Mild and dry work week, storms late this weekend

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Tranquil weather is forecast to continue for the next several days, but we could see some strong storms late this weekend.
The slowly sinking air of a surface high-pressure system over the southeastern U.S. will keep a lid on any shower chances today through Thursday. Temperatures will slowly warm as the work-week progresses. Daytime high temperatures will be in the 70s. That’s five to 10 degrees warmer than the averages for Dec. 8-12.
Friday and Saturday are likely to be quite breezy as we find ourselves between the high pressure to our east and a developing low-pressure system over the southern Great Plains. Those southerly winds off the Gulf of Mexico will bring in enough warmth and humidity that there may be some widely scattered light showers on Saturday.
During the weekend, the surface low will head northeast from the southern Great Plains. Trailing southward from the low will be a cold front. As the cold front collides with the warm, humid air over the Gulf Coast a line of showers and thunderstorms is likely to form along and ahead of the front.
At the same time, at upper altitudes, a dip in the jet stream will be accompanied by strong southwesterly winds 18,000 to 30,000 feet above us. This will tend to enhance the vertical lift in the atmosphere and possibly provide some spin that could cause some of the thunderstorms to begin to rotate.
In other words, there is the potential for having the ingredients for some strong thunderstorms in our area over the weekend. That’s still too many days away to make any pinpoint timing predictions or to know whether any of the storms will become severe. Based on trends in the recent numerical weather model runs, the stormy weather could arrive as early as Saturday night or as late as Monday. Right now, the best bet for stormy, rainy weather is Sunday.
As I’ve mentioned several times during the past month, November and December are a secondary severe weather season for those of us in the deep South. There’s no chance of any bad weather during the workweek, but as we get into the weekend it makes sense to check in and get the most current forecasts.
Get updates to the official National Weather Service forecasts, which are updated at about 4 p.m. and 4 a.m. each day by typing in your zip code in the upper left corner of the webpage,
Once the cold front and the associated rain and storms sweep by and move off to our east, expect a colder week next week than what we’ll have this week.
That means next week will be more to the liking of those of us who prefer wearing sweaters during the Advent season leading up to Christmas rather than the short sleeves that will be in order during the afternoons this week.

By Skip Rigney

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