Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Blacksburg, VA

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FXUS61 KRNK 211457

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Blacksburg VA
957 AM EST Sat Jan 21 2017

A warm frontal boundary situated across the Gulf Coast states
will move north today, moisture increasing across the southern
Appalachians with the potential for rain as far north as
southern West Virginia and Virgina by this evening. There will
be several surges of moisture that will flow northward from the
Gulf Coast this weekend, with the potential for the rain to be
moderate to heavy at times. The heaviest of the rain will occur
Sunday night into Monday as a bonafide area of low pressure
develops over the Mid-Mississippi Valley and moves northeast
across the area.


As of 957 AM EST Saturday...Dense fog still continues this
morning essentially from I-81 east into the Piedmont with
visibilities running between one-half and one-quarter mile.
Little improvement has been noted since this morning in spite of
sunshine trying to induce fog-top mixing. As I noted this
morning, the fog itself was very shallow and this is apparent to
some extent in area webcams at elevation where skies were
mostly clear above the fog layer. While visibility should
improve through the morning, we`ll be seeing increasing mid and
high clouds racing northeast into the afternoon on 60 kt mid-
level southwesterly winds (per 12z RNK RAOB) casts some question
as to how quickly visibility will fully clear. Though it may
only intermittently meet dense fog criteria during that period,
I`ve opted to extend the Dense Fog Advisory through noon.

Otherwise, I`ve adjusted/sharpened PoPs up for the mid to late
afternoon per a blend of recent HRRR, RAP and 12z NAM output.
Large shield of convective precip now across TN/GA looks to
advance northward in a degraded sense by mid to late afternoon.
Per consensus in high-resolution guidance, this would really
just be restricted to our North Carolina counties through 00z
Sunday, with only a slight/low Chance level PoP for parts of

Previous near term discussion issued at 445 AM Saturday follows...

Areas of dense fog were common from the New River and Greenbrier
Valleys, east across the Blue Ridge and into the Piedmont of
Virginia and North Carolina. The airmass over the eastern 2/3rds
of the forecast area is stable with shallow wedge of cool air,
clear skies, and moist ground helping to promote the fog. The
HRRR model suggests the fog will be stubborn to dissipate,
lingering as long as 10AM.

Today`s challenge will be high temperatures. Fog this morning
and increasing clouds from late morning into the afternoon may
keep temperatures from reaching their full potential in spite of
warmer air aloft. As such, went 2 to 5 degrees blo the MOS
forecast highs. Never the less, readings will still be 8 to 15
degrees above normal for Mid January. There are a couple of
record highs that may be tested today, Bluefield 60 and
Blacksburg 59. However, much will depend on how fast the fog
dissipates and the clouds increase this afternoon as to whether
these numbers can be tied or exceeded.

Today`s rain threat will come from the Gulf Coast Region. A
strong upper level disturbance, short wave trough, was ejecting
northeast from the Lower Mississippi Valley. Widespread showers
and Thunderstorms will be the result across much of the Deep
South, but some of this activity is forecast to surge as far
north as southern West Virginia and Virginia this evening,
although not expecting any thunderstorms this far north. Per
the west-east orientation of the warm front along the Gulf
Coast, think the bulk of the heavy rainfall and thunderstorms
will remain well south of our region. QFP amounts across our
forecast area will be significantly less with models suggesting
a quarter inch or less from this particular surge of moisture.
Onset looks to be mid to late afternoon today with the rain
lasting for about 4 to 6 hours before ending. Greatest
potential for rain will be east of the Interstate 81 corridor
with probabilities increasing substantially from eastern
Tennessee and North Carolina southward.

Once the rain threat abates during the late evening we will once
again be left with a moist ground and the potential for at least
patchy fog. Do not think we see any widespread clearing so
the probability for dense radiation cooling induced fog appears
to be less.

Another surge of moisture will arrive late tonight into Sunday.
The upper trough that is over the western United States is
littered with short wave energy from storm systems which
continue to pound the west coast. Yet another piece of energy
will eject northeast late tonight with rain overspreading the
area by daybreak Sunday, a precursor for more to come later
Sunday into Monday, each wave having the potential to produce
higher amounts of rain due to the increasing available moisture
flowing north from the Gulf Coast Region. By Sunday, a bonafide
area of low pressure will develop over the Mid-Mississippi
Valley, a feature that will have to be closely watched as it may
focus a much larger fetch of rain into our region leading to
the potential for excessive rainfall.


As of 345 AM EST Saturday...

During this portion of the forecast, the feature we will be watching
is a closed upper low that will track from the mid-Mississippi
Valley eastward, and then northeastward across our region. In
advance of this system, low level flow with Gulf of Mexico origins
will advance across our area. Contained within this southwest flow
will be individual shortwave troughs ahead of the main upper low.
A generous rainfall is expected during this portion of the forecast.

Anticipate distinct rounds of precipitation. The first will be during
the day Sunday, primarily the morning hours. After perhaps a six hour
decrease in coverage Sunday afternoon into early Sunday evening,
precipitation on the northeast flank of the parent upper low is
expected to arrive across the area. As Sunday night progresses, the
center of the upper low is progged to move northeast over the
forecast area. Guidance offers solutions that place first the
northern and the western flank deformation zones over the region,
with western sections of the area having the best chance for
continuous moderate rain heading into Monday morning.

By Monday afternoon and evening, the center of the low is expected
to heading northeast of the region with the flow over our region
becoming northwest. Latest guidance continues to ramp up the 850mb
winds across the region, maintaing upslope precipitation in the west
with wind speeds and gusts potentially reaching at least wind
advisory levels at the highest elevations across at least the
Northern Mountains of North Carolina. Another concern with the
stronger winds will be a greater chance of downed trees without
typical wind thresholds for doing so thanks to what will become very
saturated soils across the region.

Rainfall amounts within the Sunday through Monday night time frame
are expected to average between 1.50 and 2.00 inches, with locally
higher amounts near 2.50 inches along the crest of the Blue Ridge
and other higher peaks where a southeast upslope flow amplifies
precipitation production. With this amount of precipitation expected
over a multi-day period, localized flooding, as well as, rises or
rivers and streams towards the end of the period, or slightly after
the end of the period cannot be ruled out. This concern will
continue to be mentioned in the Hazardous Weather Outlook.

Cold air advection will also establish itself across the area, with
some of the precipitation in the west transitioning to light snow
across the higher elevations of southeast West Virginia, south into
the Northern Mountains of North Carolina late Monday night into
Tuesday morning.

Upslope rain/snow showers will continue into Tuesday night but with
decreasing coverage through the night. Winds will decrease as the
low level flow veers southwest as the axis of an upper ridge shifts
east of the region.

Isolated thunderstorms are possible at times during this portion of
the forecast. Currently we are watching Sunday and Sunday evening as
potential time frames across primarily the southern third of the
region based upon model forecast Lifted Indices slightly below zero,
and surface based CAPE of a few hundred J/KG.

Temperatures during this portion of the forecast will average
fifteen to twenty degrees above normal through Tuesday. Cooler, but
still above normal, temperatures are expected Tuesday night.


As of 415 PM EST Friday...

Shortwave ridging continues Wednesday into Wednesday night with weak
surface high pressure extending north into the region. This should
result in a period of dry/mild weather for midweek with highs well
above normal and likely 60s east of the mountains.

This will begin to mark the end of the period of above normal temps
and bring the reality of winter back as a longwave trough pushes
southeast and across the region by the end of the week. Cold front
preceding this upper trough will cross the region on Thursday which
will be the transition day to colder air that arrives on Friday.
Weak impulse sliding up ahead/along the boundary could produce a
band of rain/showers by Thursday morning before things switch to a
mainly mountain upslope snow shower regime under cold northwest flow
within the cyclonic trajectory by Friday. Expect highs by then to
only range from 30s west to low/mid 40s east under blustery
northwest breezes.


As of 700 AM EST Saturday...

Poor aviation conditions expected through 14z/10AM with IFR/LIFR
along and east of the Appalachian divide...widespread fog
present from the mountains to the coast. West of the Appalachian
Divide (from BLF and west) conditions were VFR. Areas with fog
will see a gradual improvement late morning into early
afternoon to at least MVFR and possibly VFR. Any VFR will be
short lived per increasing moisture from the gulf coast region.
Showers and Thunderstorms will encompass much of the southeast
States today, some of this activity reaching as far north as
southern WVA and southern VA this evening. Arrival of rain will
bring lowering cloudbases and vsbys. Models indicate a break in
the rain tonight before another surge of moisture arrives
daybreak Sunday. In spite of the break in precip tonight, both
cigs and vsbys will remain low per redevelopment of fog and

Winds through the 24 hour Taf period are forecast to remain
under 8kts and will be near calm at times.

Extended Aviation Discussion...

A slow-evolving but potent storm system affecting a good part
of the central and southeast CONUS will lead to a potentially
long period of sub-VFR conditions through Monday with stratus,
fog, and periods of rain, in addition to thunderstorms. Once the
storm passes on Tuesday, conditions will improve with respect to
cigs and vsbys, but it will become breezy with northwest winds
gusting to 30 kts behind the departing storm on Tuesday.


As of 305 PM EST Thursday...

Record warm Mins for January 21

Blacksburg....42 in 1954
Bluefield.....47 in 1999
Danville......56 in 1954
Lynchburg.....51 in 1927
Roanoke.......51 in 1959

Record highs for January 21

Blacksburg....59 in 1954
Bluefield.....60 in 1999
Danville......68 in 1959
Lynchburg.....72 in 1932
Roanoke.......74 in 1932


VA...Dense Fog Advisory until noon EST today for VAZ010>014-016>020-
NC...Dense Fog Advisory until noon EST today for NCZ002>006-019-020.
WV...Dense Fog Advisory until noon EST today for WVZ044-507.


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