Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Wilmington, NC

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000 FXUS62 KILM 241422 AFDILM Area Forecast Discussion National Weather Service Wilmington NC 1022 AM EDT Sun Sep 24 2017 .SYNOPSIS... High pressure will maintain warm and dry weather today. Hurricane Maria is expected to move northward a couple of hundred miles east of Cape Fear Monday through Wednesday. Hazardous boating conditions, strong rip currents, and high surf are all expected to develop. A cold front is expected to reach the area Friday, bringing cooler weather for next weekend. && .NEAR TERM /THROUGH TONIGHT/...
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As of 1020 AM Sunday...Maria is far off the GA/FL coast with a large area of mid/upper ridging from the Great Lakes to New England and portions of the Mid-Atlantic. High level moisture is increasing across the area while the lower and middle levels remain dry. In fact the low-level moisture axis will remain offshore for a while longer given the trajectory. Overall, no POPs required with this update, and only cosmetic changes made to the wind and temperatures. High risk of rip currents continues along with the High Surf Advisory. Water levels at the downtown gauge should fall just short of minor coastal flood thresholds with the early afternoon high tide.
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&& .SHORT TERM /MONDAY THROUGH TUESDAY NIGHT/... As of 300 AM Sunday...All eyes will be focused on Hurricane Maria, moving northward across the western Atlantic on Monday. After making some precipitous shifts westward over the past couple of days, this morning`s new model runs seem to have stabilized on the idea of Maria moving northward along 73.5-74.0 degrees west longitude which would keep the center of the hurricane about 220 miles east of Cape Fear at its closest approach. The upper air pattern on Monday will feature a closed 500 mb high over the Great Lakes, the Bermuda Ridge well offshore, and the rapidly weakening remnant upper low of former Hurricane Jose in between. As Jose`s low dissipates, the two ridges will bridge together. This large "wall" of high pressure should stop Maria from accelerating out to the northeast as so many western Atlantic storms do, and instead will cause a much slower north- northwestward motion toward the Gulf Stream off the Carolina coast. Given the current track and intensity of Maria, we`re forecasting N/NE winds to reach 15-25 mph with some 30 mph gusts both Monday and Tuesday, highest along the coast. Moisture should remain fairly limited this far west of the storm`s center and we`re only forecasting 20-30 percent rain chances near the coast Monday night into Tuesday, with virtually no chance of rain for the I-95 counties. There are still some model ensemble tracks that would give us much higher winds and rain chances, and this situation continues to bear watching. && .LONG TERM /WEDNESDAY THROUGH SATURDAY/... As of 300 PM Saturday...the big question will be how far offshore will Maria stay. The latest global models continue to show the center of Maria slowing down and staying just offshore Cape Hatteras middle of next week. A trough of low pressure will pick up Maria and carries it out to sea by late next week. At the surface a cold front will move into the eastern Carolinas and offshore by Friday. Cooler temperatures and drier air will move into the region for Saturday. At this time only a chance of showers is expected on the western fringe of Maria during mid-week. With the best chances along the coast mainly north of Little River, SC. There will be a slight chance of precipitation late Thursday and Friday. High temperatures Tuesday through Thursday will be in the middle to upper 80s but as the front approaches maximum temperatures fall into the lower 80s Friday and the upper 70s on Saturday. Low temperatures are expected to be in the upper 60s to around 70 Tuesday night and Wednesday night. Lows Friday are expected to fall into the lower to middle 60s. && .AVIATION /12Z SUNDAY THROUGH THURSDAY/... As of 11Z...High pressure over the Great Lakes will maintain VFR conditions through the day. Deep northeasterly winds dry out quite a bit with height, so although there will be some scattered cumulus clouds developing this afternoon with bases around 4000 feet, a subsidence inversion should cap these clouds by 6000 feet with no potential of deeper growth. Breezy northeast winds should exceed 12 knots along the coast today, but models do not suggest enough wind energy within the 5000-foot mixed layer to support significant gusts. VFR conditions tonight could turn MVFR in the ILM vicinity late as low stratus 1000-1500 feet AGL developing across far-eastern North Carolina begins to slide southwestward. Extended Outlook...MVFR/IFR in fog and stratus possible during the morning hours Monday, particularly near ILM. Brief MVFR conditions may develop at the coastal airports as Hurricane Maria brings isolated showers Tue-Wed as it moves N, with its center remaining well offshore. N winds may increase to 15 to 25 kt Monday Night through Wednesday. && .MARINE...
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NEAR TERM /THROUGH TONIGHT/... As of 1020 AM Sunday...High pressure over the eastern Great Lakes continues to ridge southward while Maria moves northward. This pattern will maintain a northeasterly fetch that will increase across the coastal waters while large swells also increase in height and power through tonight. A Small Craft Advisory will remain in effect through all of the waters. The northeast fetch generated higher frequency wind waves will create steep conditions as they superimpose with Maria`s swells. SHORT TERM /MONDAY THROUGH TUESDAY NIGHT/... As of 300 AM Sunday...All eyes will be focused on Hurricane Maria, moving northward across the western Atlantic on Monday. After making some precipitous shifts westward over the past couple of days, this morning`s new model runs seem to have stabilized on the idea of Maria moving northward along 73.5-74.0 degrees west longitude which would keep the center of the hurricane about 220 miles east of Cape Fear at its closest approach. Assuming this track is correct and assuming the model`s depiction of Maria`s wind field is correct, tropical storm-force winds could remain just outside of our coastal waters in the Cape Fear and Grand Strand areas. Northeasterly winds should back around to the north on Tuesday with wind speeds generally in the 20-30 knot range, highest near and north of Cape Fear. It`s worth bearing mind that any significant shift westward in Maria`s track would bring 35 knot winds into the Cape Fear coastal waters. What is completely certain is that exceptionally large swells generated by Maria will move through the coastal waters Monday through Tuesday. Wave heights of 6-9 feet south of Cape Fear and 8-12 feet north of Cape Fear are currently in our forecast. Peak swell periods around 14 seconds imply extremely long wave lengths. These waves will begin to feel bottom in fairly deep water, and breaking waves will occur miles from shore in some spots. Breakers should occur along the entire length of Frying Pan Shoals even 30 miles from shore! It`s situations like these that have earned us the name "Graveyard of the Atlantic." LONG TERM /WEDNESDAY THROUGH THURSDAY/... As of 300 PM Saturday...Winds will shift to the northwest on Wednesday. Seas are expected to range from 5 to 9 feet north Cape Fear and drop down to 4 to 6 feet south of Cape Fear on Wednesday, subsiding on Thursday as Maria moves away from the area.
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&& .ILM WATCHES/WARNINGS/ADVISORIES...
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SC...High Rip Current Risk through late tonight for SCZ054-056. High Surf Advisory until 8 PM EDT Monday for SCZ054-056. NC...High Rip Current Risk through late tonight for NCZ106-108-110. High Surf Advisory until 8 PM EDT Monday for NCZ106-108-110. MARINE...Small Craft Advisory until 6 PM EDT Wednesday for AMZ250- 252-254-256.
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&& $$ NEAR TERM...SRP SHORT TERM...TRA LONG TERM...DRH AVIATION...TRA

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