Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Raleigh/Durham, NC

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000 FXUS62 KRAH 221951 AFDRAH Area Forecast Discussion National Weather Service Raleigh NC 350 PM EDT Sat Apr 22 2017 .SYNOPSIS... A cold front will settle south through srn VA and nrn NC this afternoon, then south through central NC tonight. The front will stall over southeastern NC by Sunday, in advance of a slow-moving area of low pressure that will track along the coast of the Carolinas through Mon night. && .NEAR TERM /THROUGH TONIGHT/...
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As of 1145 AM Saturday... Little change in forecast rationale and expected sensible weather through tonight. Downstream of a mid-upper low that will deepen as it tracks from south-central MO to west-central TN/KY by 12Z Sun, a series of low amplitude disturbances in WSW flow aloft will track ene across the srn Middle Atlantic states and Carolinas, with an associated corridor of steady 20-30m/12 hr mid level height falls, through tonight. At the surface, a synoptic cold front stretched from the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay wwd through srn VA, then swwd across central TN/nwrn MS/nrn LA/sern TX. This front --which will become diabatically-enhanced by convection likely to form along both a differential heating cloud band near the VA/NC state line and other convection forced along the Blue Ridge and outflow from earlier TN Valley convection-- will settle slowly swd today, to the nrn NC Piedmont and nrn Coastal Plain late this afternoon and early this evening (between 4 pm and 9 pm), and likely be accompanied by a weak lee surface wave forecast to develop over swrn VA this afternoon. Warm and breezy conditions will continue to develop through early afternoon. Strong diurnal heating, with temperatures comparable to those of Fri (well into the 80s, to around 90 degrees over the Sandhills), and surface dewpoints in the middle 50s to lower 60s and maximized along the aforementioned cold front, will yield weak, to perhaps moderate instability immediately south of the approaching front, by mid afternoon. A relative minimum in low level moisture and MLCAPE will likely manifest over the srn Piedmont and Sandhills, as a pocket of lower 0-1 km mean mixing ratios sampled by the 12Z FFC RAOB advects newd, and downward. As such, the greatest concentration and intensity of resultant showers and storms will occur along the approaching front, focused initially over southside VA, before drifting swd across the NC state line late this afternoon. However, isolated to more widely scattered activity may also fire along any soil/surface moisture gradients resulting from earlier convection Fri-Fri night. 25-40 kts of WSWly mid level flow, strongest north, will favor multi- cell storm modes, and probably a few supercells in the vicinity of the front and preceding the aforementioned weak lee surface wave, where locally backed low level flow and shear will become maximized and yield perhaps 100-150 m2/s2 effective srh. While mean storm motion will be around 210-220/30kts, right-moving storm motion vectors will be closer to 260-270 degrees and consequently be aligned more parallel to the approaching cold front. So while strong to marginally severe wind gusts would be favored with multi-cellular storms, any supercells --near the VA border-- will also be capable of producing hail, and perhaps a tornado owing to updraft propagation contribution from both shear/dynamical influences and surface boundary ones, which would favor storm motion roughly along the relatively helicity-rich front. Post-frontal low overcast, patchy light rain/showers, and and gusty post-frontal NEly winds, will develop behind the synoptic surface front as it settles south through central NC tonight. Showers will become numerous to widespread late tonight, as a vort max now crossing LA nears from the sw. Cooler, with lows in the upper 40s to around 50 degrees nw to around 60 degrees se.
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&& .SHORT TERM /SUNDAY THROUGH TUESDAY/...
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As of 350 PM Saturday... ...Flood Watch from midnight tonight through Monday night at midnight... The beginning of a long duration rain event will be underway over the western and central Piedmont by 12z/Sunday. The mid/upper trough is forecast to become negatively tilted during this period as it drifts ESE from the Tennesse Valley region across the southern Mid- Atlantic states. At the surface, a backdoor cold front will also begin Sunday either over far southern NC or near the NC/SC border region. This will place nearly all, if not all of central NC in the cooler stable air. Models suggest that a surface low pressure will be located over NW Georgia around 12z/Sunday, then move east across eastern GA and SC Sunday PM. As the low pressure slowly strengthens as it moves east across SC Sunday night and Monday, the low level boundary should back NW and just inland of the coast Monday. This still leaves central NC on the cool, wet side of the boundary with copious amounts of very moist warm air advection from off the Gulf Stream and western Atlantic expected to ride up and over the frontal zone. This occurs as the mid/upper system becomes more negatively tilted as it essentially crawls eastward, just to our south Sunday night and Monday. The heaviest rain is expected to fall along and north of the frontal zone through the period as the strong dynamic forcing slowly advances east across the area. This will place the Piedmont and Sandhills in the heaviest rain Sunday. The heaviest rain is forecast to spread east with time, covering much of our region Sunday night into Monday. Models are not as robust with the elevated instability Sunday night and Monday as they are on Sunday. However, the influx of very high precipitable waters off the Gulf Stream and western Atlantic should will aid in heavy rainfall at that time. The threat of flooding will be the main hazard with this system since our region will be in the more stable area north of the main frontal zone. QPF storm total for the entire event is on the order of 3-5 inches, with potentially 6 inches locally. The main time frame for the heaviest rain should be from midnight tonight through midnight Monday night. Flash Flood Guidance numbers will lower with time, which are currently running high. 6 hour FFG is on the order of 2.5 to 3 inches, and this will lower to around 1.5 inches by Sunday afternoon. Urban areas have much lower thresholds, and they will become an issue well before the rural locations. The soils, which have recently been dry will become wet and saturated with the showers/storms this evening into Sunday. This will lead to runoff issues with the widespread heavy rain Sunday afternoon through Monday evening. Gusty NE winds will be felt in all zones with sustained winds of 15-25 mph, gusts to 30-35 Sunday into Monday. Less important forecast parameters include the temperature forecast which will be much cooler with the heavy rain and breezy NE winds. Highs Sunday should only be in the 50s/60s NW/SE both Sunday and Monday. Lows will be only about 5-7 degrees lower than daily maxes, if that. The heaviest rain should move offshore on Tuesday or Tuesday evening, with the threat of moderate river flooding on the main stem rivers expected into late week.
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&& .LONG TERM /TUESDAY NIGHT THROUGH SATURDAY/...
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As of 345 PM EDT Saturday... Much warmer air associated with a building subtropical mid level ridge can be expected late week into the weekend when highs should solidly get into the 80s.
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&& .AVIATION /18Z SATURDAY THROUGH THURSDAY/... As of 155 PM Saturday... VFR conditions and a warm and breezy SW wind will prevail outside of scattered thunderstorms that will grow in coverage and intensity, -- both greatest over the nrn Piedmont as storms over swrn VA/nwrn NC propagate east along a cold front drifting south across srn VA-- during the next couple hours. MVFR ceilings, showers, and gusty post- frontal NEly winds will develop behind, and with the passage of, the front this evening through early tonight. Those conditions, which may dip into IFR range by Sun morning at Piedmont sites, where coverage of showers will also be greatest, will then likely continue through the day Sun. Outlook: A prolonged period of rain/showers and sub-VFR ceilings and visibilities --in springtime cold air damming-- can be expected through Tue, as an area of low pressure tracks east along the aforementioned front, then slowly up the coast of the Carolinas. Conditions will be slow to improve as the coastal low drifts only slowly away from our region, with a return to VFR late Tue or early Wed. && .RAH WATCHES/WARNINGS/ADVISORIES...
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Flood Watch: NCZ007>011-021>028-038>043-073>078-083>086-088-089-230900- All Central NC zones from midnight tonight through 12z/Tuesday.
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&& $$ SYNOPSIS...MWS NEAR TERM...MWS SHORT TERM...Badgett LONG TERM...Badgett AVIATION...MWS

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