Sunny Weekend; Much Cooler Saturday
Good morning folks! Looks like freezing temps will be hard to come by over the next 5 - 7 days, even across the highest elevations, with our only shot being Friday night, but even then low temps around 5500 - 6400' look to dip into the mid - upper 30's. A cold front is currently entering our region this morning (Thursday) and will take most of the day and night to exit to the east, but we'll be treated to a round of light - moderate rain late this morning, continuing through the evening hours and fizzling out shortly after sunrise on Friday. This is a change from our previous discussion on Tuesday, calling for showers to develop much later in the day and another change is the inclusion of thunderstorms shortly after midday, which of course could lay down much more than the 0.10 - 0.25" of rain we expect from this event. After the front exits on Friday westerly flow will take over and the higher elevations above 4500' will experience temps declining throughout the day, while the remainder of the region enjoys a nice fall classic with temps in the mid - upper 60's under sunny skies. Fair weather continues through the weekend, however Saturday is likely to be our only fall like day with temps holding to the mid 50's - upper 60's depending upon elevation, compared to the low 60's - mid 70's expected on Sunday; both days under sunny skies. A shortwave and associated front approach the region on Monday, setting the stage for late day and overnight showers that will clear out by Tuesday, but isolated shower chances linger the remainder of the week, possibly ramping up to regionwide coverage by next Thur/Fri. Temps will cool down slightly to the upper 50's - low 70's starting Monday as clouds build ahead of the incoming front and they should hold to this level the remainder of the week, which is only 2 - 3 degrees above normal for late October.
Leaf/color season continues to crawl along, however the recent cold snap is showing signs of moving the color change along, with reports of spotty color creeping down to the 3800 - 4200' level. This weekend remains a good window to enjoy the color season, however full blown, peak color for the mid elevations (3000 - 4500') is still a 1 - 2 weeks away. We can blame this exceedingly warm autumn season for the delay in color change.
Starting the timeline on Friday we'll wake up to cloudy skies and winds out of the west as the front marches east across the Piedmont. A few stray showers are likely before 9am but clouds should clear quickly, with sunny skies overhead before midday. Temps hold to the upper 40's - low 50's above 5800', while the valleys warm to the upper 60's, alongside westerly winds around 5 - 10mph, a touch higher above 4500'. If you have plans to visit the Parkway on Friday, pack an extra layer before heading out as temps will likely decline starting as early as 1 - 3pm as cold air advection takes over, with overnight lows settling into the mid 30's - mid 40's depending upon elevation; under mostly clear skies after midnight.
Saturday looks gorgeous with sunny skies, temps in the mid 50's - upper 60's depending upon elevation and not much in the way of wind. This is the day to snag those long range views/pictures as the post frontal airmass will offer up a clear view of the area, as opposed to a slightly hazy view on Sunday as southerly flow brings moisture back into the region. Temps overnight settle into the low - upper 40's under clear skies and with an upper level ridge overhead Sunday, they'll bounce to the mid 70's along the valley floor, with sunny skies sitting overhead most of the day. Clouds build slowly Sunday night and temps respond, holding to the upper 40's - low 50's across the region, which is well above normal for late October.
We start the new work and school week under mostly cloudy skies and temps in the upper 50's - low 70's, which is near normal but still 2 - 3 degrees above average. Showers are expected to develop later in the day, with regionwide coverage sometime during the evening hours, fizzling out by sunrise on Tuesday. Even though the disturbance will have cleared the region Tuesday morning, enough moisture and southerly flow will be present to keep partly - mostly cloudy skies around through Thursday, alongside isolated showers each afternoon. Temps hold to the upper 50's - low 70's Tuesday through Thursday and the models are pointing to a possible late week cold front that would bring another regionwide round of rain sometime late Thursday or early Friday.
We'll stop here and circle back on Saturday with a better look at the Monday and Thursday rain events. ENJOY!