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WINDY is the near term story

Given that (a) the winds behind last night’s cold front have picked up considerably (gusting to 28 mph at the UMW weather station) and (b) a High Wind Watch has been issued for the region covering most of Saturday it should be no surprise to anyone that wind is the main story for our weather over the next couple of days.  The strong surface low pressure that dragged the cold front through here won’t move much for the next 36 hours which will keep the pressure gradient tight – and thus strong winds – over the ‘Burg.

The strongest winds will show up Saturday courtesy of very strong winds aloft and a breakdown of the inversion that usually is a shield against these winds mixing down to the surface.  Here is a forecast graphic at 1:00 p.m. Saturday for the winds at 5000 feet above us.  Note the  red shading indicating well over 50 knots (close to 60 mph);  that’s why the high wind watch mentions gusts to 55 mph tomorrow.

Winds at 850 mb level (~5000 ft up) Saturday afternoon

The cold air behind the front will remind us of real December weather with wind chills already in the low 30′s (F).  High temperatures today (Friday) will top out in the upper 40′s under mostly cloudy skies while highs on Saturday will be slightly lower under sunny skies.  Even tho’ the sun will be out more in force tomorrow the winds will shift around from west to northwest as colder air pours over the mountains into the ‘Burg.  By Sunday the surface low will have moved on up into eastern Canada and the pressure gradient will relax, allowing our winds to calm down considerably under sunny skies and temperatures again reaching the mid to upper 40′s.

After the weekend Christmas week looks to be rather interesting weather wise.  A short wave trough will scoot through Monday night providing a chance at sprinkles very early Christmas morning, and then another large storm system looks to plow right across the Old Dominion Wednesday and Thursday.  There are still a lot of model runs to come between now and then but the potential exists for just about every type of precipitation (liquid and frozen) you can think of for the ‘Burg.  Before the snow lovers get too excited about this keep in mind that this could also mean a nasty three-letter word as well…ice.  More detail on this storm will be forthcoming in Monday’s post.

By the way, happy astronomical winter!  The winter solstice occurred at 6:12 a.m. this morning.  Oh, and I guess the world didn’t end today…

 

 

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