Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Wilmington, NC

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000 FXUS62 KILM 250802 AFDILM Area Forecast Discussion National Weather Service Wilmington NC 302 AM EST Sat Feb 25 2017 .SYNOPSIS...
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Warm air will prevail across the Carolinas today. A cold front approaching from the west will move off the coast this evening. Cooler and drier air high pressure will spread into the area tonight and persist through Monday. Shower chances will increase Monday night and early Tuesday as a warm front lifts north across the area. Much warmer temperatures will follow the front Tuesday and Wednesday before the next cold front moves offshore Thursday. Temperatures will drop to near to slightly below normal Friday as a cooler and drier air mass builds over the area.
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&& .NEAR TERM /THROUGH TONIGHT/...
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As of 3 AM Saturday...One final day of unseasonably warm temperatures is expected before a cold front brings us back to reality tomorrow. Today`s highs are expected to reach the lower 80s inland, with 70s closer to the ocean due to cool nearshore water temperatures. Southwesterly winds will increase today ahead of the front, likely gusting to over 25 mph this afternoon. Record highs today, February 25... Wilmington 81 set in 1930 Florence 78 set in 1977 North Myrtle Beach 77 set in 1949 Precipitation potential is low today owing to shallow moisture depth, a capping inversion between 7000-10000 feet AGL, and virtually all of the upper dynamics shearing out far to the north. I do expect there will be plenty of cumulus and even towering cumulus around late this morning into this afternoon, however the lid of warm air around 7000 feet should stop these updrafts from becoming taller. The latest several HRRR runs look very reasonable showing a line of sprinkles racing eastward across the eastern Carolinas this afternoon between 1-4 PM. Relatively shallow convective cloud depths and fast forward movement should keep precip totals in the trace category for most locations. Better precip potential will exist across the northern half of North Carolina where moisture depth will be greater and the warm air cap will be less prevalent, allowing for greater convective depth. Behind the cold front this evening, winds will shift northwesterly as much colder and drier air moves in. By morning lows should reach the lower to middle 40s, with some upper 30s possible west of I-95.
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&& .SHORT TERM /SUNDAY THROUGH MONDAY NIGHT/...
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As of 3 AM Saturday...High pressure centered over east Tennessee on Sunday morning will move over the area Sunday afternoon, then offshore Sunday night. Even with full sunshine highs will only barely reach 60 degrees on Sunday, slightly below normal and the coolest we`ve been since February 16th. Good radiational cooling conditions with the high just offshore Sunday night should allow temperatures to fall into the 30s away from the beaches. It`s not impossible some of the normally colder interior locations could see some patchy frost. Southeasterly return flow behind the departing high will strengthen Monday. An approaching positively-tiled upper disturbance will encounter the low-level warm advection across the Carolinas Monday night, leading to cloudy skies and an increasing potential for showers. PoPs have been increased to 50-60 percent for what should be a fairly light precipitation event.
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&& .LONG TERM /TUESDAY THROUGH FRIDAY/...
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As of 3 AM Saturday...Warm front in the vicinity Tue morning will lift north of the area, taking the bulk of the showers ongoing at the start of the period with it. Weak mid level ridging expands north Tue and Wed as Bermuda High builds back west. Although mid level subsidence and dry air aloft will be present, a warm and moist boundary layer may allow for at least a few afternoon showers each day, especially along the sea breeze. Temperatures will be well above normal with highs approaching 80 and lows around 60. Strong cold front is driven across the area late Wed night/early Thu, accompanied by showers and isolated thunderstorms. Morning timing of fropa will limit available instability but the front will have plenty of forcing associated with it. Moisture return ahead of the front is limited which will affect storm coverage and rainfall totals. Strong cold advection follows the front with temperatures dropping in the afternoon Thu. Winds at the top of the mixed layer will be around 30 kt with RH aloft dropping into the single digits. Mixing could lead dry and breezy conditions Thu afternoon. Canadian high continues to build in from the northwest Fri with temperatures dipping a little below normal for the end of the period.
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&& .AVIATION /08Z SATURDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY/... As of 06Z...Conditions currently VFR but moisture profiles support fog tonight with good saturation below 500 ft. LIFR conditions are likely after 08Z. Fog should dissipate by 13z with increasing SW flow becoming more westerly aft 20z. Between 00Z and 04Z Sunday winds will become NW at area terminals. A potential fly in the ointment though will be the onset of more southerly flow along the coast toward 12Z. As low level winds veer late tonight, there is the potential for low stratus to move in over the fog at the coastal terminals. This could do 2 things. First, vsbys will likely be higher but cigs will remain IFR or LIFR. Second, the improvement to VFR could be delayed at coastal terminals during the morning. Attm confidence is low in this scenario. Extended Outlook...VFR. VSBY and ceilings lowered to MVFR/IFR with pcp Mon night into Tues and again with SHWRs on Wed. && .MARINE...
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NEAR TERM /THROUGH TONIGHT/... As of 3 AM Saturday...The Carolina coastal waters are in a region of very light winds between two regions of low pressure: one several hundred miles east of the Outer Banks, and the pressure trough surrounding a cold front over Tennessee. As the front approaches the region later today, southwesterly winds will increase to 15-20 kt. The front should move offshore and across the coastal waters this evening, followed by gusty northwest winds overnight as colder air builds in. Buoys are still showing a significant easterly swell affecting the waters. Seas at Frying Pan Shoals are nearly 7 feet, entirely in a 9- second easterly swell. This swell will diminish only slowly today, but increasing short period wind chop may make boating conditions rather unpleasant. The Small Craft Advisory has been extended for the NC waters through tonight, and an exercise caution headline will be posted for the SC waters as soon as the advisory expires there. SHORT TERM /SUNDAY THROUGH MONDAY NIGHT/... As of 3 AM Saturday...High pressure centered over Tennessee on Sunday morning will move overhead Sunday afternoon, then offshore Sunday night. Veering winds Monday into Monday night will develop as the high moves farther offshore. LONG TERM /TUESDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY/... As of 3 AM Saturday...Warm front in the area Tue morning lifts north as Bermuda High expands west. Southwest flow will persist through the forecast period with speeds 10 to 15 kt on Tue. Gradient tightens up Wed, ahead of approaching cold front, with speeds increasing to 15 to 20 kt by midday Wed. Seas 2 to 4 ft Tue into Wed build to 3 to 5 ft later Wed.
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&& .ILM WATCHES/WARNINGS/ADVISORIES...
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SC...None. NC...None. MARINE...Small Craft Advisory until 6 AM EST early this morning for AMZ254-256. Small Craft Advisory until 6 AM EST Sunday for AMZ250-252.
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&& $$ NEAR TERM...TRA SHORT TERM...TRA LONG TERM...III AVIATION...TRA

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