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March 2011

Severe storms firing in WV, VA

Hail and damaging winds have been reported with several severe storms that are moving through West Virginia and are forming and moving into Virginia. Some of these storms have shown signs of rotation, so in addition to large hail and damaging winds is the concern for isolated tornadoes. There is currently no weather watch out for the over half-a-dozen severe-warned cells, but there was a Mesoscale Discussion out earlier (whole lot of good that does for the general public).

Beware of these storms, as they could be a bit more powerful than expected.

Mid-Atlantic – The Week Ahead (Mar 21-27)

Sorry about the delay, but here we go.

After the initial batch of rain today, skies should slowly clear out as a westerly wind tries to bring the region into the upper 60s to lower 70s. A cold front coming down from the north could trigger some stronger thunderstorms this afternoon and evening, a few of which may become severe. While not chase-worthy, they could be something to snap a picture of if they come in locally.

Tuesday and Wednesday will keep some of the warmth around as the next system approaches from the west. Rain is expected late Tuesday into early Wednesday, with some clearing before another round of rain and thunderstorms moves through Wednesday afternoon and evening. There is a better chance at getting severe storms on Wednesday, and it will be monitored for chase potential.

Cooler air will come in behind this system, with light rain showers on Thursday giving way to mostly sunny skies on Friday. The fairer weather will be short-lived as another system forms off to the west, which will push rain into the region Saturday into Sunday. Right now this weekend’s system appears to be just boring rain, but a couple of small changes is all it would take to get thunderstorms on Sunday.

Life Happened

I’ll try to get a Mid-Atlantic discussion up this morning… been busy with work/home this weekend. Looks like plenty of precipitation for most of the region this week.

Record highs contested yesterday, with some record-breakers

Here’s a run-down of select Mid-Atlantic highs and records for yesterday in Temp (Record, Year) form (all degrees Fahrenheit):

DCA: 80 (81, 1989)
IAD: 79 (80, 1989)
BWI: 81 (80, 1989)

MRB: 79 (83, 1927)
RIC: 84 (83, 1927)
ORF: 83 (82, 1908)

Baltimore, Richmond and Norfolk all came in one degree above their previous record. Reagan and Dulles failed to reach their records by one degree, and Martinsburg came up four degrees short of their record.

Ridge of Death = boring weather

It looks like the chance for widespread severe weather in the Plains that I mentioned in the What To Watch Fore(cast) won’t pan out. This is due to the more highly-amplified upper-level ridge over the South, which is severing the connection between the low-level moist Gulf flow and the upper-level energy. The result is potential that just won’t come to fruition… the instability is there, but it’s just too dry in the lower levels to get widespread severe storms.

This doesn’t mean that severe storms won’t happen, just that it’s not the exciting event that I thought it had the potential to be. Keep an eye out for possible dryline initiation.

In other news, it looks like the Mid-Atlantic could see a shot of snow mid-week next week, but that’s another story for another day.

What to Watch Fore(cast) – Mar 14-21

Highlights:

Early storms, then warm and tranquil in the East – After a storm system makes its way through the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic today and tomorrow, an upper-level ridge will build over the Southeast that will provide warm and dry conditions for the second half of the week.

Very warm, with record heat? – The second half of the work week will showcase much above normal temperatures in the eastern two-thirds of the country, which will provide multiple days of very warm and possibly record-breaking temperatures.

Stormy, snowy Pacific Northwest – Storm after storm will roll over the Pacific Northwest this week, bringing plenty of rain and mountain snow.

Plains severe risk Sunday/Monday – Potent upper-level energy moving in from the Southwest could trigger widespread severe storms Sunday and Monday (exact timing up for debate) in the Plains and eastern U.S.

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Discussion:

A low pressure system will move from the Southeast to New England over the next couple of days, which won’t cause much of a stir for most as weaker thunderstorms along the cold front and some snow on the northern end does nothing spectacular. Behind this system will be a rapidly building upper-level ridge, which will keep the eastern two-thirds of the region quite warm for most of the week. The Southeast and Mid-Atlantic will be fairly dry while the ridge is overhead and storm systems pass to the north. This ridge could bring record-setting warmth to the central and eastern U.S. as it builds and progresses eastward.

Upstream of the ridge will be an active trough in the West, which will bring a lot of rain and snow into the Pacific Northwest. Some areas could get precipitation every day between now and next Monday (and beyond!). One of these systems is expected to dig into the Southwest and kick out into the Plains early next week, which could bring widespread severe storms to the Plains and areas east Sunday into Monday. Timing these kinds of systems can be rather tricky, so there needs to be some room for adjustment as we get closer to the event. It looks like it could be quite a significant storm if the thermal instability decides to cooperate.

Mid-Atlantic – The Week Ahead (Mar 14-20)

A little late on this post as I had to use my time to find a new place to live… at least that’s done now 🙂

Not too much on tap this week as we head into warmer weather… I’m talking highs in the 60s for most of the week, with 70s (maybe 80+) going into the weekend. A storm system will bring some rain into the region Tuesday and Wednesday, with thunderstorms possible across the southern parts of the region. Saturday will be host to isolated showers as a weakening cold front pushes through from the northwest.

The warm pattern will try to persevere as we head into next week. The subtropical ridge is trying to take a stronghold over the Southeast, which would produce a weather pattern similar to last year if it holds through most of the summer.