Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Spring, winter, spring... what season are we in again?

Wow, what a stretch of warmth! After suffering through winter's chill last week (but not nearly as badly as those in the Midwest did), the rush to spring was swift!

Last Thursday morning, our low wind chill was 10°.  By Saturday afternoon, the high was 70°, and we haven't looked back! That groundhog must've been on to something...

The string of 70-degree days has reached 5 days as of today and will likely reach 6 days tomorrow morning before things change, a lot. But before that front hits, we should tie the record for longest streak of 70° days in the month of February, and the 2nd earliest stretch of consecutive 70° days on record, bested only by Jan 3-8, 1880. Yes, 1880. None of us remember that.

Wednesday-Thursday morning: warm, windy and stormy

With a cold front sitting to our north, the metro sits in a "warm sector" (basically a February sauna) with scattered showers and thunderstorms fueled by warm moist air transported north from the Gulf on southerly wind.

Areas primarily north of I-40 are under a low-end risk of severe weather. I'm not overly concerned about it, but a few storms north of the metro could see a few strong wind gusts. There's also a very low, non-zero, risk of a tornado, but that is more likely closer to the front to our north as well.

Wednesday's severe weather outlook, from SPC
The risk of a few storms continues into the evening hours before they lift north of the metro as a warm front pulls north in response to the cold front approaching from the west. A few showers are possible overnight, but nothing strong or particularly wet (other than the humidity levels). The warmth continues into Thursday morning as the front moves across AR. Rain and a few thunderstorms are possible in the morning until the front arrives, which will bring an abrupt end to our 70 degree weather!

Severe weather outlook for Thursday, via SPC.
In addition to the muggy air in the morning, strong and gusty south wind will reach 30-40 mph. A Wind Advisory (a.k.a., "Skirt Alert") is in effect for counties bordering the Mississippi River and west into eastern AR.

Finally, bouts of heavy rain over the next 24 hours will likely result in 1-2" of precipitation in the metro. Not flooding rain by any means, but localized ponding could occur in and just after the heaviest downpours.

The Weather Prediction Center's precipitation forecast through Friday evening. (WxBell)

Thursday afternoon: FROPA

By early Thursday afternoon, the front swings through the metro (called "FROPA," or frontal passage, in your local weather discussion). You'll know when it does if you happen to be out. If you won't, you'll definitely know when you leave work or school later in the afternoon! Showers continue behind the front, but the warm air will be quickly pushed east. Temperatures will fall precipitously, likely reaching the 30s by evening (from near 70 at noon). Depending on your bent, fortunately or unfortunately, the rain looks to end before the "cold enough" air arrives, as is typical. No snow.

Friday-Saturday: Back to winter

We end the week with the only guaranteed dry days in the entire forecast period, and of course that is when the cold air is here as well. Wake-up wind chills Friday morning will be in the teens with temperatures in the 20s. Cool north wind continues Friday with a high of (maybe) 40.

Saturday sees more of the same with lows again in the 20s, chilly wind, and a slightly-moderated high temperature in the mid 40s.

Sunday into next week: Wet

As cold high pressure pushes off to our east, we once again get stuck in a wetter pattern with multiple low pressure systems moving across the larger Mid-South region, dropping buckets of rain.  This has been advertised for some time by the week 2 outlooks from the Climate Prediction Center. Below is today's outlook. It indicates above average probabilities of above average rainfall. I guess that means our area excels in precipitation. It does appear that cold air will be held at bay, so temperatures should be seasonal amongst all the rain.

The CPC precipitation outlook gives us a strong probability of above average precipitation well into the latter part of next week. (PivotalWx)
Keep up with the latest on our wacky weather pattern by following MWN on social media or downloading the MWN app for the latest forecast, radar, and severe weather alerts! Links are provided below.

Erik Proseus
MWN Meteorologist

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