Heavy Rain and Strong Storms Possible Saturday

Winds are kicking up, thermometers are rising and that can only mean one thing: there’s a storm system a-brewin’. And this one is particularly potent, with heavy rain and strong storms possible Saturday.

Rain Chances Ramp Up Friday

That’s not to discount the chance for rain we have during the day today as this system draws closer, because we could see some downpours.

This morning's forecast surface chart. (WPC)
This morning’s forecast surface chart. (WPC)

The first wave of the system will be approaching us early, and we’ll see rain chances increase during the day…and that’s in addition to gusty southwesterly breezes 15-20 MPH sustained (gusts could reach up to 30 MPH).

Here's how the HRRR sees things playing out. (Pivotal Weather)
Here’s how the HRRR sees things playing out. (Pivotal Weather)

There’s a chance for some showers earlier in the day, but the main chance comes in during the afternoon hours lasting through the evening. Even with the rain and clouds, temperatures will be near 65° for an afternoon high.

When it's this warm in January. (Giphy)
When it’s this warm in January. (Giphy)

Those southwesterly breezes, combined with clouds and showers will keep us on the warm side throughout the nighttime hours as well…lows only fall to about 60°.

Gusty Winds, Heavy Rain Likely Saturday, with Strong Storms Possible

The real show for us comes during the day on Saturday when the low pressure moves through the region and eventually drags a cold front through the region.

The Timeline

Yeah, I'm talking about this bad boy. (WPC)
Yeah, I’m talking about this bad boy. (WPC)

We’ll see a break in the steadier rain during the early morning hours as we await the cold front. Ahead of it, winds will be downright brutal out of the southwest: sustained winds of 20-25 MPH, with gusts close to 40 MPH…likely a few stronger than that, up to about 50 MPH.

The NAM is showing southwesterly winds around 20 knots…or not far from about 25 MPH. Sustained. (Pivotal Weather)

Make sure any loose outdoor objects are tied down or brought inside. I don’t want to see trampolines in power lines or trash cans clear across the county.

Make sure God’s frisbees stay grounded. (Giphy)

We’ll see the worst of the wind ahead of and with a line of storms along the cold front. The models are being consistent in bringing the front in during the early afternoon hours (think 12-2pm), but the possibility is there that this may skew a little later, depending on the speed of the system.

Here's how the NAM sees things progressing tomorrow. Storms in here by 12-2pm, with rain ending by 6pm. Again, this timing could change. (Pivotal Weather)
Here’s how the NAM sees things progressing tomorrow. Storms in here by 12-2pm, with rain ending by 6pm. Again, this timing could change. (Pivotal Weather)

After the front moves through, things quiet down considerably as winds slowly shift to the west and calm down overnight, ushering in cooler temps with a low around 40°.

The Impacts

We’ve talked about the potential for very gusty winds during the day tomorrow, with gusts approaching 40-50 MPH. But those won’t be our only impacts.

Heavy Rain

The southwesterly winds will be introducing quite a bit of moisture into our region and the cold front will easily tap into this, leading to heavy rainfall tomorrow. Ultimately, totals should end up between about 1-2 inches for the event, with locally higher amounts possible.

Late Thursday night runs of the models were keeping the heaviest rain just west...but I think these totals are a bit underdone. (Pivotal Weather)
Late Thursday night runs of the models were keeping the heaviest rain just west…but I think these totals are a bit underdone. (Pivotal Weather)

Because this rain will be falling in a spread-out enough timeframe, widespread river flooding isn’t expected. The bigger concern will be flash flooding, especially in those flood prone areas (#AvoidFairview). If you encounter a flooded roadway, turn around, don’t drown.

Strong Storm Chances

SPC has taken us from a Slight Risk (2/5) a few days ago, to a Marginal Risk (1/5) yesterday and that’s where we stay this morning, with the greatest threat farther to our south.

SPC Day 2 Severe Weather Outlook. The entire area is in a Marginal Risk (1 out of 5). Main threats are for damaging winds, heavy rainfall and an isolated spin-up tornado.

This is mainly because the wind fields are nothing short of extraordinary with this system for the month of January. Winds just a mile off the ground are in excess of 75 MPH!

For those unaccustomed to upper-air charts...this is...just a bit breezy. (Pivotal Weather)
For those unaccustomed to upper-air charts. this is…just a bit blustery. (Pivotal Weather)

This means the main threat is the potential of a few stronger “storms” (in “quotes” because we might not even see any lightning with them) being able to mix those winds down to the ground. We can never rule out an isolated spin-up tornado in these scenarios, but they aren’t likely. The saving grace here is a lack of fuel…and we can thank cloud-cover for that.

That’s a couple hundred units of energy. Pretty darn close to nada. (Pivotal Weather)

Bottom line: a few severe storms are possible along the line, with the potential for damaging straight-line winds and an isolated quick spin-up tornado. The best threat for significant severe weather will be across the deep south. We’ll keep an eye on things.

Into Next Week

The front will be behind us by Sunday, leading to a cooler day under partly cloudy skies. A high around 50° or so. Temperatures and rain chances slowly go up through the week. Mid 50s on Monday lead to low 60s by Tuesday as another rainmaker is poised to move through for the back half of next week.

That just about does it for me! Follow our live weather feed @wxornotbg for the latest updates on a soggy and stormy Saturday. Have a terrific Friday!