Sunday, March 20, 2011

Weather for the first week of spring

Spring officially begins at 6:21pm CDT today (Sunday, March 20).  Mid-Southerners have already had a very nice taste of spring the past few days with temperatures more typical of mid to late-May than mid-March. In fact, we will end up within a degree or two of the record high of 84 for today. So how long will this warm weather continue?

Regional temperatures as of 4:45pm - Sunday, March 20
The current pattern is dominated by ridging high pressure in the upper and lower levels of the atmosphere.  This is steering the weather systems that come in from the west well to our north. High pressure in the mid and upper levels is causing the air to sink towards the ground and resulting in warm temperatures at the surface. I expect this pattern to continue for the next 48 hours, so high temps in the 80s will continue through Tuesday. Meanwhile, south wind will continue throughout the overnight hours, helping to keep low temperatures up in the 60s. The warm temperatures at night (which are not too far below our normal daytime highs this time of year) are waking up dormant vegetation, such as the carpets of Bermuda grass that encompass many neighborhoods around the region. Unfortunately, mowing probably isn't too far behind!  South to south-southwest wind will likely be strong and gusty on Tuesday.

Forecast surface map valid 7pm Monday, March 21
By Wednesday, one of the low pressure systems that is riding the storm track to our north will drag a weak cold front through the region. A slight chance of showers or thundershowers is possible along the front, though high pressure will limit the effects of the front, so highs will still be in the upper 70s to near 80.

Forecast surface map valid Wednesday morning, March 23 - frontal system approaching from west
Slightly cooler air will move in behind the front so Thursday will see temperatures held back a little, but still well above normal.  By Friday, the long-range models are having a very difficult time agreeing. Low pressure will again move towards the central and eastern U.S.  The main differences in the models are how strong to maintain the ridge of high pressure over our area, or whether to break down it down in favor of the incoming low. Slight chances of rain are indicated in the MWN Forecast throughout next weekend, though I expect to better refine that once models come to some sort of consensus.

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2 comments:

sudo said...

Just great... we go from Winter.... directly into Summer. :(

MWN/Erik said...

Pretty much! Although the average high of 63 this month has been pretty decent. Wish we could have 3 months of that though!

--Erik