Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Charleston, SC
FXUS62 KCHS 211601
Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Charleston SC
1101 AM EST Sat Jan 21 2017
A series of upper level disturbances will cross the area today and
tonight, then a strong low pressure system and cold front will move
through Sunday into Monday. The low pressure will lift north of the
area Tuesday and will be replaced by drier high pressure through mid
week. Another cold front will cross the area late next week.
.NEAR TERM /THROUGH TONIGHT/...
11 AM Update: A band of showers associated with the leading
edge of low level warm advection are moving northward across
the Charleston Tri-County area. Thunderstorm activity has
weakened, but an isolated weak storm or two could persist
within this line. Following a short time for the atmosphere to
"recover" into early this afternoon a more robust short wave
moves in during the afternoon and early evening in sync with
some height falls, a strengthening low level jet and upper
divergence in response to a 90-100 kt jet. This allows for an
even better potential of convection, with not only a heavy rain
risk but also some potential for severe weather.
The Hi-res model suite continues to supports an organized line
or QLCS arriving from the west around 1-3 pm, and sweeping
through the entire CWA and off the coast by 6-8 pm. Overall
there is weak or moderate instability, with LI`s -3 to -5C and
MLCAPE is progged near 800-1200 J/kg. This is quite impressive
for mid- winter and occurs with 50 kt or so of 0-6 km bulk shear
and 100-200 m2/sec2 or SR helicity. This will support the risk
for damaging winds in isolated or scattered storms, along with
some potential for isolated tornadoes given 25-35 kt of 0-1 km
bulk shear and a Significant Tornado Parameter near 1 or 1.5,
especially across the southern 2/3 of the CWA. The low level
trajectories off the Atlantic would be an inhibiting factor for
convection along our eastern zones as the fetch crosses the more
stabilizing shelf waters.
Given the impressive warm advection, it`ll be another very warm
January day. Despite mostly cloudy or overcast skies, temps will yet
again reach 70F over the vast majority of the forecast zones. The
exceptions will be coastal Charleston and Colleton counties, where
the low level wind fields back onshore and hold readings in the
Tonight: Behind the short wave and accompanying line of convection
in the evening, NVA will dominate in advance of another short wave
that closes off as it moves east through the southern Plains to near
the Arklatex late. This will put a temporary end to the showers
and t-storms early tonight, before coverage ramps up again late
as better height falls develop aloft and upper divergence
increases due to a 100-110 kt upper jet. Combined with low
forcing from a 40 kt or greater jet at 925 mb will justify good
chance to likely PoP`s after 06Z. Thermodynamics and kinematics
may support a low end chance of isolated severe weather late.
Stratus build-down and the wet grounds from the previous and/or
ongoing rains will support at least some reduction in
visibilities, enough so that we have included patchy fog in the
forecast. But given the strong low level wind fields the dense
fog potential seems limited.
It`s yet another warm night within the warm advection regime,
and overnight lows could again be near record high minimum
levels, which is about 20-25F above normal.
QPF: It`s difficult to be certain the amount of rainfall that will
occur due to it`s convective nature, but with PWat`s
approaching maximum levels on record for January and a continued
influx of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico and modest
instability, amounts look to average 1/3 to 3/4 inches today and
another 1/4 to 1/2 inch tonight.
.SHORT TERM /SUNDAY THROUGH TUESDAY/...
Sunday will certainly be the most active day of the bunch. A
powerful upper low over ArkLaTex at the start of the period will
progress east through the day. As the upper low and potent vort
energy digs into the Gulf coast states, a surface low will develop
over western Georgia and rapidly intensify while it lifts northeast
into the western Carolinas. This will send a cold front towards the
forecast area. Given the dynamics in place and impressive deep layer
(0-6km) shear of 60+ knots, there is potential for an organized
severe weather event in the form of a squall line in the
afternoon/evening prior to frontal passage. The forecast area will
remain solidly in the warm sector with model soundings showing
favorable moisture (relatively high PWats for late January), so
instability should be sufficient. SPC outlook currently has the
entire area outlined in an Enhanced Risk for severe weather. The
primary threats would be damaging winds in excess of 60 mph and
isolated tornadoes, with perhaps a lesser threat of large hail.
Temperatures will yet again reach several degrees above normals.
Highs forecast to be in the mid to upper 70s. Sunday night, the
severe threat will quickly diminish as whatever convective line
develops pushes offshore and drier air starts to filter in. Low
temperature will be in the low 50s.
Monday: The expansive low pressure system will spin over the mid-
Atlantic before slowly lifting northeast away from the area Monday
night. Some lingering moisture may be enough to produce a few
showers early in the day before deeper dry air moves in. Maintained
20-30% PoPs. The biggest issue of the day however will be the winds
given the tight pressure gradient. West winds expected to gust 30-35
mph during peak heating hours. Despite the prior passage of a cold
front, deep westerly downslope flow will boost temperatures above
normal. Highs will be in the low to mid 60s. Lows Monday night in
the mid 40s.
Tuesday: Dry high pressure will build into the area from the
southwest. Should be a pleasant day with clear skies and comfortable
temperatures. Highs in the mid 60s.
Lake winds: W/SW winds could gust to at least 25 knots on Lake
Moultrie Monday. A Lake Wind Advisory may eventually be needed.
.LONG TERM /TUESDAY NIGHT THROUGH FRIDAY/...
Surface high pressure centered south of the forecast area Tuesday
night will drift east into the Atlantic on Wednesday. A cold front
will then cross the area on Thursday. Global models are a bit
different regarding precipitation potential, with the Euro the drier
solution and GFS wetter. Forecast currently features 20-30% PoPs.
High pressure will return in wake of the front and persist into the
at least the first half of the weekend.
.AVIATION /16Z SATURDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY/...
There is a risk for SHRA at most any time at KSAV and KCHS through
this evening within the highly moist and moderately unstable
atmosphere. But the best chance for the most direct impacts
would be from mid afternoon into this evening as a line of
convection moves in from the west. TSRA is being added to the TAFs
to account for increasing confidence and the radar trends far to
Most observations around the area are IFR and we are trending
in that direction. Though, breaks to MVFR are possible for a
short time ahead of the main line of convection. Either way,
flight restrictions are expected to persist.
Finally, LLWS appears highly likely tonight as a strong low
level jet moves through. Thus our 12Z TAF set includes LLWS the
last 10-12 hours of the current forecast cycle.
Extended Aviation Outlook: Periods of flight restrictions are
likely Sunday into Monday. VFR will return thereafter. Gusty
winds will impact the terminals Sunday and Monday.
Today: High pressure will remain positioned east of the Bahamas as
a complex frontal system and regions of low pressure cover much of
the upper Midwest and Great Plains. A developing east-west aligned
warm front will stretch over or near the waters and across the
northern Gulf coast states. SW flow will average less than 10 or 15
kt this morning, but with some boost from a wave of low pressure
tracking NE through the southern Appalachians the gradient will
tighten. Winds will climb several knots as a result, as the low
level wind field backs a little more southerly. Seas will
average 2 or 3 ft this morning, building about a foot this
Tonight: There is a further tightening of the gradient as deep low
pressure heads east from the southern Plains to the lower-
middle MS Valley late. Warm advection will temper the amount of
mixing, but given a 35-40 kt low level jet and geostrophic winds
at 1000 mb 25- 35 kt, winds across the local waters will
increase further. SW winds will reach 15 or 20 kt, but with
frequent gusts near or exceeding 25 kt on the outer GA waters
late where the best mixing will reside. That along with seas
building to 4-6 ft and highest on the 20-60 nm waters, we have
initiated a Small Craft Advisory for AMZ374 beginning at 09z
Mariners should also be prepared for a possible line of convection
that moves off the SC and GA coasts this evening. A few of the
storms could be strong or even severe, with damaging winds and
frequent lightning strikes possible.
Sea Fog: Webcams along the coast hint at some sea fog, but this
could also be lowering stratus. Given a favorable S-SW fetch
and the elevated T/Td atop the cooler waters, we continue to
show at least patchy sea fog in the forecast through tonight.
Sunday through Thursday: Marine conditions will deteriorate Sunday
as a strong low pressure system impacts the area. Increasing
winds/seas will result in Small Craft Advisories for most if not all
waters by Sunday night and will persist through Monday. There is a
good chance that frequent gale force gusts could occur on Monday and
a Gale Watch will need to be considered in later forecast packages.
Best chance of gales occurring would be in the outer GA waters,
although certainly possible in the nearshore waters as well.
Conditions will improve on Tuesday as the low lifts northeast and
high pressure builds into the area. Winds mid-week will generally be
at or below 15 knots with seas less than 4 feet. A cold front will
then cross the waters on Thursday.
Given the warm and moist air mass in place, some sea fog may develop
and linger over the nearshore waters on Sunday until a cold front
crosses Sunday night.
Record High Minimum Temperatures for Saturday January 21:
KCHS: 59 set in 1954
KCXM: 62 set in 1935
KSAV: 66 set in 1937
Record High Minimum Temperatures for Sunday January 22:
KCHS: 59 set in 1972
KCXM: 66 set in 1937
KSAV: 64 set in 1937
Record High Maximum Temperatures for Sunday January 22:
KCHS: 80 set in 1999
KCXM: 76 last set in 1937
KSAV: 80 last set in 1937
Record Rainfall for Sunday January 22:
KCHS: 1.77 inches set in 1999
KCXM: 1.67 inches set in 1973
KSAV: 1.33 inches set in 1966
MARINE...Small Craft Advisory from 4 AM Sunday to 1 PM EST Tuesday for
Small Craft Advisory from 10 AM Sunday to 7 AM EST Tuesday for