WRAL WeatherCenter Blog

Soaking on the Doorstep??

Posted March 20, 2006

Not too original I guess, but I thought the title would be an appropriate follow-up to Mike Maze's Friday post. As we've moved through the weekend, the pattern he described has developed mostly according to the projections at that time, but with a somewhat slower eastward development. It still appears we have a good chance at rather widespread, soaking rains beginning with patchy sprinkles and light rain later this afternoon, then picking up in intensity tonight and tapering back down to sprinkles and drizzle on Tuesday. After that, a fairly strong upper level disturbance may squeeze out another hour or two of light precipitation late Tuesday evening into very early Wednesday morning before drying sets in before dawn.

With the slower approach of the system, today's temperatures will likely exceed our earlier forecasts for today, since we did begin the week with some early sunshine. It still appears we'll stay 20 degrees or so below normal on Tuesday, as a low pressure area forming along the coast intensifies and reinforces a chilly north wind as it pulls out to sea. Incidentally, if you've been watching our maps online or on the air you may have noticed we have two surface low pressure areas to deal with at the surface, one moving our way out of the plains states and lifting up toward the western Appalachians and weakening, the other forming anew late tonight and tomorrow off our southeastern coast and becoming the primary low. This is a weather pattern known in the meteorological community as a "Miller Type B" system, whereas a "Miller Type A" would involve a single low pressure area, usually approaching in a more or less continuous manner from our south or southwest and then intensifying as it moves into position just to our southeast.

Rainfall totals across the region vary somewhat from forecast model to forecast model, but given the overall pattern, a decent rainfall in the half to three quarter inch range looks like a pretty good bet for most of us, though a few spots in northern parts of our viewing area may fall below that range, and some lucky places toward the south could end up with over an inch. See the next topic above for more on why that's important to us.

For a while there through the weekend, it also appeared there could be a period of sleet mixed with our rain late today and tonight, and then a shot at some flurries or snow showers with passage of that upper level system late Tuesday night. While either of those remains a remote possibility at this point, mainly north and northwest of the Triangle, the odds have lowered a bit as temperature projections through the lower atmosphere have nudged just a little warmer than they were before.

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