Tuesday, March 12, 2013

More Sunshine -- Dry through the Weekend!
     --  12 March 3013 
After a chilly -- but not cold -- start to the day, we enjoyed another pretty afternoon across the WAFB viewing area although afternoon highs were generally 5° or more below the daily norm. Our forecast keeps the skies mainly clear through the next few days, with a notable warm-up coming by Friday and continuing into the weekend.
As we mentioned yesterday, we’ll get another “soft” surge of Canadian air during the next day or so, keeping temps below mid-March norms through Thursday. In fact, we expect another morning start in the upper 30°s for the ‘Red Stick’ on Thursday -- a reminder that we are still officially in winter!
A surface dome of high pressure will sit over the Mississippi Valley through Wednesday, then begin a slow drift to the east and southeast, settling over the Southeastern U.S. by Friday. We’ll see the winds swing around from northerly on Wednesday to something more southeasterly by Friday, adding to the warm-up as we head into the weekend.
We’ll be much warmer by Saturday -- morning lows at or above 50° and afternoon highs in the mid to upper 70°s -- with a little more moisture in the air thanks to the flow off the Gulf, allowing for a return of some fair-weather clouds.
A Canadian front will be working its way from north to south on Friday and Saturday. Yesterday we talked about this front sliding southward through the viewing area late Sunday into Monday, delivering a modest rain chance as it moved through. But today’s guidance indicates that the front will stall to our north, taking rain completely out of the weekend outlook. The latest NWS Weather Prediction Center forecast calls for a cool front to develop over the Plains on Monday and slip southeastward into the lower Mississippi Valley late Monday into early Tuesday. This boundary looks like it will be a relatively weak front, generating only limited amounts of rain as it slides by. We’ll keep tabs on it through the coming days.
Have you noticed the shift in local rain patterns recently? After a very wet December-through-February, the rains late Sunday/early Monday were the first in nearly two weeks, and it looks like we will stay dry through the next 5 or more days.
As an FYI -- the signals remain a bit mixed for the rest of March in terms of rainfall expectations, leaning slightly towards “normal to wet” for the last two weeks of the month. Don’t be storing the umbrella in the closet just yet!

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