Warm Weekend and an Unsettled Week Ahead

Another incredibly warm weekend is ahead of us with temperatures making a run at 80 degrees Saturday. The record for the day is 82F set back in 1920. Already this fall has been the warmest on record (9/1-10/20) and we'll tack on a bit more to those big anomalies by Sunday. 

Beyond the weekend's warmth my attention is shifting to a storm moving in on Tuesday. A deep trough of low pressure and a connection of tropical moisture will allow a strong storm to develop. With a strong area of high pressure to our east and the low to the west the wind will roar later Tuesday. This sounding from the GFS computer model shows winds of hurricane force only 2,000 feet above the ground! While not all of this will reach the ground strong wind gusts are certainly a possibility.

The GFS model forecast for 11 p.m. Tuesday. The numbers and colors on the right show forecast wind speed from the ground to about 40,000 feet up. The red/green lines show temperature and dew point and how they change with height. What's important to note is how temperatures decrease with height fairly quickly in the lowest few thousand feet of the atmosphere which would promote the mixing of stronger winds from aloft down to the surface.

Additionally, unusually warm water temperatures will help keep the atmosphere a bit more mixed than we typically see in these southerly flow setups. A lot of times in fall and winter cold water temperatures lead to a shallow layer of stability that prevents stronger wind from mixing down to the ground.

The extent of the damaging wind threat is still unclear. How strong the storm is, and where it tracks, will determine how strong the winds will get. The other wild card is whether enough instability develops for thunderstorms to form. We'll be watching this closely!

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