Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thanksgiving Week forecast discussion

With one of the biggest travel weeks of the year coming up and plenty of celebrations planned, there is certainly more interest in the weather forecast than usual. It doesn't help that long-range forecasts to this point have been pointing towards a wet scenario and major temperature swings. Now that the first half of the week and Thanksgiving holiday are moving into the "shorter range" of the forecast, what does the Mid-South have in store? Glad you asked... as the Facebook relationship status says, "it's complicated."

Unfortunately, computer models are not doing a good job of painting a clear picture, making for less confidence in the forecast than we meteorologists typically like to see for holiday weeks. A frontal system will be making what appears to be two passes at us this week. Ahead of the front, abnormally mild conditions will continue on Monday with highs in the 70s and windy weather continuing. As the front will be closer to the region, a slight chance of a shower or thunderstorm appears in the forecast. By Monday night, that cold front approaches and then moves through the metro area on Tuesday. That will mean rain and thunderstorms will be likely during that time frame.

This is where things get tricky. How far south the front moves will determine rain chances Tuesday afternoon and night. One thing is fairly clear - sometime Wednesday (probably early), that front will return as a warm front as low pressure developing to the west drags the front back north. This puts the Mid-South back in the "warm sector" with more scattered showers and thunderstorms possible Wednesday - one of the biggest travel days of the year.

Up until today, I had forecast the front to finally move all the way through the region by Wednesday night, bringing in much cooler weather, but ending the rain chances by Thanksgiving. Now I am much less convinced and am hedging towards the front making it's last move through the region on Thanksgiving Day, accompanied by the potential for rain and thunderstorms, some of which could be heavy as a strong surge of Canadian air pushes in behind the front. There is still plenty of time for things to change, but as of now that is my best forecast. This will delay the very cold air, so Thanksgiving Day may not be as chilly as previously thought, but Black Friday could be the coldest day of the fall to this point with highs in the 40s. Moderation in temperatures is expected next weekend and behind this front I expect the weekend itself to be dry.

Stay tuned into the forecast for the latest in expected conditions for Thanksgiving week. I'll also be posting updates on Facebook and Twitter throughout the week.

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