Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Wilmington, NC

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FXUS62 KILM 051121

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Wilmington NC
621 AM EST Tue Mar 5 2024

Dry today with a return of sunshine. Clouds return this evening
and overnight ahead of the next system that brings rain Tuesday
night into Wednesday. The next round of rain arrives Friday
night into Saturday.


Low pressure has moved over eastern Virginia and should continue to
lift northeastward and away from the Carolinas. The back edge of the
swirl of low clouds associated with low should move out of
southeastern North Carolina by daybreak, leaving skies mostly sunny
for the morning hours. Increasing cirrus will overspread the area
this afternoon ahead of the next synoptic low already beginning to
take shape across Louisiana. Given yesterday`s considerable cold
bias I had with high temperatures, I`m boosting forecast highs to
near the upper edge of the guidance ensembles with mid 70s expected
for all locations away from the beaches where a weak seabreeze
should hold those locations 65-70 degrees.

The stream of Gulf moisture will deepen with time tonight with skies
becoming completely overcast by midnight across the Pee Dee region.
Models have slowed a bit with their depiction of a shield of rain
with some embedded heavier showery elements arriving from the
southwest. By sunrise on Wednesday I still expect rain to cover the
Pee Dee region, but it may not reach the Cape Fear area until after
sunrise. Due to increasing clouds forecast lows are in the mid to
upper 50s.


A rather disorganized shortwave will be pushing low pressure
northeastward through the area on Wednesday. Whatever light
isentropic rain that may still be around first thing will give way
to some more dynamically forced showers of moderate intensity and
about categorical-worthy coverage. Lapse rates still don`t look so
great for thunder but the `isolated` modifier for convection still
hard to argue with especially for areas east of the surface low. PW
values will range from 1.3-1.5" according to most guidance but given
the moderate strength of the forcing QPF prospects are close to half
of these values, most of which should fall by midday. Deep layer
moisture will be offshore by afternoon but lingering low level
moisture paired with a few vorticity centers traversing the area
call for lower POPs to continue. The main trough axis swings through
around midnight after which time the rain should shut off completely.
The mid level flow in place on Thursday will bring a fair amount of
sunshine as PW values drop to 0.75".


Guidance continues to slow a bit with the progression of the next
system late in the week and given the mid level ridge off of most of
the East Coast this seems perfectly plausible. As such Friday now
appears to be rain-free during the daytime hours. POPs will then
increase Friday night. Trajectories out of the Gulf and less so, the
Bahamas should favor a very high chance for rain and perhaps some
appreciable QPF, the latter slightly limited by a good eastward
progression of the system in the low levels. Saturday will also be
quite breezy, with some good gusts possible in pockets of moderate
rain due to downward momentum transfer. Cool and dry advection in
the wake of Saturday`s system keep the area dry Sunday and knock
temperatures down to climo if not a bit below with some very minor
recovery possible as early as Monday.


A combination of fog and patchy low clouds are plaguing some
area airports this morning. VFR conditions are alternating with
IFR, particularly at KCRE, KFLO, and KLBT. A bank of low clouds
near with bases near 1000 feet AGL is sitting just a few miles
north of KILM and has a low potential to affect the airport
directly before dissipating after 13-14z. The threat posed by
all these features will decrease sharply as the sun heats the
boundary layer and improves visibility. VFR conditions should
then persist through at least 08z Wednesday before ceilings fall
to or below 1000 feet AGL in advance of a Gulf coast storm
system approaching from the southwest.

Extended Outlook...IFR ceilings appear likely after 12z
Wednesday as a low pressure system spreads widespread rain
across the area. Ceiling and visibility restrictions may not
clear until Thursday morning after sunrise. Another storm
system should bring rain Friday night through Saturday, likely
creating additional IFR conditions in ceilings and possibly


Near Term (Through Tonight)... Weather conditions should be
almost ideal on the coastal waters today. Low pressure has
shifted north across eastern Virginia and a weak ridge of high
pressure will cover the coastal Carolinas. This supports a
forecast of light winds through this evening. Wind directions
should initially be offshore this morning, but will turn onshore
around noon as the high moves overhead and a weak seabreeze
develops. Attention will then shift to low pressure developing
along the Gulf Coast that will spread clouds across the area
tonight with rain becoming possible late.

Seas ranging from 2-4 feet in a 10 second east-southeast swell will
only begin to build higher late tonight due to increasing southeast

Wednesday through Saturday...An approaching cold front and upper
disturbance will bring increased winds and seas Wednesday, the
latter ramping up to advisory levels. Visibility-limiting rain and
sea fog also appear to further worsen conditions. The veering winds
associated with the approaching cold front appear to divert the
swell energy that had been reaching the area up til Wednesday just
outside of the forecast zones and then further offshore following
FROPA later Wednesday. Much lighter and veering winds Thursday should
allow headlines to drop. Flow turns back to southerly on Friday as
the next system gears up to approach from the west. This system will
have good support aloft and so have enough of a surface reflection
along the front to ramp either winds or seas back to advisory levels
Friday night or Saturday.





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