February and the winter of 2016-2017 are in the books and have set some records. It was the warmest February on record with an average temperature of 64.5 degrees. A normal average monthly temperature is 54.8 degrees. Winter saw 23 afternoons reach 80 degrees or warmer, ousting the previous high mark of 17 in 1957. Normally, only 4 winter afternoons reach the 80s. The WBRZ Weather Team will have much more on the record winter warmth later on wbrz.com.
Today and Tonight: The weather will begin to transition on Wednesday. After a high temperature in the low 80s thanks to continued southerly winds, a cold front will approach during the afternoon hours. With the boundary, a line of showers and thunderstorms will move through. It is possible the line is broken and some locations miss rain altogether. The better bet for precipitation will be north of I-10. Action should time out between 3pm – 7pm. Severe weather is not expected. Overnight, skies will clear as winds shift northerly and lows drop into the low 50s.
Up Next: For Thursday and Friday, ample sunshine and light northerly breezes will lead to weather very becoming of Early March. Highs will be in the upper 60s. Clouds will be slow to return and temperatures will gradually moderate over the weekend. While rain chances are not zero, showers are not likely until later Sunday or perhaps Monday.
THE SCIENCE: An upper level trough will move across the Ohio Valley today bringing a threat for severe weather north of the local area. An associated cold front will move through the Mid-South and a line of showers and thunderstorms is likely along the boundary. Instability is present but the upper wind fields are not favorable for severe storms. Due to the frontal lift through, some gusty wind and small hail can’t be ruled out as the weakening line passes. A surface high pressure will build into the Mid-Mississippi River Valley behind the front and cold air advection will be underway as winds shift northerly. Drier mid-level air will result in clearing skies. The high is only expected to move slowly from Missouri to the Carolinas by Saturday keeping a period of cool and dry weather in place. As winds turn easterly and a few weak waves move overhead, isolated showers are possible Late Saturday through Sunday but rain chances will remain very low—on the order of 10-30 percent. Forecast models show the next ill-defined feature bringing a front into the area during the first half of next week but the system looks so weak that a long term forecast regarding it would have inherently low confidence.