Very Warm & Windy,With Strong Storms!February 24th, 2012 at 8:20 am by Jeremy Wheeler under Weather
The forecast has been modified since yesterday, and things have become very interesting. Where do I begin? Last night we had a strong warm front move through the region. Temperatures dropped to the upper 50s, but then they warmed to the mid-upper 60s through the early morning. Winds picked up out of the southwest, and were already gusting up to 25mph before the sun came up. Winds through the day will gust up to 40mph.
Due to the overnight warming, some partial clearing, and the strong southwest winds; the forecast high is now aiming for 81 degrees. If we get there, then it will beat the current 80 degree record that was set back in 1985 at Norfolk International Airport. Along with the heat, it will also be humid. Dewpoints have already risen into the 60s. This will create a good amount of instability later today. Especially for late February. Some of the models are estimating between 1000-1500 J/KGK of CAPE (amount of instability). That’s not too shabby for the time of year. Also, the wind shear will be between 60-80 knots. Usually 40 is the threshold for severe. So we are area is in a slight risk for severe:
The Storm Prediction Center was actually talking about a possible moderate risk in or near our region. (Update….At 8:00am they upgraded us to a moderate risk.) So I tried to emphasize the risk for wind and storms this morning on-air. A large cold front will approach from the west, but it won’t make it here during the daytime hours. The storms that form will be well out ahead of it.
Our computer model starts the scattered showers and storms up between 1 and 3pm:
The front will actually move through between 8 and 11pm. The winds will quickly shift to the northwest. We will pull down some colder air for tonight, but the strong winds will stay up. So we will not reach our maximum cooling potential. Gosh that sounds nerdy! Bottom line…Lows will be in the low 40s and NOT crash into the low 30s.
On Saturday we’ll have a west/northwest wind. Sometimes this allows for minor warming due to downsloping off of the Appalachians. Yes it still affects southeat Virginia. So highs are forecast to be in the low 50s. Temperatures will drop further on Saturday night into the upper 20s to low 30s. Then the wind will be more northeasterly on Sunday. So highs will be in the upper 40s. That will be a huge change from today. We’ll warm up early next week to near 60.
Be careful out there today. Those storms could get pretty scary. Isolated tornadoes are even possible. There is a slight chance that the storms will move-in early. That would help to keep the temperature and instability from reaching their maximum. Cloud cover will also, be a key in the forecast. If we don’t get much clearing, then that would help a bit. Regardless, winds will be very strong and we are looking at that chance for severe at this time.
Meteorologist: Jeremy Wheeler