More gorgeous weather for the weekend – can you handle it?
A broad area of high pressure is setting up across the Southeast, and it means there’s some great weather in store for Virginia this weekend.
Unfortunately, despite the great conditions, we’re stuck with the reminder that it really is December, meteorological winter really did start yesterday, and the threat of snow in our distant future is rather real. Governor Bob McDonnell has declared the week of December 4-10 to be Winter Preparedness Week in Virginia, and the National Weather Service will be issuing statements each day next week about winter weather, its causes and impacts on Virginia.
The activities actually kicked off today with a preview of this season’s winter weather forecast and a review of some common terms, watches, and warnings.
GOVERNOR BOB MCDONNELL HAS DECLARED THE WEEK DECEMBER 4 TO 10, 2011 AS WINTER PREPAREDNESS WEEK IN VIRGINIA. THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE /NWS/ OFFICES SERVING VIRGINIA…IN COOPERATION WITH THE VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT…WILL SEND PUBLIC INFORMATION STATEMENTS OVER THE NOAA WEATHER WIRE SERVICE EACH DAY THROUGH SATURDAY AT APPROXIMATELY 11 AM AND 3 PM EST. THESE STATEMENTS WILL FOCUS ON DIFFERENT ASPECTS OF WINTER WEATHER IN THE MID ATLANTIC REGION…AND PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS THE PUBLIC SHOULD TAKE FOR THE UPCOMING WINTER SEASON.
THIS WINTER…OCEAN TEMPERATURES IN THE EQUATORIAL PACIFIC OCEAN ARE FORECAST TO REMAIN BELOW NORMAL…OR IN A LA NINA PATTERN. LA NINA WINTERS ARE GENERALLY CHARACTERIZED BY DRIER THAN NORMAL CONDITIONS ACROSS THE EASTERN SEABOARD. THIS IS DUE TO THE FACT THAT THE PRIMARY STORM TRACK DURING LA NINA WINTERS IS ALONG OR WEST OF THE APPALACHIAN MOUNTAINS. THIS PATTERN ALSO GENERALLY PRODUCES WARMER THAN AVERAGE WINTER TEMPERATURES. HOWEVER…ATMOSPHERIC PATTERNS SUCH AS THE NORTH ATLANTIC OSCILLATION /NAO/ AND THE PACIFIC-NORTH AMERICA INDEX…WHICH AFFECT THE AMOUNT OF COLD AIR AVAILABLE AND THE MOVEMENT OF COASTAL WEATHER SYSTEMS…ARE NOT PREDICTABLE MORE THAN 2-3 WEEKS IN ADVANCE. DURING THE LAST 2 WINTERS…THE NAO WAS GENERALLY NEGATIVELY…LEADING TO COLDER THAN AVERAGE WINTERS. SINCE THE NAO HAS TENDED TO REMAIN NEGATIVE MOST OF 2011…IT IS QUITE POSSIBLE A NEGATIVE NAO COULD PRODUCE COLDER TEMPERATURES THAN WOULD NORMALLY BE EXPECTED IN A LA NINA WINTER.
There’s plenty more there, especially if you can survive reading the all caps format. That’s going to eventually change, I believe; a handful of National Weather Service forecast offices are currently beta-testing transmitting products in mixed case instead of the all-caps format that’s been customary.
But enough about snow and winter weather – I promised you awesome weather this weekend, and that’s exactly what I intend to deliver. Clear skies today helped us outperform model guidance by a few degrees, allowing RIC to record a high of 62 degrees today. Now that the sun has set, temperatures are going to drop rapidly; we’ve already dropped from 61 to 45 in just three hours.
Saturday: If you’re heading out for the Christmas parade in the morning, layer up! Mostly clear skies will allow temperatures near 30 at 7 in the morning, and then climb steadily into the upper 50s by the afternoon. They’ll fall back into the mid 30s Saturday night.
Sunday: Some clouds creep into the picture ahead of another cold front swinging through next week. For the most part, though, we’ll still be warm in the day and chilly at night. If the clouds can keep away, we’ll likely see a high in the low 60s; widespread cloudcover would keep us down to the upper 50s. Clouds slowly continue to build in Sunday night, preventing some of the hardcore radiational cooling we’ve seen this week and allowing lows to hang out around 45.
Looking ahead to next week, temperatures will stay warm on Monday ahead of the next frontal system, though clouds will build up in earnest starting on Monday. Rain showers show up on Tuesday, and temperatures cool off again behind the front.