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Rain and cool temperatures this weekend

We knew it had to end. The delightful weather with dry air and lower than normal temperatures that made the last few days feel like September is gone. The good news is that some much needed rain is on the doorstep while the bad news is that weekend outdoor plans will be impacted around Fredericksburg.

The unusually persistent upper level long wave trough is still nearby but has shifted a bit to the west, allowing moisture to creep into the region. At the surface a high pressure system has settled in just offshore the New England coastline. That’s a perfect setup for another cold air damming wedge and that’s what we’re experiencing today with easterly winds and low clouds. Here’s a forecast graphic at 8 pm this evening that illustrates “Da Wedge”:gfsNE_sfc_temp_018

Note the cooler yellow shading surrounded by warmer brown and orange shades. That’s an indication of the cool moist Atlantic air being dammed up against the mountains. The resulting overcast and rainfall will suppress the ‘Burg’s maximum temperatures down into the upper 70s and low 80s through Sunday. According to the Weather Prediction Center the entire area can expect close to an inch of total rain by Monday morning, with local spots underneath thunderstorms receiving more than that.

Meanwhile the tropics have rumbled to life with the formation of Tropical Storm Bertha, now located just east of the Windward Islands. The National Hurricane Center forecast keeps Bertha as a tropical storm and tracks it to the northwest until it nears the Bahamas. At that point our friendly neighborhood long wave trough will give it a body block (football season is almost upon us!!) and Bertha will then recurve to the northeast, staying well away from the East Coast. The beaches could see some stronger surf and rip currents so be careful if you’re headed that direction over the next week.

So make plans for a gray weekend but keep in mind that we do need the rain!!

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