Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Blacksburg, VA
FXUS61 KRNK 011749
Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Blacksburg VA
1249 PM EST Wed Mar 1 2017
A strong cold front extends from the Great Lakes into the Mid-
Mississippi Valley. This front will move east today, crossing
the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys, then across the Appalachians
during the late afternoon and evening. The front will be
accompanied by strong to severe thunderstorms with gusty winds.
Passage of the front tonight will bring an end to the showers
and storms, however it will remain blustery and turn much
colder for the later half of the week.
.NEAR TERM /THROUGH TONIGHT/...
As of 1000 AM EST Wednesday...
Updated PoPs to place the arrival of showers and thunderstorms
in the west to later this morning. We may see line of
convection fall apart a bit as it encounters dry air over the
south-central Appalachains. However, strong winds/gusts will
still be a threat ahead and with the line as it tracks over the
Arrival time of the storms east of the Blue Ridge will be this
afternoon into this evening. We believe the stronger storms for
the area will occur south of highway 460. This area did not see
much in the way of rain the past 24 hours, therefore heating and
instabilities will be greater.
As of 500 AM EST Wednesday...
Today`s focus is centered around sharp upper level trough of
low pressure which extends from the Great lakes into the MS
Valley. Solid line of thunderstorms was ongoing along the
surface front this morning from northern Ohio to central
Arkansas. There was also a large area of showers, with embedded
thunderstorms well ahead of the squall line moving through the
Ohio Valley into western West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Short
term models keep the leading clustering of showers/storms mainly
north and west of our CWA this morning, with main focus for our
sensible weather coming from the squall line associated with
the actual cold front which will arrive later in the afternoon,
then sweeping across the CWA during the late afternoon and
As has been advertised for the last couple of days, front is
expected to come through during or just after the peak heating
part of the day, with models waffling plus or minus 3 to 6 hours
on the actual time of FROPA. Severe threat has remained
consistent with primary focus on the high wind shear and
potential for damaging thunderstorm winds. Isolated threats
still exists for hail and short lived tornadoes.
Per the Storm Prediction Center, a pronounced mid-level short
wave trough will move northeast across the OH Valley today, then
into NY/PA tonight. 500mb flow will increase above 100kt along
this corridor with 12hr mid-level height falls expected to
increase to near 240m across the northeastern states. Strong
forcing for ascent and cloud-layer mean flow on the order of
75kts will prove favorable for damaging winds, with potential
for discrete supercells from OH/KY east into WV and far western
VA, and a QLCS to follow, this Quasi-Linear Convective System
translating the Appalachians during the afternoon and entering
the piedmont of VA/NC this evening. At this time it appears
damaging winds will be the primary severe threat as frontal
convection should maintain linear characteristics with the
potential for bowing structures.
Given strong cloud-layer flow, storms will be fast moving with
little residence time. This should keep rainfall amounts under
an inch mitigating potential for excessive rainfall for our CWA.
Temperatures today will be well above normal, especially across
the piedmont where there will be an opportunity for some
sunshine for the first half of the day. Would not be surprised
to see locations from Danville south and eastward test 80
degrees this afternoon.
Tonight`s FROPA will bring falling temperatures and blustery
northwest winds. Will likely need a wind advisory for parts of
the CWA tonight with some models indicating post frontal wind
gusts of 40 kts across the crest of the Blue Ridge. Will refrain
from posting this headline attm as not to distract from today`s
greater convective hazard.
.SHORT TERM /THURSDAY THROUGH SATURDAY NIGHT/...
As of 400 AM EST Wednesday...
Strong cold front will be accelerating off the east coast at the
beginning of the period with Canadian high pressure building in
from the northern Plains as the upper flow transitions to
northwest and remains in place through this period of the
forecast. With the exception of some potential lingering upslope
snow showers across eastern WV, precipitation will end prior to
the beginning of this forecast period. Upslope conditions are
not particularly favorable either given a west versus northwest
flow. Wind speeds will still be an issue Thursday morning and as
noted in the near term section, a Wind Advisory will likely be
in effect at the beginning of this time period. Winds will
diminish through the day, however, as high pressure builds into
Temperatures Thursday will be much colder than what we will see
today but really not atypical for the first of March. The
contrast between 850mb temps around +15C today and surface temps
in the 70s vs. 850mb temps around -5C and surface temps in the
40s will be quite noticeable, however, but just near normal.
On Friday, a clipper system is expected to track across the OH
Valley toward the Mid-Atlantic coast bringing a period of
upslope snow showers to the Alleghanys of eastern WV and perhaps
some light snow showers or flurries as far south as the I-81
corridor in southwest VA. Western Greenbrier county WV could
pick up 1/2 inch of snow with this event. Wind will be the main
issue, however, as the clipper passes to the east a Wind
Advisory may again need to be considered. The clipper will bring
an even more notable surge of cold air to the region resulting
in a couple of days of below normal temperatures for a change as
we head into Saturday. 850mb temps are progged to drop toward
-12C or so by Saturday morning which will bring temperatures
down into the teens west to the 20s east. While the frost/freeze
program has not yet began in the RNK CWA, nor would even
normally be considering such at the beginning of March, the
repeated record warmth in February has resulted in premature
blooming of plants and trees, which may need to be considered
with the well below freezing temperatures expected Friday into
.LONG TERM /SUNDAY THROUGH TUESDAY/...
As of 415 AM EST Wednesday...
Models continue to differ on timing and intensity of the next
system slated to affect the area during the first half of next
week. The ECMWF remains faster and weaker than the GFS with the
Euro having the front through us Monday night and the GFS not
until Tuesday night-Wednesday. The timing and intensity issues
center around considerable uncertainty in the North Pacific
upper flow. WPC and trends favor the ECMWF, which will result in
less threat of showers for our region as main axis of
convergence and lift stay further north with the low. Given the
flow in the mid levels is more westerly, it appears any showers
will diminish east of the mountains.
Will see high pressure move offshore Saturday into Sunday with
increasing clouds and chance of showers Monday into Tuesday west of
the Blue Ridge with lesser threat east. After a cold start to
the weekend, temperatures are generally expected to be well
above normal through this period as 850mb temps climb back into
the low end double-digit levels again.
.AVIATION /18Z WEDNESDAY THROUGH MONDAY/...
As of 1245 PM EST Wednesday...
Very active weather pattern today.
Solid line of thunderstorms will accompany the passage of a
strong cold front this afternoon for areas east of the Blue
Ridge. Strong to Severe storms with wind gusts of 40 to 55 kts
VFR conditions will deteriorate to MVFR cigs with temporary
IFR/LIFR associated with passage of a squall line this
afternoon. In addition to the squall line, strong southwest
winds aloft and ahead of the line will result in LLWS. Once the
line of deep convection passes, strong northwest winds will
develop with non-convective gusts of 25 to 40 kts across the
Blue Ridge tonight early Thursday.
Dry high pressure with return of VFR is expected Thursday.
Extended Aviation Discussion...
Another weak clipper looks to track just north of the region by
Friday with possible mountain MVFR due to upslope cloudiness,
and possible light precipitation western ridges later Thursday
night into Friday. High pressures builds in with VFR expected
Friday night through most of the weekend.
As of 330 AM EST Monday...
Record warm Mins for March 1
Roanoke.....52 in 1918
Lynchburg...57 in 1910
Danville....51 in 2012
Blacksburg..45 in 1997
Bluefield...56 in 1997
Record highs for March 1
Roanoke.....76 in 1972
Lynchburg...78 in 1918
Danville....80 in 1972
Blacksburg..72 in 1976
Bluefield...78 in 1997