Jan 25, 2012: Rain, Wind, Warmth Friday

As the winter season to be remembered for its lack of cold and snow continues, yet another warmer than average day was observed across the area, with temperatures reaching the upper 30s to lower 40s inland and the mid 40s across the rest of the area. A large storm will move through the region tomorrow night, bringing temperatures well into the 50s across the area with more rain, wind and possibly thunderstorms. Temperatures will cool down again by early next week, although they will remain above average.
Thursday – Friday: Heavy Rain, Wind; 60 Degrees Possible

Although the area has seen rain storms this month, the last time such a strong storm came through the region while far north enough to result in heavy rain, warmth and thunderstorms was back in late December. Yesterday’s update mentioned how there was uncertainty with the storm, with the NAM/GFS models staying south with the ECM, CMC and UKMET going with a warmer scenario. As expected, the NAM and GFS were too far south, and significantly adjusted to the north with today’s runs. Although yesterday’s CMC and UKMET runs were a little too warm, a final solution closer to the warmer models has emerged, with a warmer, stronger and wetter storm affecting the region.
Below, each of the three main aspects of the storm is discussed in more details:

Rain/Thunderstorms: Heavy rain is expected out of this storm across parts of the area. Occasional showers will develop on Thursday afternoon, lasting through the early overnight hours. With the area in the warm sector of the storm, the heavier rain will focus to the north of the area overnight, with cloudy skies, occasional showers and rising temperatures expected. A stronger squall line will move through on Friday morning, which may contain thunderstorms for parts of the area, although the best risk of thunderstorms will be focused to the south of the area. These storms may also produce gusty winds, with more details on the wind aspect of the storm in the next section. Most of the rain will end by Friday at 12 PM with scattered showers possible afterwards. Overall, at least 1/2 to 1 inch of rain is expected, with locally higher amounts up to 1.5 inch, especially north and west of NYC.

Wind: Significant winds are possible out of this storm in parts of the area. With the area in the warm sector of the storm late on Thursday night into Friday morning, strong low level winds will result in potentially strong wind gusts under the heavier rain and convection, with gusts up to 45-50 mph possible in the stronger storms. Behind the cold front, a strong wind gradient will develop for the late afternoon and evening hours, with widespread gusts up to 40 mph possible again. A Wind Alert will likely be issued with tomorrow’s update.

Temperatures: Another aspect of this storm is its temperatures. Back in the 14th of January, I mentioned in the Long Range Outlooks page that with the mild time frame already observed for this week, significant warmth would likely be observed more than once, and that at least one day could reach 60 degrees up to NYC and parts of the Northeast. The area has already seen 50+ degree weather earlier this week, and this storm will be the one that could bring parts of the area close to 60 degrees.
Temperatures will reach the lower to mid 40s across most of the area on Thursday, although with the area entering the warm sector of the storm, temperatures will steadily warm up, reaching the lower to mid 50s for most places by the morning with the immediate NYC area getting into the upper 50s. Temperatures will cool down later in the afternoon hours with a slightly cooler air mass coming in, although between the morning and the early afternoon hours, the immediate NYC area is likely to reach the upper 50s for highs, and some places may even get up to 60 degrees.
Longer Range Overview:

Unseasonable warmth will continue through the longer range, with the coldest day, Monday, only bringing near average temperatures across the area. Temperatures are expected to reach the upper 40s to lower 50s across the area on Saturday and the lower to mid 40s on Sunday, with both days bringing partly sunny skies. An isolated rain or snow shower may be possible on Sunday, although the best risk of snow will stay to the north of the area. A colder air mass will move into the region on Monday with high temperatures only reaching the mid to upper 30s across the area, although temperatures will quickly warm up again by the middle of next week, once again reaching the 40s for highs. The next potential storm is around the middle of next week, and with the latest indications once again appears likely to be a mostly, if not plain rain event. Although some changes are expected, this is not a set up to produce any notable snowstorm.
Stay tuned for more long range information with tomorrow’s update, including an update on the rest of the winter and why the pattern will fail to flip to a cold and snowy one.

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