Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Wilmington, NC

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533 FXUS62 KILM 221314 AFDILM Area Forecast Discussion National Weather Service Wilmington NC 914 AM EDT Wed Mar 22 2017 .SYNOPSIS... A cool-down gets underway today as high pressure builds in through Friday from the north. As this high moves more offshore over the weekend a warm-up will ensue. Minor rain chances are expected Sunday as a weak upper disturbance passes well to our north. && .NEAR TERM /THROUGH THURSDAY/... As of 915 AM Wednesday...Obs show cold front is now well offshore along with any associated precip. An extensive layer of stratus following FROPA is now mainly covering our NC counties but this should break up by early afternoon. Given the strong cold surge following FROPA it is possible that we may not reach current forecast highs of mid to upper 60s. Will monitor trends and lower if necessary. Previous discussion follows: That was quite an MCS we had overnight! Reports of damaging winds within our forecast area have been limited to Darlington County, although we wouldn`t be surprised if damage also occurred across Dillon or even western Robeson counties. Reports typically trickle in after sunrise, so look for LSRs to be issued if and when we receive any additional reports. A wave of low pressure associated with the MCS will move off the NC coast by 5 AM. A cold front moving southward behind the low will sweep across southeastern NC and northeastern SC shortly thereafter. Drier air already in place across southern Virginia will spread southward, eroding any remaining low clouds by early afternoon. Breezy northeast winds will gust to 25 mph most of the day as low- level lapse rates steepen due to sunshine and cold advection. Highs should reach the lower-mid 60s over SE North Carolina, and 66-72 over NE South Carolina. Tonight: for the fifth time this month the airmass will become unseasonably cold and bring the potential of one or potentially two nights of freezing temperatures. A freeze watch has been issued for Pender and Bladen counties where the best potential of freezing temperatures will exist. Despite winds remaining in the 4-8 mph range for most locations overnight, 850 mb temps falling to 0C to -2C across SE North Carolina should result in low temperatures in the 30s for all but the immediate coast of South Carolina. Average temperatures this month have run around 4 degrees below normal, with multiple freeze events turning March 2017 into a nightmare for local farmers. && .SHORT TERM /THURSDAY NIGHT THROUGH FRIDAY NIGHT/... As of 300 AM Wednesday...Canadian high pressure over the Great Lakes will move down to the Mid-Atlantic coast Thursday, then offshore Friday. After a partly sunny and chilly day Thursday (highs only 55- 60) a gradual modification of the airmass will occur beginning Thursday night with 850 mb temps forecast to rise by several degrees as winds at this level turn southwesterly. Good radiational cooling Thursday night along with higher dewpoints will produce the potential for frost across the normally colder peat/pocosin areas of SE North Carolina. Depending on later forecasts, a Frost Advisory may be needed for at least Pender and Bladen counties. By Friday the surface high should be far enough offshore to allow southeasterly winds to develop across the entire area. Warmer and more humid air will spread onshore and highs should reach 70 degrees inland from the coast. && .LONG TERM /SATURDAY THROUGH TUESDAY/... As of 300 AM Wednesday... Return flow underway on Saturday expected to bring unseasonable warmth. Upper ridge axis should stay close enough to the coast to keep mid levels fairly dry. This changes fairly quickly Saturday night into Sunday and moisture depth may increase. Two large shortwaves try to impinge upon our upper ridge but appear to largely be shunted over it to the north. It appears that late period moisture depth may actually decrease. So while some minor late weekend rain chances may materialized they should dwindle heading into next week. Daytime highs will remain above climo, generally in the mid to upper 70s but trending towards 80 inland late in the period. Nighttime lows will similarly be mild, and the deviations from climo will tend to mirror the degree of cloud cover. && .AVIATION /13Z WEDNESDAY THROUGH SUNDAY/... As of 12Z...Overnight shower/t-storm activity has dissipated. Surface low pressure located about 60 miles NE of ILM will move out to sea today, dragging a cold front southward across the area. North-northeasterly winds developing behind this front will gust to 22-25 kt most of the day as colder air surges southward. Residual low clouds near the front will create the potential of MVFR/IFR ceilings now through 14-16Z along the coast. Upstream observations suggest ILM stands a better potential of seeing IFR conditions than the CRE or MYR airports. After 16Z drier air should dissipate any residual low clouds. Extended outlook...VFR. && .MARINE... NEAR TERM /THROUGH TONIGHT/... As of 915 AM Wednesday...A strong cold front is now moving south across the waters. As noted below expect winds will be picking up into the 20 to 25 kt range with 30 kt gusts. Small Craft Advisory remains in effect with no changes. Previous discussion follows: A wave of low pressure exiting the North Carolina coast this morning will allow a cold front to move southward across the waters beginning around sunrise. Behind this front, northeast winds will accelerate to 20-25 kt with a few gusts approaching 30 kt possible. The Small Craft Advisory has been advanced to begin at 7 AM when the surge of stronger winds may begin north of Cape Fear. Canadian high pressure up over the Great Lakes will maintain these breezy northeast winds through tonight and beyond. Seas currently only 2-4 feet will build to as high as 6-7 feet across open waters by this evening, maintaining that height through tonight. SHORT TERM /THURSDAY THROUGH FRIDAY NIGHT/... As of 300 AM Wednesday...The Canadian high will be situated across the Mid-Atlantic region Thursday morning and should move off the Virginia and Maryland coast Friday. As often occurs, a westward extension of this high will extend back across North Carolina. This will weaken our pressure gradient and keep wind directions from veering southeasterly as quickly as one might think. Small Craft Advisory conditions will probably persist into Thursday afternoon before diminishing Thursday evening. LONG TERM /SATURDAY THROUGH SUNDAY/... As of 300 AM Wednesday...The above normal temperatures will give a clue as to expected marine conditions. That is, the area will be in a return flow regime around sprawling Atlantic high pressure. Wind will thus be southerly and for the most part be capped at 10 kt though a few higher gusts certainly hard to rule out. A minor increase in the long shore swell energy could make for an increased presence of 4 ft seas along the outer portions later Sunday in an otherwise 2 to 3 ft wave environment. && .ILM WATCHES/WARNINGS/ADVISORIES... SC...None. NC...Freeze Watch from late tonight through Thursday morning for NCZ096-105. MARINE...Small Craft Advisory until 5 PM EDT Thursday for AMZ250-252- 254-256. && $$ SYNOPSIS...MBB NEAR TERM...REK/TRA SHORT TERM...TRA LONG TERM...MBB AVIATION...TRA MARINE...REK/TRA/MBB

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