HIGHLIGHTS: Strong winds today, A Clear Weekend, Rainy then Cold Next Week
If you've been paying attention to the weather over the past few days, you probably know that strong winds are predicted for the day on Friday. Most areas will see northwesterly winds between 15-25 mph, with gusts as high as 45 miles per hour possible. I'd like to take this chance to explain why we would expect to see such strong winds with a setup like we will see on Friday. The main force in the atmosphere that causes the wind to blow is created by differences in pressure. The greater the difference in pressure, the greater force that is created which leads to faster wind speeds. In the setup for Friday, we have a strong low pressure system that will be deepening (pressure is getting lower) off the coast of New England. At the same time, a strengthening area of high pressure will be moving in from the west. Because these areas of very low pressure and very high pressure will be smooshed (not the technical term) together, we will have a sharp change in pressure located right over our area tomorrow (scientifically speaking, we will have a strong gradient). Once the high pressure moves closer to our area on Saturday, the strength of the pressure difference will decrease, and as a result, the strength of the wind will also decrease.
For the rest of the weekend, the aforementioned high pressure system will give us pleasant conditions, as cool and dry air will be pulled down from the north. By Sunday, the high pressure center should be closest to us, and the wind flow pattern will change from being out of the north to being out of the southeast, which will lead to gradual warming. An upper-level trough will begin to develop over the north central United States on Monday and Tuesday, which will provide the spark that will set off our next weather disturbance for Tuesday into Wednesday. The low center should remain well to our north, meaning that most of the precipitation that enters our area that is associated with the disturbance will be along the cold front. As a result, wintry precipitation looks unlikely at this time. Once the cold front moves through our area, a reinforcing shot of cold air will move into the southeastern United States for Thursday and Friday, giving us what could be one of our last tastes of winter. Unseasonably warm conditions like we've seen in weeks past do not look likely over the next week as the upper level trough will remain over the southeast.
Have a great Friday!
Chase Scott Graham