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Mild ahead of a mid-week cold front

2 weeks 1 day 18 hours ago Monday, February 03 2020 Feb 3, 2020 February 03, 2020 6:27 AM February 03, 2020 in Weather
Source: WBRZ Weather

A strong area of high pressure responsible for a dry and mild Sunday and Monday will exit the area to the southeast by Tuesday. An incoming frontal system will bring scattered showers and storms—especially Wednesday.

THE FORECAST:

Today and Tonight: Another beautiful and warm day is in store to begin the workweek. After plenty of sunshine early, clouds will steadily increase through the day. High temperatures will top out in the low 70s. Clouds will continue to thicken overnight. Couple that with a south breeze, and low temperatures will stay in the low 60s.  

Up Next: A cold front will settle into the Midwest on Tuesday. With a saturated atmosphere ahead of this, the local area can expect thick clouds and scattered showers. The day will not be a washout. Since the southerly winds will continue before the front arrives, high temperatures will return to the mid 70s. As the cold front arrives on Wednesday, timing will be important to how the weather unfolds. Should the front make it early on Wednesday, the lack of daytime warming will minimize the threat for stronger thunderstorms and this is the current expectation. However, if the front slows, the area will have a chance to warm and there could be some severe weather in the mix. The cold front is a slow mover overall and will linger with clouds and showers early on Thursday. Do expect thermometers to tumble behind the boundary though, with afternoon readings in the 50s followed by nighttime temps in the upper 30s. Quiet weather is expected Friday through the weekend.

THE EXPLANATION:

A broad upper level ridge and surface high pressure system was centered over the Eastern U.S. on Monday morning. The warmth experienced on Sunday afternoon will continue as a result. The ridge will also suppress widespread cloud cover until the afternoon hours. At that time, a deep trough over the Western U.S. will advance east, shoving the ridge away. This will place the local area beneath a deep, southwest flow leading to moisture increase and a blanket of clouds developing over the region. Clouds and south winds will lead to an above average night above temperatures. The trough will spawn a cold front in the Midwest that will enhance the south the southwest flow in the Mid-Mississippi River Valley on Tuesday. Above average temperatures will continue and a shower or two could occur. As the trough and cold front move into the local area on Wednesday, lift and upper level winds will increase allowing more widespread showers and thunderstorms to develop.

The timing of the cold front associated with the trough is important though. An earlier arrival on Wednesday will mean that the primary lifting mechanism for thunderstorms will have low instability to tap and therefore the severe weather threat will be low to non-existent. If the cold front holds off and comes during the afternoon, the threat for severe weather will be higher. The former scenario appears more likely at this time. The slow nature of the cold front will cause clouds and showers to linger into Thursday with dramatically cooler temperatures. Quiet weather will then prevail Friday through the weekend.   

--Josh

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