BLOG: Wind, Warmth, Cold, Snow, Storms, Pattern Change!

Welcome to April! The weather will present plenty of challenges over the coming days so let’s get to it. First, a quick review of March, which of course was a chilly month. At least it wasn’t as cold as March 2014! marchThe last 2 Marchs really stand out among the last 30: marchgrx

As we head into April the weather will turn active again. Today is a quiet day but tomorrow a strong southwesterly wind flow will usher the warmest air of the season so far into the Valley. Temperatures will make a run at 70 degrees before the day is through! We have to not hit 70 or higher since October 28. Clouds will thicken in the afternoon and while there might be spotty shower activity…the bulk of the rain will occur in the evening and overnight.

The atmosphere will become unstable tomorrow in much of the Mississippi and Ohio Valleys. The Storm Prediction Center has a medium risk of severe weather in western Ohio and points SW: day2Notice the WFMJ viewing area is in the Low Risk. There just will not be as much instability here. One thing we like to look at is CAPE (Convective Available Potential Energy) which is an indicator of instability in the atmosphere. (Unstable air means air has no trouble rising and forming clouds and precipitation.)  Mid-afternoon CAPE values are very low locally and higher where that Medium Risk is: pmcapeBy evening, we do get some CAPE into eastern Ohio and western PA but not a lot: capeSo, we are going to allow for the possibility of thunder, but severe weather (damaging winds, large hail) is unlikely locally. Unlikely but NOT impossible. There will be a LOT of wind a few thousand feet up in the atmosphere. Check out the wind speeds at 5,000 feet late tomorrow afternoon: 850windWind will be as high as 70-80 mph at that level and any heavy shower or thunderstorm could pull some of that wind energy down to the surface. So we don’t want to rule out a damaging wind gust…but again the overall risk is quite low.

There’s going to be a decent amount of rain Thursday into Friday as this front stalls just to our south. The SREF (Short Range Ensemble Model) has a pretty big range of rain totals but the mean, or average, of a little over an inch seems reasonable based on all the other information available. sref

Just because it will be near 70 Thursday and the calendar says April does not mean we are done with snow yet! I think it is very likely that we will at least SEE snow late Friday night and early Saturday. Cold air will be wrapping in behind a strengthening area of low pressure: SATAMWill the snow accumulate? That’s a tougher question but I would say that there is a fair chance that some Valley residents are going to wake up and see at least a coating (if not an inch or so) of wet snow on non-paved surfaces Saturday morning!

Easter Sunday is looking “decent”. Better than Saturday but still cooler than average. Sunrise temperatures will probably be near freezing and afternoon readings will be in the upper 40s and lower 50s. The GFS model shows a front sparking spotty rain showers: gfs_ptype_slp_ma_19But I am not sure if that is the right idea yet. Some of the other models keep it dry all day. We have a 20% chance of a shower in our forecast on TV and I think that is fine for now.

What about the longer range? When will TRUE Spring arrive? If you have been following my posts and videos, you know I have been advertising a pattern change toward the middle of April that will allow for many more above average days than we have had in the last few months. I still think that is the right idea. It’s mostly good news for the whole country; the East finally gets a chance to warm up and the parched West will finally get some precipitation. The pattern in 2 weeks or so should look something like this: 500day15Notice the big trough in the West and the ridge in the Midwest/Northeast. This pattern will result in some warm days for us (80 degrees at some point?). I said above “mostly” good news. The bad news? This pattern will likely result in a lot of severe weather across the Plains states. We don’t want to see that.

The 8-16 day outlook has warm colors on it. It’s been a longggg time since it looked like this: 816

The long range climate models are portraying April as a warmer than average month overall in Ohio and western PA. We deserve it! april

Thanks for reading,

Eric

 

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