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Submitted by Tim Buckley on Thu, 02/16/2012 - 9:58am.
You know, to be fair, the groundhog may have stumbled onto something this year. The weather pattern has gotten stormier in February, and a bit more winter-like. (For full disclosure many long range meteorologists back in January predicted this - so I'm not crediting the little rodent) But even as storm after storm continues to roll through our area, those wishing for winter weather are quickly running out of time.
We're dealing with a little bit of a storm system pushing through today. This will be another "yawner" for weather buffs across the area. Just some scattered showers and a little bit of steady rain at times through this evening. If we're lucky we'll get an isolated thunderstorm or two to pop out in the midst of the showers. Any rain we get at this point is beneficial, as our deficit for the year is already at 3" -- this after a 2011 that was 14" dry.
But let's look ahead to this weekend. This is the storm that has given the forecast fits throughout the course of the weak. Timing, intensity, and temperatures with this system have been hard to pin down since Monday - but things are finally coming into focus now.
A low pressure system will be forming down along the Gulf Coast, and take a turn northward, headed along the Atlantic Seaboard. This is the type of storm that can sometimes be a big winner for snow lovers here in the Carolinas. In fact, when I first saw this feature popping up on the forecast models this past weekend, some alarms went off in my head thinking winter weather may be a concern.
Here's the reason why this will just be another warm, rain-maker for the Carolina coast. No cold air in place to start things out. If there were a huge Arctic area of high pressure building in after our storm system today, the cold air would make for a chilly "pre-storm environment" as the system moves in this weekend. Instead, we'll be pretty mild Friday and early Saturday, meaning there's just not any cold air at the surface to support any sort of snowfall in our neck of the woods.
So, even as a strong storm comes up the coast - snow lovers will have to wait. Maybe there can still be a miracle on the horizon, but as we move throughout late February and transition into March it quickly gets harder and harder to get any cold air to stick around long - especially here in the South. The sun is getting stronger day by day, and Spring will eventually kick this "wussy" Winter to the curb -- I can't help but think that this winter may finish without any significant snow. I'm ok with that, but I know you may think otherwise!
By: Tim Buckley