Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Wilmington, NC

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000 FXUS62 KILM 210836 AFDILM Area Forecast Discussion National Weather Service Wilmington NC 336 AM EST Wed Feb 21 2018 .SYNOPSIS...
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Unseasonably warm and humid conditions will persist through the weekend as Bermuda high pressure dominates the weather across the eastern Carolinas. Temperatures will remain well above normal with highs near record levels through Sunday. A cold front will bring a chance of showers Sunday night or Monday, with temperatures cooling back toward normal by Tuesday.
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&& .NEAR TERM /THROUGH TONIGHT/...
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As of 300 AM Wednesday...Southerly return flow around Bermuda High will continue to produce unseasonably warm and humid conditions across the area. This pattern is more typical of summertime with dewpoint temps up and overnight lows closer to 60 and daytime highs pushing 80. As we radiate out, the shallow moisture will continue to produce fog across the area. The fog seems more patchy than last night, but many spots have seen intermittent visibilities less than a mile. Expect a similar outcome today, with fog lifting into some strato cu by mid to late morning and then increasing sunshine this afternoon. A few showers were running up through the coastal waters but ridge aloft will maintain plenty of subsidence and dry air through the mid to upper levels with moisture limited to 5 to 6 kft or below. Therefore will keep pops out of the forecast although a stray shower may brush the coastal counties. Temps will once again, reach near or record breaking highs this afternoon as ridge aloft and plenty of WAA produce readings up near 80 most places away from the beaches. The 850 temps will remain right around 14 to 15C through the period. Expect another night of decent radiational fog with patchy dense fog once again. Temps will drop to within a couple of degrees of 60 most places, which is more representative of max temps this time of year. Records for today 2/21 include, ILM 78 in 2014, FLO 81 in 1997, and CRE 76 in 1953.
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&& .SHORT TERM /THURSDAY THROUGH FRIDAY NIGHT/...
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As of 300 AM Wednesday...The Forecast Area will remain under the influence of a strong, but slowly weakening Western Atlantic Ridge. The ridge will slowly shift S as we progress from Thu into Fri. A backdoor cold front is expected to stall N of the area Fri before moving back to the north. Subsidence should continue to largely suppress convection, but moisture does grow a little deeper which should allow for greater vertical depth to the cumulus field. Low level moisture remains high and guidance continues to support fog/low stratus development, especially during the late night and early morning hours. Will include patchy fog in the gridded forecast at this time, although at least some of this fog will likely become dense. The theme remains the same regarding sea fog as well. Dewpoints remain marginally favorable while the prevailing wind direction veers slightly to become a little more favorable as compared to recent days. Will portray patchy fog lingering at the beaches longest each morning and developing soonest during the late eve. Highs will be around 80 each afternoon with a sharp temp gradient near the coast due to marine influences. Highs at the beaches will be about 10 degrees cooler. Lows will be in the upper 50s and lower 60s. Record highs should continue to be challenged or broken... 02/22 City High Temperature Forecast/Daily Record High Wilmington 79/78 in 2003 Florence 82/80 in 1990 N Myrtle Beach 74/75 in 2007 Lumberton 81/78 in 2003 02/23 City High Temperature Forecast/Daily Record High Wilmington 78/80 in 1975 Florence 81/83 in 1975 N Myrtle Beach 75/74 in 2017 Lumberton 80/78 in 1971
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&& .LONG TERM /SATURDAY THROUGH TUESDAY/...
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As of 300 PM Tuesday...An exceptional upper level ridge will remain anchored off the East Coast through this weekend. Model consensus 500 mb heights peak on Wednesday at 593 dam along the coast, nearly 3 standard deviations above normal, and among the highest values ever measured this early in the year. Nestled beneath this upper ridge will be the Bermuda high at the surface. This summerlike feature will maintain a south- southwesterly wind across the Carolinas and with very warm conditions continuing. Record high temperatures could occur on Sunday ahead of a cold front, with highs all weekend ranging from the upper 70s to lower 80s away from the cooler beaches. A strong subsidence inversion Saturday should keep the area dry despite what should be plenty of cumulus around. By Sunday an upper trough shearing northward as it moves into the ridge may punch a large enough hole in the inversion to allow some deeper convection to develop. As the cold front moves through the area early Monday, the GFS and Canadian models suggest more showers could develop in a brief period of overrunning behind the front, however the ECMWF is dry. All models show the front should be far enough south by Tuesday for drier weather to develop with temperatures falling much closer to normal.
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&& .AVIATION /06Z WEDNESDAY THROUGH SUNDAY/...
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As of 06Z...Another night of low vsbys in fog across the terminals. Although the vsbys may fluctuate, expect periods of LIFR vsbys and VV around 200 to 300 ft mainly between 07z and 13z. Shortly after sunrise LIFR fog will lift, and IFR/MVFR vsbys and cigs will improver by 15z across most terminals, leaving some mainly VFR strato cu across the area this afternoon with plenty of dry air and subsidence through the mid levels. Soundings show potential for some broken clouds around 5k this afternoon. A light southerly return flow up to 5 to 10 kts in the aftn will persist as Bermuda High remains in place. Extended Outlook...VFR. Morning IFR/BR possible through Thur am. Sea fog possible through Thu but confidence is low.
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&& .MARINE...
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NEAR TERM /THROUGH TONIGHT/... As of 300 AM Wednesday...Light southerly flow around Bermuda High will persist through tonight. Expect winds to remain 10 kts or less except a spike in winds in the afternoon due to sea breeze. Expect seas to hold around 2 to 3 ft most waters with a slight increase in SE swell through the period. This very warm and moist air over the cool shelf waters will produce sea fog which could become dense at times. SHORT TERM /THURSDAY THROUGH FRIDAY NIGHT/... As of 300 AM Wednesday...The coastal waters will remain under the influence of a strong, but slowly weakening Western Atlantic Ridge. The ridge will slowly shift S as we progress from Thu into Fri. A backdoor cold front is expected to stall N of the area Fri before moving back to the north. The biggest hazard to mariners will be sea fog. We have included patchy fog in the gridded forecast through the period. Sea surface temps will be in the mid to perhaps upper 50s. Dewpoints, while unseasonably high for late Feb, will only be marginally conducive for sea fog development. However, the wind direction will veer slightly which will allow for slightly better residence times over the cool shelf waters. Benign wind and sea conditions will persist. The wind direction will be S to SW at 10 kt or less although wind speeds may briefly reach 10 to 15 kt across the near shore waters due to the afternoon seabreeze circulation. Seas will be 2 to 4 ft. LONG TERM /SATURDAY THROUGH SUNDAY/... As of 300 PM Tuesday...High pressure will remain anchored off the East Coast between Cape Fear and Bermuda through the weekend. This should maintain a south-southwesterly wind direction through the period. As a cold front crosses the southern Appalachians Sunday, our pressure gradient will tighten substantially. Relatively gentle winds Saturday should increase to around 20 knots on Sunday with seas building to a very choppy 5-6 feet.
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&& .ILM WATCHES/WARNINGS/ADVISORIES... SC...None. NC...None. MARINE...None. && $$ NEAR TERM...RGZ SHORT TERM...RJD LONG TERM...TRA AVIATION...RGZ

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