We’ve had nearly a week to dry out, and it looks like another week of dry weather is in front of us, before rain chances return to the Cumberlands.
By the end of the upcoming week, rain chances will be on the increase as a cold front approaches from the northwest. But between now and then, a lot of sunshine and warming temperatures will be the rule of thumb.
In fact, after a chilly weekend, we could see temperatures close to 60 degrees as soon as Monday, and close to 70 degrees by Thursday. It’s going to be a glorious week of spring weather.
As we get into the latter part of the week, a southerly flow will be well established. Winds will actually shift to the south on Monday, which is what will begin our warming trend. The southerly flow will be more pronounced by the middle of the week, leading to even warmer temperatures and breezy conditions. That will increase moisture across our region ahead of the approaching frontal boundary.
Right now, there’s a lot of uncertainty surrounding the nature of this front and how it will impact us here in East Tennessee. The ECMWF model brings the front through on Saturday, with an increasing chance of showers ahead of it. As a result, the National Weather Service has increasing cloudiness and rain chances Thursday and Friday, with a 50% chance of rain on Saturday. The GFS model, however, merges the front with an upper level low pressure system and delays its passage until Sunday.
If the ECMWF version is correct, it could be a rather wet weekend, with an inch or more of rain possible. If the GFS is correct, we’ll only see a little rain on Sunday, unless we see the formation of thunderstorms, which isn’t outside the realm of possibility.
After that, the next major storm system is taking shape for the March 18-20 time frame.
If current indications are accurate, we should probably enjoy the nice weather this week, because the extended outlook is for wetter-than-average and cooler-than-average conditions.
That doesn’t mean a return to winter; cooler-than-average has a completely different meaning in late March than it does in late January. The current GFS doesn’t take us below freezing at any point during the week of March 16-23. By the same token, the current GFS doesn’t warm us above 60 degrees during that week.
By the time we get to next weekend, our average high temperature in Oneida is in the upper 50s. Within another week, it’ll be to 60 degrees. So we can be in the low to mid 50s and be “cooler-than-average.”
For now, the pattern in the extended period looks rather dull, with no significant threats of winter weather or severe weather. However, the frontal passage next weekend will have to be watched for the threat of strong thunderstorms.
As we move deeper into March, the window for wintry weather continues to slide shut. As we all know, big snows can (and do) happen in March. As we get deeper into March, however, those are primarily from upper level closed lows, which are typically more of a threat in West Tennessee than in East Tennessee. Cold snaps are certainly possible all the way through April, but accumulating snow chances begin to significantly diminish as we get into late March and early April.
As for severe weather, all of the long-range forecasts are still for a rough and wooly spring, particularly in this part of the Southeast. The severe weather season is unquestionably off to a slow start. Last year we had already experienced strong tornadoes in Tennessee by this time. We’ll have to wait and see how the pattern develops from here. It’s likely that by the time we get into April, we’ll be talking about a couple of severe weather outbreaks.