Area Forecast Discussion
Issued by NWS State College, PA

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FXUS61 KCTP 261956
AFDCTP

Area Forecast Discussion
National Weather Service State College PA
256 PM EST Mon Feb 26 2024

.SYNOPSIS...
-Unseasonably mild/Spring-like and breezy into midweek
-Periods of rain showers Tuesday; steadier rain Wednesday
-Turning windy and sharply colder later Wednesday into Thursday
-Mild pattern resumes post-Leap Day as calender flips to March

&&

.NEAR TERM /THROUGH TONIGHT/...
19Z/2PM temps in the upper 50s to lower 60s are likely near the
daily max with not much upside left. Most places ended up a few
degrees warmer than forecast; KBFD set a new daily record max.

Partly cloudy and relatively mild this evening; becoming mostly
cloudy with mid and high clouds increasing overnight. Hires
guidance suggests some fog may form in the south central valleys
toward daybreak where temps will be the coldest (mid 30s) and
winds will be light/variable. A more active southerly wind will
hold min temps +15-25F above climo in the upper 30s to low 40s
across the western and northern Alleghenies.

&&

.SHORT TERM /TUESDAY THROUGH WEDNESDAY NIGHT/...
Hires guidance brings rain showers into the western half of the
CWA btwn 16-19Z Tuesday fueled by strong LLJ and surging pwats.
A few elevated t-storms are possible across the western
Alleghenies and may capable of producing hail given steep mid
lvl lapse rates and cold 500mb temps around -20C. SPC expanded
the D2 MRGL risk (5% hail only) to include much of western PA,
however the main threat is likely positioned farther to the west
in the Upper OH Valley.

Precip trends become a bit more nebulous later Tuesday
afternoon, but there appears to be a good signal for expanding
shower coverage Tuesday night as a warm front lifts north across
the area. Max/min temps remain unseasonably mild; lows Tuesday
night in the 45-55F range are +25-30F above the historical climo
average.

A round of gusty, fast-moving showers with embedded thunder
remain a solid bet with the passage of a sharp cold front on
Wednesday. Widespread cloud cover and limited model cape
currently points to a low threat of severe weather. However,
widespread, non-convective strong to perhaps damaging winds are
likely along and behind the cold front Wednesday PM. Latest
bufkit soundings and EPS plumes indicate the potential of 40kt+
gusts, signaling an increasing probability for a wind advisory.
Strong forcing and pwats 2-3SD above climo supports POPs near
100pct Wednesday. The fast movement of the front will be the
limiting factor for locally heavy rainfall, but latest ensemble
plumes and multi-model blends still indicate rainfall totals of
0.5-1.5 inches between 12Z Tue and 00Z Thu.

A brisk and cold west-northwest flow behind the front should
generate some lake effect snow showers Wed night, primarily over
the NW Mtns. However, anticyclonic flow at the surface and low
inversion heights suggest any accumulations will be minor.

The other emerging risk is the potential for a flash freeze with
temperatures expected to plummet from NW to SE in the wake of
the strong frontal passage. We updated the HWO to add this risk
along with isolated hail potential per the new D2 SPC outlook.

&&

.LONG TERM /THURSDAY THROUGH MONDAY/...
In the wake of the departing low-pressure system, relatively
cold and dry air will be advected into the region on Thursday
with breezy winds throughout the day. Temperatures on Thursday
afternoon will be -25 to -35F compared to Wednesday afternoon
with wind chills making it feel event colder. The coldest
temperatures of the week will occur Thursday into Friday
morning with lows in the upper teens to near 30. Breezy winds
will allow for ApparentTs to push into the single digits to mid
teens.

Mostly sunny to partly cloudy conditions return on Friday as
southerly flow ushers in another warming trend. There is high
confidence in the warming trend continuing through early next
week as March starts out like most of winter was - mild!

By Friday night, weak troughing aloft will help promote
unsettled weather for parts of Pennsylvania. Model uncertainty
remains regarding the formation and strength of a surface low
off the coast, but have included slight chances for
precipitation across southern PA Friday night through the
weekend. Temperatures will support precipitation falling as
rain, though a bit of mix/freezing rain cannot be ruled out on
the northern edge of precipitation Friday night.

&&

.AVIATION /19Z MONDAY THROUGH SATURDAY/...
VFR conditions prevail today under ideal flying conditions.
Mostly clear skies and calm winds overnight will result in
patchy fog formation across the valley east of the Allegheny
Front. Not enough confidence to prevail restrictions at any one
location at this time, but the most likely window for
vis/cig restrictions exists between 09 and 14Z.

A line of showers/storms will traverse the area Tuesday
afternoon. There remains some uncertainty on how cohesive the
line will be, but heavy rain showers will result in visibility
restrictions (short duration) as the rain moves through.
Ceilings will lower behind the rain, with MVFR ceilings most
likely (60%+) at BFD and IPT and possible everywhere else. LLWS
is possible Tuesday afternoon and evening as strong winds aloft
move overhead.

Outlook...

Tue PM...SHRA. TSRA poss. Reductions to MVFR likely with IFR
possible across the north.

Wed...Scattered showers during the day. Cold front passage
Wednesday evening with winds shifting 180 to 270 and gusting
30-40kts. Restrictions in rain to snow along front. Lingering
MVFR NW mountains.

Thu...MVFR/IFR clouds NW. No sig wx elsewhere.

Fri...Rain possible southern tier Friday night.

&&

.CLIMATE...
Spring-like warmth will last through midweek before a sharp cool
down for Leap Day. Temperatures are forecast to be unseasonably
mild and may approach daily records in some places. Here are
the daily record max temperatures for select sites in central
PA:

Monday, February 26:
--------------------
Harrisburg: 70/1976
Williamsport:66/1976
State College: 64/1976
Altoona: 66/1951
Bradford:55*/1976

*Daily record broken with new max temp 58 set at 1451

Tuesday, February 27:
---------------------
Harrisburg: 78/1997
Williamsport:69/1997
State College: 73/1997
Altoona: 74/1997
Bradford:61/1997

Wednesday, February 28:
-----------------------
Harrisburg: 68/1976
Williamsport:68/2016
State College: 63/2016
Altoona: 64/2018
Bradford:59/2018

A few daily high minimum temperatures are possible on Wednesday.

&&

.CTP WATCHES/WARNINGS/ADVISORIES...
None.

&&

$$

SYNOPSIS...Steinbugl
NEAR TERM...Steinbugl
SHORT TERM...Fitzgerald/Steinbugl
LONG TERM...Banghoff/NPB
AVIATION...Banghoff
CLIMATE...Steinbugl


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