Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS Wilmington, NC

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FXUS62 KILM 260550
AFDILM

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service Wilmington NC
1250 AM EST Mon Feb 26 2024

.SYNOPSIS...
High pressure will continue shifting offshore early this week
and hold position near Bermuda by midweek. Increasingly warm
air will overspread the area through Wednesday with breezy
southwest flow developing behind the high. A cold frontal
passage will bring rain chances for Wednesday night into
Thursday, followed by brief high pressure into Friday. Low
pressure may develop and affect the Carolinas over the upcoming
weekend.

&&

.UPDATE...
No big changes necessary from the previous forecast with this
update.

&&

.NEAR TERM /THROUGH TONIGHT/...
Tonight: Surface high pressure will glide east across the area
providing dry conditions. Stratocumulus will dissipate with the
loss of daytime heating but some mid/high clouds will enter the
picture overnight as more shortwave energy aloft approaches.
Looks too dry for rainfall but could see a few sprinkles,
especially around the SC Pee Dee/NC Sandhills. Pretty good
radiational cooling should occur this evening but could be
tempered somewhat by the increasing clouds/low-level winds. We
still leaned toward the cooler guidance with mid-upper 30s
expected most locales. Could also see a little shallow fog
develop after midnight, mainly across the NC coastal plain where
low-level moisture should be a bit higher.

Monday: Surface high pressure will be shifting more offshore
leading to southerly flow and with diminishing clouds we should
see warmer temps. Highs should get back above normal, to near
70 inland and lower to mid 60s near the coast.

&&

.SHORT TERM /TUESDAY THROUGH TUESDAY NIGHT/...
With surface high pressure offshore near Bermuda and generally
zonal flow in the mid-levels, temperatures are expected to
moderate considerably from their below-normal values observed
on Sunday and Sunday night. In fact, even with mainly clear
skies on Monday night, southerly flow will usher in rising
dewpoints which will keep overnight lows in the mid-40s to
around 50F, about 5-10F above normal.

On Tuesday, shortwave energy embedded in the zonal flow aloft
will bring increased mid-upper cloud cover which should tend to
limit heating during the day. In addition, weak lift associated
with the shortwave may be able to produce some sprinkles across
the northern and western zones. Forecast soundings show large
dewpoint depressions beneath the cloud base which should
evaporate most or all raindrops before they reach the ground.
High temps are expected to reach the low 70s, although thicker
cloud cover or a greater coverage of light showers may keep
temps a little cooler.

Over Tuesday night, the bulk of the shortwave energy moves
offshore while lingering impulses keep mid-upper cloud cover in
place. In addition, larger-scale ridging will begin to nose
further into the area ahead of a sharpening trough translating
across the center of the country. With thick mid-upper clouds
remaining largely in place through the night, overnight lows
should be quite mild for this time of year, with mid-upper 50s
in the forecast.

&&

.LONG TERM /WEDNESDAY THROUGH SUNDAY/...
With mid-level ridging building in ahead of the sharpening
trough, expect cloud cover to thin on Wednesday morning. In
addition, with a ~990mb low tracking through the Great Lakes, a
tightening pressure gradient will drive breezy southwest winds
and good vertical mixing through the day. These factors, along
with the mild start at sunrise, all point towards a very warm
day for late February, with upper 70s to around 80F expected
away from marine influences. Limiting factors to how warm it
will get include the thickness of the upper-level clouds and
the strength of a subsidence inversion around 850mb, but the
overall setup is very supportive of anomalous warmth. Mild
conditions will continue into the evening amidst breezy
southwest winds as a cold front draws nearer. This front will
feature a band of showers along and ahead of it, although it
should be thinning/breaking up as it moves across our area due
to main upper-level forcing becoming increasingly displaced to
our north, with weakening surface convergence serving as the
main driver of the showers. Nevertheless, shower activity should
cross the area under the cover of darkness during Wednesday
night, with winds turning northwesterly behind the front before
daybreak Thursday. Temperatures may very well be at their warmest
at midnight on Thursday before cold advection drives
temperatures down in the morning. Filtered sunshine fighting the
strong cold advection should lift temps into the mid-upper 50s
on Thursday afternoon.

With high pressure building in behind the front, confidence
decreases substantially in the pattern evolution for the
weekend. A sharp shortwave trough over Baja California on
Wednesday is expected to eject across the southern US late in
the week. Depending on the specifics of this wave, it may drive
the development of a surface low which would bring additional
rain to the region on Friday or Saturday. As a result, sensible
weather will largely depend on how this situation evolves.
In any case, initially below normal on Friday should recover
back to near or above-normal as the surface high moves offshore
and return flow sets up behind it.

&&

.AVIATION /06Z MONDAY THROUGH FRIDAY/...
VFR conditions expected through the 06Z TAF period. Sfc high
pressure is currently sliding off the SE coast, as some mid/high
clouds move in from the NW. This setup is not particularly
favorable for fog as the clouds move in, but cannot entirely
rule it out in some spots early this morning. After
light/variable winds, expect ~10-12 kt SSW winds daytime today
with the high offshore.

Extended Outlook...VFR conditions prevail. Breezy SW winds
Tuesday through Wednesday veer to the NW Wednesday night into
Thursday behind the next cold fropa which also brings a chance
of showers.

&&

.MARINE...
Through Monday... High pressure will move east across the area
leading to more southerly winds which will be gusting to near 20 kt
on Monday as the pressure gradient picks up a bit. Significant
wave heights will stay mainly 2 ft or less though.

Monday night through Friday...
The main feature of interest will be a strong cold front
expected to sweep through late Wednesday night, with breezy
southwest winds ahead of it on Wednesday turning northwesterly
behind it for Thursday. Seas initially in the 2-3 ft range from
Monday night through Tuesday will gradually build as winds
strengthen, rising into the 4-5 ft range on Wednesday. Seas peak
in the 4-6 ft range on Wednesday night within several hours of
the cold frontal passage, along with winds gusting above SCA
criteria. Although high pressure will initially build in on
Thursday with offshore flow in place, seas should remain
elevated as backswell from the northeast arrives. In addition,
the potential exists for a surface low to develop and affect the
area on Friday or Saturday, which could bring elevated winds
and seas as well, but this storm system carries low confidence
at this time.

&&

.ILM WATCHES/WARNINGS/ADVISORIES...
SC...None.
NC...None.
MARINE...None.

&&

$$
SYNOPSIS...ILM
UPDATE...MAS
NEAR TERM...RJB
SHORT TERM...ABW
LONG TERM...ABW
AVIATION...MAS
MARINE...RJB/ABW


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