A statewide burn ban issued for North Carolina

The North Carolina State Forest Service has issued a statewide burn ban for the state of North Carolina as of 5 p.m. Monday, November 29. The burn ban continues until further notice and has been issued due to increased fire risk in North Carolina. The burn ban means all open burning is not allowed and is against the law.

See the latest on the Pilot Mountain fire in North Carolina.

It is the fall wildfire season for the state and weather conditions this week will lead to explosive fire growth if fires start. In an effort to mitigate the threat of fires, the burn ban prohibits all open burning. Anyone violating the burn ban faces a $100 fine plus $183 court costs. Any person responsible for setting a fire may be liable for any expenses related to extinguishing the fire.

A couple of chances for snow enter the forecast for parts of the Carolinas and Tennesee

The weather is changing as we continue to advance through fall and that’s even more evident with snow chances entering the forecast for parts of the Carolinas over the next week. The first chance for quick-hitting snow arrives tonight for the mountains of North Carolina. A strong upper-level low, with quite a bit of dynamic cooling, will allow for the snow levels to fall to around 5,000 feet overnight. So whatever moisture remains, will fall in the form of snow above 5,000 feet. It also appears up to 1 inch of accumulations is possible above 6,000 feet.

Another chance for snow looks possible next weekend. There are still a lot of questions, but another storm system will swing east, pulling in a strong cold front. This will allow temperatures to quickly fall and it appears there will still be enough moisture behind the cold front for a quick bout of snow across the mountains of eastern Tennesse and western North Carolina overnight Friday (November 5) into Saturday morning (November 6). This is over a week out so a lot of changes and fine-tuning are likely, but models are suggesting this is a real possibility. For more details on this possible snow event, click here.

European model Saturday morning (November 6)

“Superbomb” storm in northeast Pacific

An interesting weather event is forecast to evolve in the northeastern Pacific over the next 24-48 hours. The remnants of Tropical Storm Namtheun are in the process of converting into an extratropical storm system in the northern Pacific. This process will continue on Wednesday and Thursday and the system will rapidly deepen and intensify.

The system will intensify so much that the central pressure is forecast to drop to 950 mb or lower. This is a greater than 48 mb drop in barometric pressure in a short period of time. Because of such a quick drop in pressure during the intensifcation process, this system will become what is known as a superbomb cyclone late Wednesday. This occurs when a storm system observes a drop in pressure of at least 48 mb within a 24 hour period.

European 850 hPa Wind Speeds in knots (WeatherModels.com)
European 500hPa Geopotential Height (WeatherModels.com)

This storm is forecast to bring impacts to parts of British Columbia and Alaska late this week.

Chilly air moving into the South & Southeast

The much anticipated cold front is racing through the Southeast this afternoon. Behind the cold front, drier and cooler air is surging south. This will lead to pleasant afternoons over the next couple of days with highs in the 60s & 70s and chilly mornings. Lows will fall into the 40s for many areas with a few upper-30s for Tennesse, northern Mississippi, northern Alabama, northern Georgia, and western North Carolina. Enjoy and bundle up!

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Tropical Storm developing off the South Carolina/Georgia coasts

A well-defined low pressure is located off the coast of South Carolina. This low pressure has continued to organize with increased shower and thunderstorm activity.

A Tropical Depression or Tropical Storm is likely to develop over the next few hours as the system continues to move west-northwest. The low has a 70% chance to develop into a Tropical Depression or Tropical Storm.

Tropical Storm Warnings are possible for the coasts of South Carolina and Georgia over the next few hours as the system makes landfall late Monday near the South Carolina/Georgia border. Models are in strong agreement the system will make landfall Monday evening just north of the Georgia/South Carolina line. The low pressure will then continue to move west-northwest into Georgia followed by a track into northeastern Alabama by mid-week.

Coastal areas will experience rough seas, rip currents, and beach erosion. The main concern moving inland will be heavy rainfall. 2-5″ of rain can be expected from southeastern South Carolina, eastern Georgia, north and west into central Georgia, and northeastern Alabama over the next 48-hours. Areas of heavy rain will also move into southern Tennessee over the next 48-hours.

Winds gusting up to 35 mph are possible as the system moves west-northwest across the Southeast. The strongest winds will be located near the coast but 30 mph wind gusts are expected across all of South Carolina, Georgia, northeastern Alabama, and southeastern Tennessee Monday night into Tuesday.

Tropical Depression Two develops off the North Carolina Coast

Tropical Depression Two (TD2) developed off the North Carolina Coast Monday. TD2 has winds of 35 mph and is moving northeast at 21 mph. TD2 is forecast to intensify throughout the day into Tropical Storm Bill with sustained winds of 50 mph by Tuesday morning.

The northeast movement will steer TD2 away from the United States coast. Impacts are forecast to be minimal for North Carolina and the East Coast. A few rain showers and storms are possible for coastal parts of North Carolina but the main impacts will be rough seas for North Carolina and the East Coast. If you have any beach plans, be aware of rip currents and follow all rules by local officials.

Muggy and Daytime Storminess in Atlanta in the Coming Days

5-day rainfall totals

Atlanta and the surrounding metro areas will experience muggy and wet conditions through the remainder of the weekend into mid-week. A surface high pressure will remain off the Southeast coast, while a closed mid-level low spins over the southern and central Plains. This pattern will favor southwesterly flow (winds coming from the southwest), which will maintain  a moisture-rich atmosphere across the Atlanta area. 

The closed low in the Plains will not come far enough eastward to provide much lift in the atmosphere over Atlanta. Also, no frontal boundaries will trek southward to provide much lift either. Thus, the primary lifting mechanism to support rainy and stormy weather will come from daytime heating each day. On most days, I expect that storms will fire earlier in the afternoon and begin to die out in the early evening. A few could last into the evening hours. 

The Weather Prediction Center currently has 5-day rainfall totals in Atlanta and across the metro between 0.25-0.75 inches. They have areas closer to the Appalachians in northern Georgia getting between 1-2 inches, thanks to orographic lift. Honestly though, totals could exceed those ranges in both places. With decent moisture in the atmosphere, Atlanta could find itself picking up a quick inch from any storm that develops and moves over the city. With that said, the more widespread precipitation will occur over the Mid-south, closer to the closed low.

5-day rainfall projections for the U.S.
5-day rainfall projections for the U.S.

Afternoon storms and more than average cloud-cover will keep daily highs below average most days. Even so, outdoor conditions will remain uncomfortable due to above average humidity. We’re used to it in the South, but if you’re anything like me, I still don’t like it.

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

By the way, I’ll begin including much better maps, specifically made for Atlanta and surrounding areas very soon. I apologize for the less than stellar national maps in the meantime. 

Tropical development possible in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico over the next week or two

The official start of the Atlantic Hurricane Season began June 1st and the tropics appear to heat up by the end of the second week of June. All eyes are on the western Caribbean and southwestern Gulf of Mexico from late next week into the following week for tropical development. The timeframe to monitor is June 10th through June 15th.

Forecast models have consistently indicated the possibility of tropical development in this region for a few days, so this has heightened awareness of this possibility. Diving deeper into the setup, it does appear a favorable environment supports this idea as the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) transitions into a wetter phase over the Caribbean. The MJO in this phase would favor the development of thunderstorm activity over the Caribbean, lowering the surface pressure, which would have the possibility to further strengthen into a low pressure that could develop into a tropical cyclone. This is why the forecast models have indicated a setup favorable for tropical development is on the horizon. 

The area of thunderstorms over the Caribbean late next week will be over warm waters. Water temperatures are favorable for the development and strengthening of tropical cyclones in this region. In the Gulf of Mexico, water temperatures have risen into the 80s. Water temperatures this warm will support tropical activity. As the area of thunderstorms, and associated lower pressures, moves into the southwestern Gulf of Mexico. It will have the opportunity to develop into a tropical cyclone due to the warm waters and forecasted lower wind shear. Wind shear, while great for severe thunderstorms, is not idea for tropical systems, so the lower wind shear over the Gulf will help assist in tropical development by mid-June. 

Looking back on the history of June tropical systems, this is an area that has “spawned” tropical cyclones, so this setup and timeframe will need to be monitored closely. Another concern is, if a system develops in the western Caribbean or southwestern Gulf of Mexico, it has a higher probability of impacting the United States. These systems typically move into the Gulf States. All interests from Texas to Florida should keep an eye on the forecast over the coming days. 

There is still high uncertainty in this setup and the forecast is fluid. It is no guarantee that a tropical system will develop but the setup does raise eyebrows. Keep checking back for updates. 

How to protect your furry loved ones as the temperatures continue to climb

Temperatures have been warm to hot for a good chunk of the lower-48 at some point this season and everyone will experience the summer-like heat over the coming weeks. With the summer heat, comes summer time off and many like to spend their time outdoors with their furry loved ones.

It is important to remember, as the temperatures climb, you need to protect your pets from the heat. It is easy to forget how quickly pavement heats up during the warm months. When temperatures climb into the mid-80s, your pets are already a danger when walking them on concrete and asphalt. The temperature of paved surfaces climbs between 105 to 130-degrees when air temperatures are in the mid-80s. Add an additional 10-degrees to the air temperatures (mid-9os) and those pavement temperatures climb between 140 to 155-degrees! Temperatures this hot on pavement will quickly burn the paws of your furry loved ones in just seconds.

The reason pavement temperatures are hotter than the air temperature is because these surfaces absorb heat fast compared to grassy surfaces. It is safest to walk your furry loved ones in the grass as temperatures continue to climb.

There is a test you can do to check the heat of the pavement to determine if it is too hot for paws. Touch the pavement with the back of your hand for 7-seconds. If the temperature of the pavement is hot on your hand, it is too hot for your pets. It is also important to remember to bring your pets inside or provide them with adequate shelter as temperatures continue to climb, and ensure your furry loved ones have plenty of water.

Subtropical system may develop in Atlantic

A broad area of low pressure northeast of Bermuda, in the North Atlantic, has a chance to develop into a subtropical system as it moves west-southwest over the next few days. The area of low pressure will begin to strengthen as it moves into a favorable environment with less wind shear and warmer ocean temperatures.

This environment may allow for a brief window of intensification into a subtropical system, possibly becoming the first subtropical storm of the season. The National Hurricane Center gives this broad area of low pressure a 90% chance for development into a subtropical system over the next five days.

If this system develops, it would become Ana. ‘Ana’ is expected to eventually turn north, moving into cooler waters and an atmosphere with high wind shear. This will quickly weaken ‘Ana’ and keep the system from impacting the U.S. Keep in mind, the 2021 Atlantic Hurricane Season begins June 1st.