UPDATE 10:20 AM, 11/3: Another big East Coast storm? Continued below-normal temperatures for several days … then, perhaps, the switch flips again
UPDATE 10:20 AM, 11/3: A quick-moving disturbance may bring some rain and snow to parts of Southwest Virginia for a few hours early Sunday morning. Amounts will be light and it will be gone quickly. We’ll looking closer at this, and next week’s potential nor’easter, in a new blog post this evening. END UPDATE
UPDATE 6:45 PM: A frost advisory has been issued tonight and Saturday morning for the Roanoke Valley and points generally south and east – Franklin, Botetourt and Bedford counties are included. Localities west of there will also be cold on Saturday morning but the growing season has been declared over, so frost and freeze warnings are no longer being issued for those areas. END UPDATE
UPDATE 10:15 AM, 11/2: A few showers of rain (maybe snow in high elevations) moving through this morning with a weak disturbance sliding southeastward. It won’t be much, it won’t last all day, but it may keep a lid on temperatures again, which might not make the 50s in at least some of our region. END UPDATE
If the map inset at left (and linked here in full size) looks familiar … well, it should. It’s a big low over the Northeast, with lots of isobars (the black lines, connecting points with equal barometric pressure, which signal wind potential when tightly packed), getting pulled inland from the coast, and lots of blue colors for cold air about a mile above the surface (and sinking to the surface) being swept in behind that low. This is not a map of Superstorm Sandy, nor will this storm be Sandy’s clone “superstorm” (let me emphasize that now!), but the potential for a windy nor’easter riding up the East Coast, churning up more waves, is of great concern in the wake of Sandy. Yet the 12Z European model — the one that nailed Sandy extremely well 8 days out — shows such a storm starting near the Gulf Coast on Election Day (Tuesday), then strengthening and tracking to near Cape Hatteras on Wednesday, then up the coast to New England and a bit inland. Several model runs on both the European and GFS models show something similar, though the 12Z Euro is the most extreme for developing the storm farther south and it strengthening it so much over the Northeast. You will note in the Tuesday and Wednesday maps that there aren’t many blue colors near us. It does not appear that there will be a mechanism to push in enough cold air ahead of the storm for an appreciable, widespread frozen precipitation threat ahead of the possible storm system in our immediate area. Being early November, it would take a pretty strong Arctic air mass to set us up for any such situation at all elevations. But if this storm develops and tracks as shown on the 12Z Euro, we would have some windy, showery weather Tuesday and Wednesday before a push of cold air and mountain snow showers behind the storm. Still too far out for details on this, but it is a situation worth following next week for anyone with Eastern U.S. travel plans, as there could be more problems if this comes off. (Euro maps, by the way, are courtesy of North Carolina-based Allen Huffman’s model page, linked here.)
Until this next storm, whatever it is, exits stage right late next week, there is not going to be much change to our overall weather pattern. Temperatures will warm a bit into the weekend with more sunshine but likely stay well below normal, with most highs in the 50s and lows in the 30s. No precipitation is expected until this storm maybe bringing some rain showers early next week and possibly snow showers behind it.
For those tired of these gloomy, chilly days … there are major signs of a pattern shift that could bring above normal warmth about 8-10 days from now. This will come at the cost of shifting the East’s active weather pattern into the central U.S. So some more temperature roller-coasting appears likely, though we’ll remain on the low part of the track for the next week or so.