Category Archives: Forecasts

One more chilly day this week, and then Spring does its thing

The strong cold front, which ultimately failed to yield much if any rain in the area, got through overnight and has cleared the area. No rain expected today — skies will be partly cloudy to sunny — but it will be windy, with gusts possibly reaching 40 MPH at times. Thus, NWS has a Wind Advisory out until 8PM. Use a little caution on the bridges today.

Today will be the chilly outlier in what looks to be a very warm week. Temperatures will only get around 70-72 away from the beaches (where mid-60s seem much more likely). We’ll get into the mid-70s for Monday and then 80s! So many 80s — and so much sun, too! This will actually be a little above normal for the first part of April but after the winter we’ve had, I think we’ll take it.

Next front may become an issue for the first part of the weekend — wait and see on this one. Will know more by mid-week.

Slight severe weather risk tomorrow

Rain chances will be with us overnight tonight into tomorrow morning; lows will only fall to the mid-60s.

Tricky forecast for tomorrow — best rain chance is going to be in the afternoon. What we’ll need to watch is whether clouds break and let the sun peek through for any extended period of time ahead of the front — if this happens, we may be dealing with a few severe thunderstorms (with damaging winds the main concern) during the afternoon hours. Make sure you have reliable ways to receive National Weather Service watches and warnings. Facebook is not that venue — start with a NOAA Weather Radio or an alerting smartphone app such as iMap Weather Radio or even any of the local television station apps. (The Weather Channel’s app will push alerts, too.) With any luck, cloud cover will stick around and we won’t have to worry about the severe threat so much, but it’s better to be prepared!

Sunday looks much better — highs around 70 with a drier airmass in place will make for a really beautiful day in the Lowcountry.

Severe Thunderstorm Watch until 2PM

6:50 AM radar composite and Severe Thunderstorm Watch outline. Subject to change. Image: GREarth

6:50 AM radar composite and Severe Thunderstorm Watch outline. Subject to change. Image: GREarth

The National Weather Service has issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch including the Charleston Tri-County area until 2PM ahead of a potent cold front and its associated squall line. The primary concern is for damaging straight-line winds. While far less likely, an isolated tornado along the leading edge of the line cannot be totally ruled out.

Expect the squall line to begin to affect the western parts of the area late this morning (around 11am); it will make its push to the coast by 1pm. The line will be clear of the area by the evening rush and should not affect the commute.

Inland locations affected by the recent ice storm will be particularly susceptible to additional damage to weakened trees. It won’t even necessarily take a gust that meets severe criteria (58 MPH) to cause problems. Stay indoors as storms approach.

Make sure you are able to reliably receive warnings today and take action if needed.

Friday thunderstorms

At 1:30am, a squall line stretching from New Orleans to Cleveland, OH associated with the trailing cold front from a particularly strong storm system moving into the Great Lakes was steadily moving east at around 30 MPH. The line was roughly 350 miles to the west of Charleston. Tornado and severe thunderstorm watches stretch from Louisiana to Lake Erie and as far east as bordering the upstate of South Carolina.

This line will make steady progress overnight, taking aim on the Charleston Tri-County area during the late morning hours and getting through the metro area in the 1-3 PM timeframe. The line is expected to be steadily weakening as it approaches the coast, becoming further removed from the best upper-air dynamics (and then eventually running into the stable marine layer that often weakens approaching storms). That being said, we’ll have a little destabilization time and some strong to severe wind gusts can’t be ruled out as the line moves through. Also note: A severe weather watch is not out of the question.

People who were hit hardest by the ice storm need to watch this one! Further damage to trees weakened by the ice storm may occur even in thunderstorms that don’t reach severe wind criteria (58 MPH winds) which would normally trigger a warning from NWS.

The line and its associated cold front will get through before the evening rush. High pressure will build in behind it, setting us up for a bit more seasonable of a Saturday (though upper 60s still aren’t too shabby for this time of year!)

Spring preview continues

We’ll be sticking with mostly dry weather (small chance of showers after midnight for inland locations) and the 70s (locally cooler at the coast thanks to the seabreeze and possible sea fog development) for the next few days. Our next strong front comes along on Friday; this front will likely be accompanied by showers and thunderstorms out ahead of it. Interestingly, the Storm Prediction Center has a large 30% severe risk cut out from roughly the GA/SC border up north through the Mid-Atlantic states — something to watch as the forecast is fine-tuned.

Brewvival folks, take note: Guidance generally agrees the front clears the area late Friday/early Saturday, but the degree to which the front makes it offshore is still in some question. Thus, some lingering showers appear possible Saturday morning, so I’ll need to keep some rain chances around in the early going. At any rate, as things stand right now the major mud event from last year does not look to be in the cards this time, but we’ll need to watch the timing of things carefully. More updates as time goes on.

Unfortunately, the longer-range modeling tends to agree that this spring preview will be ending around the start of March as the pattern shifts back to what we’ve seen for much of January and February: A strong ridge around Alaska, bringing dry and warm weather to the West, and a trough in the East, transporting blasts of Arctic air and routing storm systems through. (April can’t come soon enough.)

For now, though, enjoy the warmth — it is such a nice change from what we’ve dealt with over the last couple months!

Saturday #chswx: Windy but clearing

Surface temperatures, radar, and winds around ~1600ft off the surface. As temperatures rise, these winds will be able to mix down and cause some strong wind gusts.

Surface temperatures, radar, and winds around ~1600ft off the surface valid 10:30am February 15. As temperatures rise, these winds will be able to mix down and cause some strong wind gusts.

The rain and the cold front are gone! In the front’s wake, we have a Wind Advisory through 5PM; gusts to 40 MPH will be possible. This could mean additional limbs or perhaps even a tree or two down in the areas most affected by the past week’s ice storm as well as tricky driving conditions on the bridge (don’t worry, it won’t be closed).

Despite the wind behind the cold front, we’ll still get to near 60 today with decreasing clouds to kick off what should be a nice weekend.

12:36 super-resolution radar image from the NWS radar site in Early Branch, SC. Showers on the way! Image: GR2Analyst

12:36 super-resolution radar image from the NWS radar site in Early Branch, SC. Showers on the way! Image: GR2Analyst

Expect the onset of rain in the Charleston area around 2am or so based on current radar trends. About a quarter of an inch of rain is expected through Saturday morning. Rain will be gone by 10am with clearing to follow — we’ll salvage a decent afternoon with temperatures in the low 60s and plenty of sun. Wind advisories are up for the Tri-County area along with the risk of gales in the coastal waters — gusts upward of 35-40 MPH may complicate ice storm recovery efforts in Berkeley & Dorchester counties.

Black ice a concern tonight; “Ravalanche” continues

There’s a chance that we may encounter some black ice in the area tonight, especially the further inland you go. Temperatures are expected to drop right around freezing for several hours tonight, so any wet spots on the roads could re-freeze (especially on bridges and overpasses). I don’t believe this will be as major of an issue for folks near downtown or on the barrier islands (aside from untreated overpasses).

Tomorrow morning’s commute will be hamstrung at least for a short time as the Ravenel Bridge will go into an unprecedented third day of closure. SCDOT will reassess in the morning according to a Mt. Pleasant Town Council member:

Any lingering ice on the bridge should melt away fairly quickly by afternoon. Temperatures will rebound quickly tomorrow and we’ll end up well into the 50s with quite a bit of sun — heat wave! This will help the situation well inland where ice may still be found on some surfaces. Friday night into Saturday morning is looking a little rainy but we should salvage a decent Saturday afternoon. Sunday looks excellent.

Next cold blast arrives this afternoon

Temperatures in the lower 48 as of 4:15 AM January 21, 2013.

Temperatures in the lower 48 as of 4:15 AM January 21, 2013. Image: GREarth

Another cold blast is on its way into the Lowcountry, with the cold front arriving this afternoon. Temperatures will make it back to about 60 before brisk west winds kick in and start bringing colder Arctic air into the area once more. Precipitation will be light at worst with the smart money saying we’ll stay dry. The incoming dry air along with gusty winds will elevate our fire danger this afternoon; please don’t burn outside if you don’t have to. Gusty winds may also cause some travel issues on the bridges with gusts to 40 MPH possible; NWS has a wind advisory for us for said strong gusts from 1 to 7 PM.

Here’s the temperature trend over the next few days:

Temperature forecast and model guidance plot for Charleston Int'l Airport. NWS forecast in the dark green line.

Temperature forecast and model guidance plot for Charleston Int’l Airport. NWS forecast in the dark green line. Via The BUFKIT Warehouse.

Expect lows in the 20s starting Wednesday morning; Wednesday and Friday, we’ll be lucky to break 45. Things start to rebound on Saturday.

The forecast does not necessarily show the degree of dangerous cold we had on January 7-8; however, strongly consider taking similar cold weather precautions each night starting tonight: drip a faucet, bring in pets, and check on loved ones (especially the elderly).

Wind chills in the teens will also be a factor Wednesday and Friday mornings, so bundle up at the bus stop appropriately:

Apparent temperature (wind chill) forecast and computer model plot. NWS forecast depicted by dark green lines.

Apparent temperature (wind chill) forecast and computer model plot. NWS forecast depicted by dark green lines. Via The BUFKIT Warehouse.

If you’re further inland or in a more rural area, things may be a little cooler than advertised here; alternatively, the closer to the coast you are, the warmer you’ll be (albeit not by much; NWS is still advertising upper 20s for lows in downtown Charleston).

As far as sensible weather goes, don’t expect much in the way of precipitation for the next several days with a very dry airmass in place.

Stay warm!

Jared Smith

January 12, 2014

Weather for Second Sunday on King Street and any other outdoor activities on this Sunday will be outstanding by mid-January standards — mid-60s under clear skies anticipated in the afternoon.