Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS State College, PA-- Remove Highlighting --
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FXUS61 KCTP 241050
Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service State College PA
550 AM EST Fri Feb 24 2017
Our extended period of warm, and in some cases record breaking,
temperatures will continue into Saturday morning. A strong cold
front will plow east across the region on Saturday and create
showers and perhaps a narrow line of strong, gusty
thunderstorms. Gusty westerly winds, colder temperatures, and
snow showers across the western mountains will follow the
frontal passage. Chilly but mainly dry weather is in store for
Sunday as a ridge of high pressure builds in from the Ohio
Valley. One or more weak waves of low pressure moving northeast
up the Ohio River Valley Monday into Tuesday may bring some
mixed precipitation to the northern half of the area, and mainly
rain in the south.
.NEAR TERM /UNTIL 6 PM THIS EVENING/...
If you want warmth in Late February, there`s no better way to
start the day than in the upper 40s to upper 50s with relatively
high dewpoints in the 45-50F range, plenty of clouds and a light
For today, I`ll simply say, toss the winter coat in the closet
and sport the shorts and short sleeves, as it won`t get any
warmer in February than it gets today (at least within our
period of climatological records at observation stations here in
PA, that span back into the late 1800s).
All-time record highs for February are likely to be broken at
many sites across Central PA and the Susq Valley this afternoon
thanks to the very mild early start to the day, followed by
intervals of sunshine mixed with mid and high clouds, and a
warming/moderately gusty southerly breeze.
See the Climate section at the end for all time high temps
Highs will reach the lower 70s across most of the highest
terrain, and soar into the mid and upper 70s in most valley
locations in Central and Southern PA. It`s quite possible for a
few spots in southern PA to touch 80F this afternoon.
.SHORT TERM /6 PM THIS EVENING THROUGH 6 PM SATURDAY/...
Another mostly cloudy and even milder night is on tap for
tonight as southerly winds freshen in the tightening pressure
gradient ahead of a strong cold front.
Temps will only settle into the mid and upper 50s for lows in
most places. The cfropa will approach Western Warren county
right around daybreak Saturday.
Upper ridging over the east coast at the start of the period
will be temporarily squashed as a decent northern stream
shortwave moves east through the Ohio Valley and across the
Middle Atlantic states over the coming weekend. This will bring
a pronounced cold front across the region during the day
A few hundred j/kg of cape along and ahead of this cfront with
strong vertical wind shear will bring the threat of one or more
lines of heavy showers, and even a quasi NCFRB or QLCS features
with embedded strong to potentially svr TSRA. The timing of the
Cfront (into the far west between 12-14Z Sat, through Central
PA between 14-18Z, and across the Susq Valley and Points east
during the mid to late afternoon hours) favors the best chc for
marginal svr tsra across the susq valley and points east where
ML capes can rebound nicely to several hundred j/kg with temps
possibly rebounding to near 70F in the southeast.
The aforementioned cold front will return temps to near or
closer to near seasonal normals for Sunday into early next week.
Brisk winds with gusts over 30 mph will continue Saturday night
with partly-mostly cloudy skies and generally flurries SE of the
The depth of the cold air is quite shallow, so accumulations
from any snow showers across the NW Mtns and Laurel Highlands
will be generally light and only an inch or two. The upper half
of the cold air/strato cu cloud deck does dip right into the
prime DGZ, so we could see some brief mdtly heavy snow showers
across the perennial NW snowbelt and upslope region of the
.LONG TERM /SATURDAY NIGHT THROUGH THURSDAY/...
After some morning flurries and scattered snow showers Sunday, more
tranquil conditions with some sunshine area expected for Sunday
afternoon, along with decreasing wind and gusts.
Heights are forecast to rebuild across the eastern half of the
conus early next week on broad southwesterly flow ahead of
troffing developing over the Rockies.
Several shortwaves within the fast southwest flow aloft will
bring several weak fronts across the region next week. This will
lead to less than pristine sky conditions...but most of the
time period will be generally dry. However, enough low pressure
lurking at the surface could lead to a system of more
significance sometime during the week.
.AVIATION /12Z FRIDAY THROUGH TUESDAY/...
-- Changed Discussion --For the 09Z and 12Z TAF sets, the main line of showers and
isolated thunderstorms is now north of our area.
Not much in the way of fog or low clouds at this point, have
been backing off on these some. Still possible for some lower
clouds and fog around sunrise or just after.
Otherwise looking at mainly dry and VFR conditions today and
much of tonight. Some strong storms possible, but would mainly
track northwest of Bradford. Been watching current activity,
which would track activity further west early on.
Dynamics lag the cold front Saturday morning, thus much of the
shower and thunderstorm activity would be in the colder air,
similar to the cold front we had on 11/19/16, which resulted in
a 30 degree temperature drop in just a few hours.
Windy and colder conditions expected behind the front into
Directional shear behind the front would limit snow showers.
Highest chance for snow showers would be BFD, as the cold air
will be a little deeper there.
r concern will come after midnight, when radiational cooling
leads to areas of low CIGS/fog.
Sat...AM fog/LLWS possible eastern PA. Strong daytime FROPA,
accompanied by line of shra/tsra. Becoming windy late with
evening snow showers/reduced VIS possible at BFD/JST.
Mon...Slight chance of light snow/reduced VIS northern PA.
Tue...Showers/reduced CIGS possible, especially northwest PA.
-- End Changed Discussion --
***February Warmth 2017*** Updated 2/24/17 at 5 am EST
Record high temperatures for select sites for Feb. 23-24:
Harrisburg 2/24: 75 in 1985; all-time Feb record is 78F
Williamsport 2/24: 71 in 1985; all-time Feb record is also 71F
Altoona 2/24: 69 in 1985; all-time Feb record is 74F
Bradford 2/24: 59 in 1961; all-time Feb record is 64F
Most 60 degree days in February at Harrisburg. Based on the
latest forecast, add 4 more days to the list and finish tied
for second with 7 days.
1. 10 days in 1976
2. 7 days in 1930
3. 5 days in 1991, 1943
5. 4 days in 1997, 1985, 1954, 1939
9. 3 days in 2017, 2016, 1996, 1990, 1961, 1932, 1890
Warmest February on Record (Avg. Temperature through 2/21)
Harrisburg: 2017 rank=4 (38.6)
1. 40.4 in 1998
2. 39.6 in 1976
3. 39.4 in 1954
Williamsport: 2017 rank=4 (35.4)
1. 37.0 in 1998
2. 36.1 in 1954
3. 35.6 in 2002
Altoona: 2017 rank=2 (36.5)
1. 37.4 in 1976
Evening cooling will be a little slower than last
Bradford: 2017 rank=6 (29.3)
1. 32.3 in 1998
2. 30.1 in 2002
3. 29.6 in 2012
4. 29.5 in 1990/1976