January 9: Warming Trend Continues


Temperatures climbed to the mid 40s yesterday, and the warming trend will continue today. Highs will make it to the mid 50s with a mix of clouds and sunshine overhead:
The temperature forecast on Wednesday is a little tricky — winds will turn to the northeast tonight and will be straight out of the east tomorrow, which will set up a cold-air damming scenario for central North Carolina. The tricky part is figuring out exactly how much cool air will be trapped in place, and how much cloud cover we’ll see to also keep temperatures in check. Right now I’m thinking we’ll see more clouds than sunshine, with high temperatures lining up like this:
A little more sun and we’ll crack 50, a little more cloud cover and we’ll be stuck in the mid 40s. Either way, that’s really not bad at all for early January, considering our average high temperature is exactly 50 degrees.

A more-substantial warming trend kicks in Thursday and Friday…but warm air this time of year generally brings a decent amount of moisture with it as well, so showers are likely both Thursday and Friday:
I don’t think either day will be a complete washout. Right now it looks like the best chance of more-widespread shower activity will line up late in the day Thursday, and again Friday afternoon. The best chance of thunderstorms will arrive Friday evening — the timing, combined with borderline temperatures and moisture levels, leads me to believe that widespread severe storms are unlikely. That said, the “analog” forecast (comparing Friday’s forecast pattern to similar historical patterns) shows a low risk of a couple of severe weather reports:
And the Storm Prediction Center’s ensemble model (basically, a blend of 25-ish different forecast models) shows a 10% chance of storms with at least some severe ingredients late Friday:
If we were to get some stronger storms, the main threat would be from damaging straight-line winds (gusts around 60mph).

Once the last of the rain departs early Saturday morning, colder air will make its way in from the northwest…we’ll be back on the cold side of the temperature see-saw for the first half of next week:
We’re not talking about a return to the deep freeze next week, just a few days of temperatures running 5-10 degrees below average:
A quick note on the 7-day forecast: Saturday’s high will be pretty early in the day — by Saturday afternoon, we’ll probably be down into the 40s already.

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