April 11, 2012 Brief Update

Reminder: The next full update will be posted on Sunday, April 15.

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Forecast Highlights:

– No relief in drought soon; fires to continue across area
– Next chance of light rain on Sunday, Tuesday
– Windy conditions to return by weekend

Fire Updates:

Over the last two days, with the scattered showers once again failing to affect the area with more than light rain in some areas and nothing in other areas, as well as breezy winds, fires continued to spread across the area, with a large fire near the Meadowlands in NJ, affecting much of northeastern NJ with some sources stating that the fires were visible in Manhattan. Another notable fire also took place in Suffolk county.

Short Term Forecast: There is no relief in terms of rain for the drought for the short term through Sunday other than a few isolated showers tomorrow, and at this rate, the next US Drought Monitor update tomorrow (Thursday) is likely to show increasing drought conditions across the region. Winds, however, will briefly decrease as a high pressure moves in; NNW winds gusting up to 20-25 mph are expected on Thursday, with light NW winds on Friday. These lighter winds should bring some relief, although sunshine and lower humidity will return on Friday.

6-Day Forecast:

Tomorrow will end up slightly warmer, with highs in the mid-upper 50s, along with a risk of isolated light rain showers again. Friday will be mostly sunny with highs warming into the low-mid 60s across most of the area, with mostly sunny skies on Saturday and highs warming into the upper 60s-low 70s from NYC and north/west with 60s closer to the coast. Windy conditions will return on Saturday, however, with SW winds gusting up to 30-40 mph possible again.

Uncertainty returns to the forecast by Sunday as a ridge builds into the region for the first time since the big mid March warm spell, with the front end rain once again staying mostly to the north of the area, although some light rain is expected on Saturday night into Sunday morning, less than 1/4 inch. The area is expected to be in the warm sector on Sunday, with breezy WSW/SW winds and highs reaching the mid to upper 70s from NYC and further north/west, along with mid 60s to mid 70s in Long Island/southern CT. In the warmer case scenario with more clearing in the cloud cover by the afternoon, parts of northern NJ and areas near NYC may reach 80 degrees.

By Monday, a back door cold front will drop into the region, although it is uncertain whether it reaches the area or not. Interestingly, the GFS drops it through, with highs staying in the 60s to low 70s on Monday and Tuesday with a sharp temperature gradient south of the area, while the ECM and CMC keep the area in the warm sector, with highs reaching the 80s away from the coast on both days. With a strong low pressure modeled near Newfoundland on the GFS, the back door cold front would move through the area in that scenario, although the other models are much weaker with this feature, and the GFS is also trending weaker with this. At this time, I expect the cold front to end up close to the area but to the north, keeping the area in the warm sector. Although the extent of the warmth was a bit questionable on April 11th, as of the morning of 4/12 it appears that the trend is likely a correct one, and temperatures have been revised upwards to show 80s for Sunday through Tuesday.

The rain outlook is not looking very positive; with the front end rain staying mostly to the north on Saturday night and the back door cold front failing to move through, the next potential for more than light rain will be around Tuesday or Wednesday when the next cold front moves through, ending the warm spell, although the majority of the rain is expected to stay to the north of the area once again.

Thursday: Mostly cloudy, 20% chance of showers. Breezy. Highs mid-upper 50s.
Friday: Mostly sunny. Highs mid 60s.
Saturday: Mostly sunny. Breezy. Highs lower-mid 70s.
Sunday: Mostly cloudy, 40% chance of showers early. Breezy. Highs upper 70s-low 80s
Monday: Mostly cloudy, 20% chance of showers. Highs low-mid 80s
Tuesday: Partly cloudy, 30% chance of showers. Highs low-mid 80s

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