"But seeing they could not See; hearing they could not Hear"
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"From its chamber comes the whirlwind, and cold from the scattering winds." - Job 37:9.

"The wind blows to the south and turns to the north; round and round it goes, ever returning on its course".

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Calming Winds and Clouding Skies

Images: Clouds make a signature of the southern branch jet stream; several small short waves to impact the area into next week

I don't know about you, but it seems more to me like we are in the early fringes of spring rather than the last vestiges of winter. ..or maybe it's just wishful thinking. I usually think of spring arriving in phases:. The unofficial seven phases of spring are as follows:
Phase 1: the last real cold spell - new leaves are beginning to sprout and birds have arrived and are quite noisy during the day

Phase II: a rainy period after which it never really gets real cold again but is still somewhat cool

Phase III: Maybe one last very cool spell that last 1.5 days (sometimes this phase is omitted)

Phase IV: A period of a few weeks where it never gets cold again and highs are near 80 everyday. This is the tricky period with the best chances of severe weather

Phase V: There's two hot days near 90s thrown in accompanied by big storms

Phase VI: Suddenly summer. Warm all the day and a brief dry period before the summer thunderstorm season begins. This is usually in the time frame of the last week of May or first few days of June

Phase VII: It's summer during the first week of June

Right now I think we are between Phase II and III.

(Note: I made these up. They are not documented anywhere except in my head. These phases are simply mental, observational notes I've made to myself after having lived here for 43 springs and summers)

SYNOPSIS: Low pressure is gradually fading away from the U.S. NE coast into the Atlantic. The second of many short wave troughs and associated vorticity is approaching the region. Because the low pressure off the mid-Atlantci/NE Coast is moving away the pressure gradient will decrease significantly today, and thus the wind will be greatly reduced.

TODAY: As you can see by the satellite image, clouds are plentiful within the southern branch jet stream (also evidenced by looking outside at the sky). The jet stream is flowing directly overhead today, so we can expect high cirrus and cirrostratus clouds to be plentiful as they come across in batches. End result will be partly cloudy to occasionally cloudy skies with filtered sunlight. Winds will initially be NW but become light from the ENE at less than 10mph by 1pm. Temperature today along the immediate coast is starting out at 57 degrees. Sea surface temperature at Cocoa Beach is about 61 degrees. After a quick warm up within 2 hours after sunrise believe the onshore wind component blowing over the 61 degree waters will keep air temperatures east of the Banana River in the mid-upper 60s (66 degrees) this afternoon. This, in addition to periods of filtered sunshine (if even that at times) will make it a little coolish this afternoon, but with the wind so light it won't be all bad. Folks from Merritt Island and points west will fare much better with a high near 71. Clouds will increase significantly within 1 hour of sunset and remain throughout the night in advance of the next shortwave trough (depicted in the image above).

TONIGHT: Low temperature this night as well as Wednesday will be very similar to what we had this morning. No big cool down. In fact, no cool down.

WEDNESDAY: Cloudy with a light ENE wind. Morning low around 57 degrees. Chance of rainshowers in association with positive vorticity advection (as part of the short wave trough) as it passes overhead. Showers will be light and mostly likely east of US1 from 1pm through 10pm.

THURSDAY: Partial clearing but setting up for the next in the train of disturbances that are taking the roller coaster ride from the west coast , over the hump of a small ridge in the middle of the country, then descending into the base of the upper level trough which is residing over the Southeast U.S. Mostly cloudy again on Thursday with a chance of showers just about anytime. Low again near 57 but with a very slow warming trend in progress and a high near 70.

FRIDAY: Clouds pulling out, NW winds at about 8mph and a high of 72.

WEEKEND: Nice for the most part. Light NW winds shifting to SE by the end of the weekend with highs in the mid 70s and lows in the low-mid 60s. Clouds on the increase by mid afternoon Sunday with rain chances again being introduced over night into Monday. This one looks like it might affect extreme south Florida / the Keys more than us. But thunder will be in the equation with it wherever its impact is most felt.

Enjoy this weather. It's actually kind of amazing to experience out transition into spring (or more importantly, OUT of winter). We might have one short cold blast sometime next week, but confidence that far out, as always is the case in the long range forecast, is very low. Enjoy.

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