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Fall strikes again; more East Coast storms?

I'm sure you'll be talking about the change in weather a lot in your small talk sessions over the next few days. "It was just in the 70's," your co-worker in the elevator will say. "Can you believe it keeps going back and forth like this," your barista at Starbucks will say. I am here to tell you that this is just the way of the world in the fall season; it always is and always will be. 

Sure it seems crazy that we experience all these temperatures swings in such a short period of time, but fall is one of the few times of the year when cold air and warm air continue to co-exist. As you head through the season, you're bound to encounter your big time temperature swings, and we sure are going through one now. I always like to show a 24-hour temperature change map in these cases, and I've posted one below from this afternoon. 

What you're looking at, is the difference between the temperature today compared to yesterday. For example, at noon today the temp in Raleigh was 48 degrees. Yesterday, they were enjoying a balmy 74 degrees. Take 48-74 and you get -26; voila! As you might guess that's a huge temperature swing for us. It was more impressive in other parts of the country. 

I experienced 77 in Nebraska Saturday, and 21 on Sunday.

On Saturday I was in Lincoln, Nebraska taking in my Penn State Nittany Lions against the Cornhuskers. (Yes, we lost. Grr. But that's not the point.) The high temp that afternoon surged up to 78 degrees. The low temperature the next day was 21! That's a 57 degree high / low swing in about 24 hours. Simply put I don't know how you hearty Midwesterners do it. 

Here in Wilmington, our temperatures are just beginning to tumble as the cold air makes its way across the state, but it is certainly coming. A few of those cool, cloudy, and sometimes drizzly fall days lie in our future. 

It will be difficult to pin down exactly when it will rain over the next few days. There's a reason for that. The front that's rolling along will begin to stall-out offshore, and the high pressure area behind it will head to our north instead of directly overhead. That means we're going to still be in a transition area of sorts between high and low pressure. Instead of clearing out nicely behind the front, we'll keep clouds around and some showers will be able to form from time to time throughout the week. 

Right now, it appears that we'll get a weak storm system to rotate through the area with a better than average chance for showers on Thursday. Friday will be a lull behind this system, and then over the weekend our rain chances will have to again ramp up with a system swinging through. 

These storms one after another are definitely the sign of a larger trend in our current weather pattern. A large trough (dip in the jet stream) has been present over the eastern two-thirds of the US over the last month and looks to continue heading into Thanksgiving. This could mean a number of more troubling storms for folks that don't need it in the Northeast. 

In fact, I'm already a little bit concerned that a few of our weather models (especially the ECMWF - European model) are hinting at a low-end Nor'easter close to the high travel days around Thanksgiving. It's nothing to freak out about now, but the trend is there and the way things are going I wouldn't bet against it.

So in the meantime, enjoy that small talk with your co-workers and get used to some clouds, cool air, and weak storm systems as we work our way through November and into Turkey Day. 

PS: I want your feedback. If you have comments you can leave them here on this blog, shoot me an e-mail at, find me on Facebook at, or find me on Twitter @TimBuckleyWX.

- TB


By: Tim Buckley