Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Gaylord, MI

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FXUS63 KAPX 191529

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Gaylord MI
1029 AM EST Thu Jan 19 2017

Issued at 1029 AM EST Thu Jan 19 2017

Split flow pattern once again across the CONUS with northern
branch ridging through the northern plains and Great Lakes, and
closed shortwave trough over the central and southern plains.
Broad surface high pressure resides across the eastern CONUS.
Weakly organized low pressure sits over the lower Mississippi
River Valley along with moisture/clouds and precip streaming
northward toward the Ohio River Valley ahead of the closed low in
the plains. Here at home, lots of stratus and some fog once again
across the Great Lakes into the upper Midwest.

Main forecast challenge through today rests with degree of clearing
we see...if any. Model guidance RH forecasts and forecast soundings
continue to suggest slow S-N low level drying as we go through the
afternoon hours. But given satellite trends, I`m skeptical,
particularly with weaker flow (compared to Wednesday) and
increasing mid and high cloud cover beginning to expand into the
region from the south late in the day. We will thin/lose the fog
as surface temps "warm" and there may eventually be some
thinning/clearing by later in the day, particularly over the S/SW
counties. But have trended a bit more pessimistic with sky cover
for the afternoon and lowered forecast temps a few degrees,
especially over the norther/northeast part of the forecast area
where cloud cover will most likely remain.


.NEAR TERM...(Today and tonight)
Issued at 352 AM EST Thu Jan 19 2017

High impact weather potential: None expected.

Pattern synopsis and forecast:

Early this morning, a minor mid level ridge was over the western
Great Lakes, with sfc high pressure in the Ohio river valley. Weak
SW winds were ongoing in the low levels with stratus locked in over
much of the region. The SW winds were supplying a little shallow
cloud layer warm advection off to our SW in srn Lake Michigan, srn
WI/nrn IL where stratus had been eroding. Good radiational cooling
has been able to offset this erosion process in that area, with
redeveloping clouds seen on latest satellite imagery. Upstream, a
weakish cut off mid level low was circulating over the central
plains, with weak forcing from upper level jetlet and low to mid
level WAA. Scattered showers were seen as far north as the mid
Mississippi valley.

Gonna be a tricky type of a forecast despite little to nothing going
on. The shallow moisture trapped under the strong inversion just off
the sfc is suggested by data to be locked in all day. This was the
case yesterday too, and we cleared out in many areas. There was a
bit more wind yesterday however, and the weak flow we are in will
result in minimal mixing, and the potential for the stratus to be
locked in most of the day (and night?). However, do believe that the
cloud layer/low level WAA to our SW will work it`s way up here
through the afternoon, and when combined with whatever mixing we
get, will help to scour out clouds again. High temps reach near 40F
in many areas. Just like we have seen, radiational cooling in the
evening will likely redevelop stratus this evening, especially in
the NE CWA where the low level air will be coolest. Mid and high
level clouds move in from the SW ahead of vorticity ejected out of
the closed upper low, that is expected to open up and start lifting
into the srn Great Lakes later tonight. The associated sfc low
reaches far srn Lake Michigan, with deeper moisture possibly and
maybe a low chance of a touch of light snow or rain arriving around
Manistee. Fcst soundings show it`s still awfully dry below 9kft.
Maybe more like flurries or sprinkles. Lows tonight in places that
can see some clearing, could go as low as the lower 20s. Most areas
will remain in the upper 20s to lower 30s.


.SHORT TERM...(Friday through Saturday night)
Issued at 352 AM EST Thu Jan 19 2017

There seems to be more questions than answers over the next several
days as models continue to struggle with the details of the
unseasonably mild pattern. A series of weather systems originating
to our south and west will bring periodic chances for precipitation
over the next several days. Unfortunately, guidance is all over the
place as far as the placement and timing of these systems and even
vary on the thermal profiles at times. This continues to lead to a
low confidence forecast.

Friday into Friday night...Model guidance continues to hold moisture
moving up from the south together enough to likely produce a little
precipitation. Looking at model soundings, thermal profiles have
cooled some which brings into question what form any precipitation
that does manage to fall will be in. Although there is a small
possibility of occurrence, do not anticipate freezing rain as ground
temperatures continue to moderate and with surface temperatures just
above freezing. That would leave rain or even a bit of snow or sleet
as possibilities. Anticipate between a few hundredths to around a
tenth of an inch of mainly rain as the parent system moves by to our
west. Highs in the middle to upper 30s and lows in the lower to
middle 30s.

Saturday and Saturday night...Northern Michigan is kind of in
between systems with warm advection aloft. This should result in
mostly cloudy skies with small chances for rain showers. Highs in
the upper 30s to lower 40s. Lows in the lower and middle 30s.

.LONG TERM...(Saturday night through Wednesday)
Issued at 352 AM EST Thu Jan 19 2017

The extended period will continue to feature plenty of
uncertainty. The one thing that seems assured is the continuance
of the mild temperatures. As far as sensible weather goes,
guidance varies on the timing and strength of possible systems
moving by to our west and east (we could even end up in the void
in between). Will continue with the chance pops. Although I think
it will be mainly rain, extended models try to bring in enough
cool air to mix the rain with or even change it over to snow as
early as Monday night.


.AVIATION...(For the 12Z TAFS through 12Z Friday morning)
Issued at 619 AM EST Thu Jan 19 2017

Light southerly winds will trend more easterly later in the TAF
period, as weak low pressure lifts into the mid Mississippi
valley. The big issue continues to be IFR/MVFR stratus. Got some
impressive clearing yesterday afternoon, but winds are weaker
today and wonder if shallow low level moisture can be trapped more
efficiently today. There is some cloud layer warm advection that
works in from the SW through the day which is expected to start a
clearing period into the evening. There is a decent chance that
stratus could redevelop in the evening from good radiational
cooling, before thicker mid and high level cloud arrives


Issued at 352 AM EST Thu Jan 19 2017

The pressure gradient remains pretty weak through Saturday with
winds below advisory levels. Light southerly flow will gradually
turn more easterly. Not much precipitation with just a band of light
rain crossing Friday.




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