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Sunday Weather Blog: Springlike Beauty followed by Stormy Midweek

By: Meteorologist Ray Hawthorne Email
By: Meteorologist Ray Hawthorne Email

The models agree on a large middle and upper tropospheric ridge building northward from Cuba into the Sunshine state. This is a pattern that often favors much above average temperatures for our area and the next couple of days will be no exception. Highs are expected to reach the mid 70s this afternoon and then into the upper 70s to around 80 degrees Monday and Tuesday afternoons. The winds closer to the ground will gradually shift to a more southerly direction, which will act to increase moisture and the threat of fog and low clouds each morning. We even saw an extensive area of stratus and fog develop early this morning over the Valdosta, Madison, Perry and Live Oak areas, but it will lift late this Sunday morning.

All eyes this week will be on a storm system now developing along the Pacific coast. Water vapor imagery depicts a strong jet stream (in excess of 160 knots) aimed directly at Northern and Central California. The energy associated with this jet will act to carve out a strong middle and upper air trough. Today's models have trended a little slower with the whole storm. A blend of the ECMWF, UKMET and NAM models is the preferred model forecast since these were the first to pick up on the trend yesterday. The American GFS and Canadian global models are still faster than the aforementioned model solutions, but even these models are slower than yesterday as a whole. We expect an unstable warm sector to organize ahead of a cold front. Present indications are that a squall line will develop in the lower Mississippi River Valley region Tuesday afternoon and evening. Strong dynamical forcing and convergence along the cold front should maintain the line over Southern Alabama and the western Florida Panhandle into early Wednesday morning. The squall line should continue eastward through our area during the day Wednesday. If the whole system continues to slow down, then breaks of sunshine could develop ahead of the squall line, leading to further destablization, but that is still questionable and most likely in the eastern part of our area. The wind profiles from the model soundings suggest that damaging winds will be possible within bow echoes and LEWPs (Line Echo Wave Patterns) that manage to develop within the squall line itself. Isolated tornadoes are also possible, especially if discrete supercells form out ahead of the line. The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, OK, is already forecasting a widespread severe weather episode in their Day 3 outlook just to our west and it may need to consider outlooking a larger part of our area if the latest model trends prove correct.

Some cooler air will move in behind the front on Thursday, but an upper air disturbance following on the heels of the first one will give us a slight chance of showers.


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