Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Wilmington, NC

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FXUS62 KILM 231333

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Wilmington NC
933 AM EDT Sun Apr 23 2017

A cold front will stall across the area today. A complex and
slow moving storm system will bring the potential for flooding
through Monday night. There is a small risk for severe weather
as well. This system will lift away from the area Tuesday with a
return to dry weather and above normal temperatures mid and late


As of 9 AM Sunday...Convection continues across the Cape Fear
region this morning with the front slowly sagging south.
Isentropic lift and elevated instability have been producing
pockets of rain with embedded heavier showers during the last
few hours. Front is expected to sink a little farther south
through midday before briefly becoming stationary. As the front
sinks south the heaviest precipitation across Brunswick and
southern New Hanover counties should shift offshore. The front
will start to return north later today with what appears to be 2
distinct areas of enhanced low level convergence. The first
develops along the SC coast then quickly shifts northwest,
ending up across inland SC. The second sets up along the SE NC
coast later this afternoon. Latest high resolution guidance
continues to suggest this will be the case, although nailing
down the exact location is quite difficult. Moisture should not
be an issue today with forecast soundings showing precipitable
water values exceeding 1.5 inches today. Already the 12Z
sounding from MHX had pwats over 1.4 inches. The abundance deep
moisture combined with a deep warm cloud layer should lead to
efficient rain producing storms which, given the proper
conditions such as extended training over urban areas, could
lead to some flooding.

Previous discussion from 3 AM Sunday follows:
Complex situation begins to unfold today leading to what will
likely be a widespread heavy rainfall event beginning late
tonight. A flash flood watch has been issued beginning at

Cold front has sagged into the CWA and is currently nearly along the
SC/NC state line. This front will continue to slip southward into
the morning hours before stalling across our SC zones. The front
will then likely begin to lift back to the north slowly in response
to shortwave ridging ahead of a deepening mid-level closed low
dropping into GA. It is this feature that will primarily be
responsible for the deteriorating weather through Tuesday.

Initially, as the front wavers in the vicinity, it will create a
complex temperature and wind forecast locally. Locations that remain
north of the front today will be cloudy and cool, with highs only
around 70, while areas south of the boundary will warm into the low
80s with more sunshine. This tight gradient just across the CWA
leads to bust potential if the front moves differently than
currently forecast, but guidance is in pretty good agreement that
only the southern few counties will warm much today. At the same
time, the aforementioned upper low will deepen and shift SE from
western TN this morning into SE GA tonight. Ahead of this, S/SW flow
will intensify while diffluence aloft increases. Although it is late
April, this sets up an isentropic lift scenario, and rain showers
will gradually increase across the area from late morning through
early evening. While isentropic lift is usually more supportive of
stratiform rain than convective showers, enough elevated (surface)
instability will exist north (south) of the front for isolated tstms
as well. Total QPF into tonight is expected to be light however.

Things deteriorate rapidly thereafter, and the flood watch begins at
midnight. As the upper low deepens and drops further SE, LLJ at both
850mb and 700mb increase from the south causing column saturation
and PWATS rising to 1.5 inches, near the highest all-time for the
date. Additionally, increasing confluence is noted within these
layers, and moist advection will occur both from the GOM and the
western Atlantic Ocean, in an environment characterized by
increasing MLCape to 300-500 J/kg which will support very heavy
rainfall rates. High-res guidance suggests a "wall" of heavy rain
with embedded tstms will move into the western counties late,
aligned closely with the best LLJ and moist advection. QPF through
Monday morning will range from up to 1.5 inches west of i-95, to
around 0.25 inches along the Cape Fear coast, with much more
expected beyond this period.

While a lower end threat than flooding, note very high helicity
values along the wavering front this evening and tonight approaching
300 m2/s2 in the lowest 1km, especially inland. With SBCape minimal
expect a very limited tornado threat, but would not be surprised to
see some rotating updrafts in any stronger convection tonight. SPC
has added a 2% tornado prob to their MRGL risk tonight across most
of SC, noting that if buoyancy can increase above current progs, the
tornado risk may be higher, especially in the presence of the
increasing LLJ late.


As of 300 AM Sunday...A very wet period Mon and Mon night with
widespread heavy rain and scattered thunderstorms necessitates a
Flash Flood Watch for our entire CWA. We are forecasting a
storm total of 3 to 6 inches of rain with the heaviest of
rainfall ending late Mon and Mon night. Although the ground is
dry and can absorb a great deal of runoff, it is the rainfall
rates that may result in flash flooding. Urbanized areas and
areas of poor drainage will be especially prone to flash
flooding. Rivers will see dramatic rises and many will exceed
bankfull during the week.

Deep low pressure will be located across Georgia Mon morning.
Slow moving low pressure is expected to move offshore Mon eve
and then turn up the Carolina coast, following a frontal boundary
that will be stretched along the coast. The center of the low should
be in the vicinity of Cape Fear Tue morning and Cape Hatteras Tue
eve. As the low approaches, it will draw deep moisture northward
and this moisture can be seen pooling N on satellite across
portions of Cuba, Florida and the Bahamas. Precipitable water
values will reach climatological maximums and they will remain
near these levels for an extended period of time given the slow
movement of the system. Isentropic lift will be strong with deep
moisture running up and over the frontal boundary. Mixed layer
CAPE values of 500 to 800 J/kg should support convective
elements which will be capable of dumping 2 or more inches of
rain in a short amount of time. Cells will tend to train along
the front which will increase the flood threat. In addition,
cold air aloft, 500 mb temps as low as minus 19, will skirt the
area on Mon. The deep moisture should preclude any glimpses of
sunshine which would further steepen lapse rates and lead to an
increased hail and wet microburst threat. At this time, the
threat from flooding is higher than the severe weather risk.
However, the severe weather risk is non-zero and SPC has
included the area in a marginal severe weather risk on Mon. Low
pressure will be pulling away from the area on Tue and drier air
will slowly work into the region on the backside, ending the
showers. Partial clearing will likely hold off until late Tue
or Tue night as weak ridging begins to build across the
Southeast states. Of course even partial clearing will foster
low clouds and stratus to fill in overnight Tue given the
saturated soils and light winds.


As of 300 PM Saturday...Fair weather is expected for the long
term period. Temperatures will be above normal.


As of 12Z...Cold front has sagged through KLBT/KILM/KFLO and
KCRE, but has since stalled. Expect the IFR clouds will be
tough to dislodge at KILM today and perhaps KLBT as well where
NE flow will tend to be most persistent. Will hold onto tempo
IFR at KFLO for a few hours this morning and ceilings could drop
to IFR in showers this afternoon. MVFR is expected to prevail
at KCRE and KMYR through the afternoon although a period of VFR
is possible at those terminals this afternoon.

Showers have been persistent south of KILM this morning. Scattered
showers are expected at the coastal terminals through 14-15z.

Showers and isolated tstms will become increasingly widespread,
especially tonight, with MVFR and possible IFR in any stronger
convection. Winds will fluctuate considerably as well, E/NE 10
kt or less north of the front, and S/SE 10-15 kt south of the

Extended outlook...Periods of MVFR and IFR through early
Tue in heavy Rain and thunderstorms and low stratus. IFR or
lower conditions possible in fog and stratus Tue night and early


As of 9 AM Sunday...Presence of both a cold front and scattered
convection has created a myriad of conditions across the waters
this morning. Do not anticipate much improvement through the
day. Convection will remain hit and miss with the front stalled
in the area into the afternoon hours. North of the boundary
winds will be northeast with more unsettled conditions while
south of the front conditions will be improved with southerly
winds 10 to 15 kt and little if any convection. Seas today will
generally range from 2 ft near shore to 4 ft near 20 nm before
starting to slowly increase very late as south to southeast
flow becomes more dominant and speeds start to increase.

Previous discussion from 3 AM Sunday follows:
Cold front dropping south across the area this morning will
slow and eventually stall, creating a wind shift to the NE with
speeds increasing to 10-15 kts across only the NC waters this
morning. South of the boundary, southerly winds will remain
through the daylight hours, also around 10-15 kts. However, this
front will begin to lift back to the north tonight, moving
onshore, and turning winds around to the SE across all waters at
speeds of 15- 20 kts with higher wind gusts. While current wind
speeds are not forecast to reach SCA thresholds, the
combination of a 10 sec easterly swell and an amplifying S/SE
wind wave to 6ft/6sec will drive seas up from 2-3 ft this
morning to 4-6 ft late. This has prompted an SCA to be issued,
beginning at 10pm tonight and persisting beyond the near term.

As of 300 AM Sunday...A Small Craft Advisory is in effect for
all waters through Mon and for the northern waters through Mon
night. Widespread poor visibility is expected in heavy rain and
strong to severe thunderstorms Mon and Mon night as low pressure
moves offshore of Georgia and then slowly up the Carolina coast.
The showers will end from S to N during Tue as low pressure along
the coast moves far enough to our N. Seas will be up to 4 to 7
ft Mon/Mon night. Seas will remain elevated on the backside of
the low Tue and Tue night with perhaps 5 and 6 ft seas lingering
across the northern waters. Winds Mon will be SE ahead of the
low, then the direction will become variable with low pressure
and a frontal boundary across the area. As the low pulls N of
our latitude, the wind direction will become NW late Mon night
and Tue with NW winds persisting through the end of the period.
Sustained winds will be no higher than 15 to 20 kt, but strong
to severe convection will likely produce higher winds.

As of 300 PM Saturday...Light south to southwest winds are
expected with seas 4 ft or less.


SC...Flash Flood Watch from late tonight through Tuesday morning
     for SCZ017-023-024-032-033-039-053>056.
NC...Flash Flood Watch from late tonight through Tuesday morning
     for NCZ087-096-099-105>110.
MARINE...Small Craft Advisory from 10 PM this evening to midnight EDT
     Monday night for AMZ254-256.
     Small Craft Advisory from 10 PM this evening to 8 AM EDT
     Tuesday for AMZ250-252.



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