms will move through on Sunday Morning, preceding a dramatic drop in temperatures. With such different air masses clashing, a strong storm or two can’t be ruled out along the front. Before any precipitation, the area will mark a post-midnight high near 70 degrees. Behind the front, temperatures will fall into the low 40s by late afternoon as clouds and a few showers linger. Monday Morning lows will return to the 30s. Clouds and showers remain possible into early next week. If this occurs, temperatures will stay quite cold with highs failing to leave the 40s. 

THE SCIENCE: Despite sunshine, ongoing northeast winds will keep thermometers below average Thursday and Thursday Night with some locations making it into the upper 30s—especially north of I-12. As a surface high pressure system moves east on Friday, return flow will commence allowing significant warming. A warm front will quickly lift through the region, increasing clouds and possibly producing a shower. However, due to limited moisture, rain chances remain very low for Friday. A deepening trough in the Western United States will result in deep layer southwest flow and thus a breezy and mild Saturday. Highs will be 15 degrees above average. At this time, forecast models are suggesting a stray shower or two, but given the still shallow moisture field and weak instability, nothing widespread is expected. A strong cold front will then move into the area on Saturday Night and this will present a rapid change in the weather. Along the boundary, lift should be strong enough to generate (perhaps a squall line) showers and thunderstorms. The Storm Prediction Center suggests that despite limited instability, the degree of shear along the front and subsequent lift will be sufficient enough for low-end strong to severe thunderstorm threat. The front will push through on Sunday and much colder air will be driven into the region from the north due to another Canadian based surface high. The cold front will then stall in the Northern Gulf of Mexico on Monday while the upper trough parks in the Southwest U.S. This will result in a continued flow of moisture aloft, overtop of this cooler air mass at the surface. Overrunning precipitation is expected to develop making for nasty, rainy conditions on Monday and Tuesday. Confidence is a little lower in this portion of the forecast because the ECMWF has backed off of precipitation considerably while the GFS and GEM remain quite wet. With regard to temperatures, due to an overnight frontal passage, Sunday’s high will likely occur just after midnight—somewhere in the upper 60s—with readings falling into the low 40s by Late Afternoon. If the cloudy and wet pattern indeed verifies, high temperatures on Monday and Tuesday may not leave the 40s.

--Josh

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