Monday, March 6, 2017

Active week starts with storms early Tuesday

An unsettled, warm weather pattern is expected this week over the region, which will lead to a series of storms systems between now and this weekend.


Showers will be possible overnight into early Tuesday, but the first storm system arrives Tuesday morning in the form of a cold front. A much more favorable environment for severe storms exists well to our northwest tonight, with diminishing atmospheric energy as the front moves across Arkansas and into the metro around rush hour or a little later tomorrow morning. The atmosphere over our area will be characterized by marginal instability (the fuel for storms), but strong wind energy, which tends to sustain storms once they form, and can result in damage in the form of straight-line wind, hail, and tornadoes.

In this particular case, our most likely form of severe weather will be strong straight-line wind with the squall line, which should pass through the heart of the metro between 6am-9am. Heavy rain is also expected and a very low end risk of hail and a stray tornado also exist. We recommend planning ahead to allow extra time for your commute. Most of the metro is under a Marginal Risk (category 1 of 5) of severe storms. If you want to avoid driving in storms, perhaps going in a little early or late will be in order, depending on your situation and what radar looks like in the morning. (We'll have updates on timing on our social media feeds early Tuesday.) Once the storms move out, temperatures will fall a bit and likely be in the 50s most of the day as clouds depart by afternoon.

Total rainfall tonight through Tuesday morning will likely be near an inch for most in the metro with heavier amounts to our northwest. (WPC/NOAA)

Late week

A couple of pleasant days are expected in the middle of the week as Wednesday features sunny skies and warm temperatures near 70°, while clouds increase Thursday with highs again in the 70°+ range. By Thursday night, cold high pressure building in to our north will push another front over the region. Another chance of showers and some thunderstorms will be possible Thursday night into Friday. The severe threat with these looks pretty low but will be monitored closely. Friday's highs will likely again eclipse 70°.

The European model shows high pressure dominating the region at mid-day on Wednesday, resulting in a pleasant and sunny day with highs near 70°. (WxBell)


On Friday night and Saturday, surface low pressure strengthens over the Plains, pulling Thursday night's front back north as a warm front and placing the Mid-South squarely in the warm sector with more Gulf moisture on southerly flow. As the low to our west moves eastward, it looks to weaken, but will move very nearby, triggering another round of potential severe storms on Saturday and/or Saturday night. Timing is still a bit uncertain, as is the exact character of the atmosphere, however it will be another system worth keeping a close eye on. The Storm Prediction Center already has the Mid-South in a Slight Risk (15% chance of severe storms, category 2 of 5) for Saturday. The area covered WILL likely change as model solutions converge, but this one is also worth monitoring.

The Storm Prediction Center has placed areas shaded yellow in the equivalent of a Slight Risk for Saturday due to the possibility of some strong to severe storms. (SPC)
By Sunday, the system looks like it'll be to our east, resulting in a dry and cooler end to the weekend and start of Spring Break week for many of us! Stay tuned to our website and social media feeds for updates this week!

Erik Proseus
MWN Meteorologist

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