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Submitted by Tim Buckley on Tue, 11/16/2010 - 9:26am.
If you look up in the sky today you'll see some things you haven't seen in quite a while, raindrops! That's just one of the changes across the area for the day -- it will also be balmy outside, even with a tropical feel at times.
We can thank these changes to a large area of low pressure tracking up the East Coast. This system is originating in the Gulf and bringing a great deal of warmth and moisture along for the ride. In fact, temperatures this afternoon will be in the mid 70's - easily. Most of the rain action will stay inland of the Wilmington area, but we will still see widely scattered showers and storms - especially during the afternoon. In fact, there are a couple of reasons why we're thinking some of the storms late in the day could actually be on the strong side.
First things first, there's plenty of heat and moisture to work with. Temperatures will be in the mid 70's throughout the Eastern Carolinas this afternoon and dewpoints will be quite juicy for this time of year in the 60's. This combined with temperatures in the upper atmosphere that are comparatively cooler will make it easier for air to rise rapidly - the exact way you create thunderstorms. We call this an unstable air mass. This unstable air interacting with upper level energy from the approaching low pressure system completes the puzzle and will create at least the possibility of some strong to severe storms across the Carolinas.
Even with the risk of some heavy weather, this is far from a "slam dunk" wet weather event. Due to the path of the Low, which takes it roughly along the Appalachians, most of the heavy rains will fall inland of our area. In fact, most model forecasts spit out rainfall totals between 0.25 - 0.50. This could be higher of course in isolated heavy thunderstorms, but we are not expecting widespread heavy rain from this system.
Believe it or not, we could actually use some rainfall across the area. Ever since the drenching and historic rains we saw at the end of September, we've been extremely dry. In Wilmington, less than 2" has fallen in the month of October and November so far. We are still technically running a surplus of rainfall for the year by nearly 3", but since almost half of that rain came in only a few days - much of it was whisked away as runoff and not absorbed by the ground. So, in short, a little rainfall here wouldn't be a bad thing!
We'll be tracking the threat for storms here in the studio throughout the day. Be sure to stay tuned for any updates should the weather get a little bumpy.
Sunshine returns tomorrow!
By: Tim Buckley