Published: 2012-05-01 09:33:00
Updated: 2012-05-01 10:16:24
Posted May 1, 2012
By Mike Moss
We kicked off this weekend with a cool Saturday that saw our afternoon temperatures in the Raleigh area struggle just to reach 60 degrees, compared to normal highs in the mid 70s. Since then, we've warmed up a good bit, with 77 Sunday and 80 Monday out at RDU. However, that's just the beginning as it appears a slow-evolving weather pattern this week that features a big tough over the western U.S. and a modest ridge in the east will leave us with a generally west to southwest flow in the lower atmosphere that should push our highs to 90 or better Thursday through Saturday.
If our forecast works out and we reach 90 at RDU for the first time on Thursday (we have at least a shot at it on Wednesday as well) that would be a little early in the season, but not extreme in a historical sense, as we have reached that mark as early in the year as March 12 (in 1990) and March 17 (in 1945). In April, only four dates have record high temperatures that are less than 90 degrees.
For now, it appears well start to cool back off late in the weekend and early next week, but we'll have to wait a bit to be sure, as some models indicate a fairly strong cold front crossing the area late Sunday, while others end up stalling the front for a good while to our northwest.
On a whole different note, I happened across kind of a neat picture on the Spaceweather.com web site that you might enjoy seeing. Right now, the planet Venus is very bright, enough so that if you manage to get your eyes in just the right spot (about 40 degrees of arc east of the sun - a fist at arm's length is about 10 degrees and the distance from thumb tip to pinky tip with your hand spread out wide is a little over 20 degrees), it can be seen in the daytime. A photographer in the Czech Republic caught it in a series of photos as the International Space Station crossed over, for a very cool time lapse picture. I included a link to it above.