Area Forecast Discussion
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FXUS61 KRNK 221454
Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Blacksburg VA
954 AM EST Sun Jan 22 2017
A warm front south of the area will continue to be the focus
for periods of rain today. A strong area of low pressure over
the Mid Mississippi valley will approach from the west tonight
bringing a period of moderate to heavy rain. This low pressure
system will slide slowly east across across the area Monday
before exiting Monday night.
.NEAR TERM /THROUGH TONIGHT/...
As of 954 AM EST Sunday...Composite radar imagery reveals very
light radar echoes arcing east-southeastward across the
southwestern part of the forecast area. It`s now clear that
model guidance QPF fields for the Today period are vastly
overdone, as northward advection of deeper moisture content
(PWATs in excess of 1") has been confined ("robbed" is probably
the best way to call it) to ongoing stronger convective complex
extending along the Carolina coastline into southern GA/FL
Panhandle. Nearly all CAM model output suggests that ongoing
light precip band is all that our forecast area really sees
until tonight, as dry punch moves in aloft from the eastern TN
valley. Only the 12z HRRR shows any showery precip increasing
again by 21z into the North Carolina high country, with the
greater slug of QPF associated with warm frontal zone that
advects northward after dark.
So I`ve followed that consensus and have essentially nowcasted
that area of light precip northeastward through the afternoon.
Patchy drizzle and fog apt to precede and taking place behind
this light precip band as low-level inversion associated with
wedge/CAD remains in place. This is a high-PoP, low-QPF scenario
and I`ve also reduced QPF down significantly for today as best
Little significant warm-up is anticipated today and earlier idea
of undercutting MOS guidance looks good. Therefore, I`ve made no
alterations to temps with this update.
Previous near-term discussion issued earlier this morning
Upper closed low over the Red River Valley (TX/OK) border will
move across Arkansas today, and into the TN valley by this
evening. A 995 mb surface low will move east, deepening to near
985 mb as it reaches the southern Appalachians tonight. A warm
front which extends east of the low will move north into our
region today. An area of rain will move north along the warm
front, crossing the forecast area from southwest to northeast.
Elevated convection will result in some intermittent higher
rainfall rates embedded within the area of rain that passes
through the forecast area today. Rainfall amounts between 7A-7P
are expected to average between 0.25 to 0.50. As for thunderstorms,
it appears the greatest threat for storms today will remain
south of the forecast area across the Deep South and possibly
as far north as TN/NC. Forecast elevated CAPE for our CWA
approaches 100 j/kg across our southern CWA later this morning,
but coverage is just not enough to warrant mention of thunder
(at least not for the daylight hours) in the today portion of
the forecast. Temperatures today will change very little (maybe
a 3 to 5 degree rise), the forecast area spending most of the
day on the north side (cool side) of the warm front.
For Tonight: The surface low will have deepened about 10 mb on
its trek from Arkansas to the border of TN/NC, resulting in a
second wave of rain which will cross the forecast area during
the overnight. Upward vertical motion will significantly
increase courtesy of the upper low, forecast elevated CAPE
increasing to around 500 j/kg. This increase in elevated
instability is enough to support mention of thunder in the
forecast for tonight, this elevated deep convection enhancing
the rainfall rates and resulting in periods of moderate to heavy
The storm prediction center has maintained a Marginal/5% severe
and Slight/15% severe across our southeastern CWA for tonight,
which primarily impacts to our Piedmont NC counties into the
southside of Virginia due to strong vertical wind profiles.
However only very marginal if any surface-based CAPE will exist
this far north latitude with much of the already modest
instability being elevated. Potential is there for thunder but
given the limited amount of instability due to the low level
stable air over the forecast, not thinking we`ll see anything
severe within the confines of the RNK CWA. A conditionally
greater risk for stronger cells remains well to the south from
central NC to FL and as reflected in SPC`s Day-1 Convective
Outlook with implications for Supercell Storms and Tornadoes.
Our greatest hazard for the central Appalachians looks to be
potential for heavy rainfall. Models suggest upwards of an inch,
maybe two due to the embedded deep convection. There will be a
period tonight when the wind flow is out of the southeast, so
it`s not out of the question for some locally higher rain
amounts to occur along the eastern slopes of the Blue Ridge per
added rain efficiency from the upslope wind flow. See the
Hydro section which speaks more to the hydrologic aspect.
Temperatures tonight will change very little...although could
sneak up a degree or two per the encroachment of the warm front
across the NC Piedmont.
.SHORT TERM /MONDAY THROUGH MONDAY NIGHT/...
As of 330 AM EST Sunday...
On Monday, a closed upper level low will make gradual progress
northeast across our region. Various model guidance solutions are
converging on a solution that passes the center of it over the
southeast part of the area. This trajectory will allow for the best
chance of precipitation along the western and northern flanks of the
region in alignment with the associated deformation zone.
By Monday evening, the center of the low will be lifting northeast
out of the region, and northwest winds on the backside of the system
will start to increase across the area. This will help maintain
upslope precipitation across the mountains with areas east of the
Blue Ridge starting to see less cloud cover as subsidence
increases. Enough cooler air may reach the higher elevations between
southeast West Virginia and the Northern Mountains of North Carolina
for a mix with, or change to, light snow showers. The bulk of the
precipitation across the mountains will remain as rain showers.
Gusty conditions are expected across the area by late Monday night
into Tuesday as northwest 850mb flow increases to around 40 to 45
kts. Numbers are subject to change, but the latest indications are
that gusts of 25 to 35 mph will be common across the mountains, with
the highest elevations approaching 50 mph gusts. This most likely
locations for the strongest wind gusts is still the Northern
Mountains of North Carolina, north into the Grayson Highlands of
southwest Virginia. Across the Piedmont, gusts of 15 to 25 mph will
be more likely. Upslope rain/snow show showers will continue during
the day Tuesday, but coverage and intensity will decrease as the day
progresses thanks to drier air entering the region.
Tuesday night into Wednesday, and upper ridge will move east of the
region, allowing for low level winds to transition to being
southwest or west. No precipitation is expected Tuesday night into
By Wednesday night, a cold front will be approaching from the west.
To our south, guidance varies to the degree which a disturbance
moves northeast within the southwest flow and adds a tongue of
moisture and instability in advance of the front. The GFS offers a
solution is more robust for precipitation across our area as
compared to its European counterpart. Our forecast will reflect an
average of the two, and offer a drier version of the GFS.
Temperatures during this portion of the forecast will continue to
remain very mild for this time of the year, averaging around fifteen
degrees above normal.
.LONG TERM /TUESDAY THROUGH SATURDAY/...
As of 330 AM EST Sunday...
Return to more winterlike conditions will ensue by weeks end with a
cold frontal passage by Thursday ahead of a broad longwave trough
that will drop south into the region and persist into next weekend.
However latest guidance not nearly as strong or deep with this
feature making for more Canadian type air vs. much colder thickness
seen yesterday that was supportive of Arctic air. However will see
persistent cold advection develop by Thursday with weak passing
shortwaves gradually helping to bring in colder air aloft by
Saturday. A band of showers possible along/behind the front Thursday
into Thursday night although iffy given only sheared southern
energy. Therefore will only include a low pop shower mention
including possible western snow showers overnight. Otherwise will
evolve to mostly upslope driven clouds and periodic light snow
showers far west, to mainly clear/sunny east Friday into Saturday,
under a rather dry and more westerly flow driven environment. Highs
mostly 30s to around 40 mountains to mid 40s east into the
.AVIATION /15Z SUNDAY THROUGH THURSDAY/...
As of 1150 PM EST Saturday...
Poor flying conditions expected during the TAF valid period
with widespread IFR/LIFR in low clouds,fog and rain.
This evening into tonight, one area of rain has moved on to the
northeast, but light rain, drizzle, fog, and log clouds will be
left behind throughout the night with deterioriating
conditions. Expect ceilings and visibilities to drop to or
remain in the IFR to LIFR range at most TAF sites.
Second wave of steadier rainfall then looks to build from the
southwest during the morning hours Sunday probably arriving
after daybreak, with coverage of rain covering a larger portion
of our forecast airspace. There may be a break in this activity
during the afternoon, but another more significant wave of rain
and possibly thunder will arrive during the evening. These
rounds of rain are associated with a deep upper low moving
slowly through the southeast states currently responsible for
several waves of severe weather in the deep south. Due to low
forecast confidence in specific airports being affected by
thunder, did not mention in the TAF at this point, but the best
shot would be at KDAN. Expect flight categories to remain mostly
IFR to LIFR through 00z Monday due to low ceilings, with
visibilities 3-6 SM in rain briefly heavy at times.
Winds generally east-northeast to east-southeast through most
of the TAF period at speeds of 4-7kts, increasing and becoming
gusty at KBLF during the evening hours.
Low to medium confidence in ceilings and visibilities throughout
the TAF valid period.
Medium confidence in wind speed and direction throughout the TAF
Extended Aviation Discussion...
The slow moving and deep upper low will continue to affect the
area Monday with waves of rain, but the thunder threat should
have moved well east of the area by Monday. Expect sub-VFR
conditions to continue into Monday, but the activity will likely
become more showery in nature as the center of the upper low
drifts overhead and to the north of the region. The upper low
will finally move northeast of the region Tuesday resulting
in improving conditions, especially east of the Blue Ridge.
Gusty northwest winds are expected Tuesday as surface low
pressure deepens across the northeast U.S. High pressure will
finally spread into the region by Wednesday. A band of MVFR
showers possible along/behind the front Thursday into Thursday
As of 530 AM EST Saturday...
Periods of rain will impact the Blacksburg hydrologic service
today and tonight, lingering through Monday. 24 hour rainfall
amounts,ending 7AM Monday are expected to range from 1 to 2
inches, with isolated heavier amounts along the Blue Ridge.
Current expectation is for gradual main-stem river rises with
faster/greater response on smaller rivers/creeks, along with
some potential for ponding on roads and in areas of poor
drainage. The only river forecast point projected to reach or go
just above flood stage (Minor Flooding) is the Dan River at
South Boston. Since this is the only river forecast point and
there is still considerable uncertainty as to how much, if any,
we will exceed 2 inches of rainfall (which is what it would
take to cause flooding), will not issue a Flood Watch at the
present time. Worst case would be to have this 2 inches fall in
a shorter period of time or the upper low slow its forward
progress resulting in a longer duration of upslope flow with
rain amounts exceeding the 2 inches.