WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

More Gloom on the Horizon!

Posted May 10, 2006

We saw a return to sunshine albeit dimmed sunshine across the region today and it was enough to bring temperatures into the 70s. Now the next feature we are watching closely is on our doorstep. I am talking about a cold front taking shape across the mid Mississippi Valley this evening. This system has been responsible for widespread severe weather across Texas, Oklahoma, and the Deep South. There were numerous reports of hail, damaging winds and tornadoes.

Thursday the cold front moves into Central North Carolina during the afternoon hours. This would be the time frame for the greatest threat for storms and severe weather. The system won't have the intensity that it had in days past, but we do have the potential to see some storms that contain damaging winds, large hail and isolated tornadoes. We also have the potential to take another bite out of the rainfall deficit. Rain totals could average around a half inch.

As a side bar, there is an area of low pressure that will be over the Great Lakes Thursday. That low in conjunction with a strong upper level low will slowly edge towards the south and east in the coming days. Friday and Saturday appear dry with plenty of sunshine and warmer temperatures in the 70s, but Mother's Day could be quite stormy. This is graphically displayed below.

By Saturday the upper level low begins to cruise over Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky. The upper level low can also be referred to as a cold pocket of air aloft. The air from 5,000 feet and higher across the Ohio Valley on Saturday will be below freezing. As this cold pocket of air travels across this region, the difference between the warmer temperatures at the ground and colder air aloft will create great instability. This instability is more so accentuated when the sun is able to heat the surface of the Earth. With this tremendous instability, there is the potential for thunderstorms since the air will be rising rapidly. Also, since the freezing level is so close to the ground, there is a higher risk that these storms could produce hail. As we see in the next graphic below, we see the system moving over North Carolina and Virginia.

The upper low and surface low are positioned across the Southeast on Sunday. As stated above, the dynamics will be upon North Carolina that could produce showers and storms and perhaps even hail. Models suggest this system may linger for Monday and Tuesday as well. If this is the case, we could be looking at consecutive days of gloom and cool weather. The Hydrometeorological Center suggests a good deal of rain possible in the 5 day period from Thursday through Monday.

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