If you were wondering about the hazy conditions this afternoon, it was due to the NW flow at the surface and aloft bringing lots of smoke our way from the controlled burns that are ongoing. From the data on our radar page, those smoke plumes were very evident. In fact, the air quality was degraded enough for the DEQ to issue an Air Quality Health Advisory for the rest of the day.
As for our weekend, the relatively light NW winds of today will be more easterly by morning, quickly becoming SE during the morning hours, and then southerly and quite gusty during the afternoon through the overnight hours of Saturday night. Strong southerly winds will continue through the day Sunday ahead of a cold front that will arrive Monday morning. Those southerly surface winds will bring more low level moisture our way resulting in more cloud cover and higher humidity levels which should mitigate the fire danger somewhat despite the strength of the winds.
That will also result in a chance of showers or storms, particularly ahead of the cold front Monday morning. As you can see, there will be a chance of severe storms for the Sunday night time frame which will likely be extended into Monday morning and particularly for locations further south later in the day Monday.
With the increasing moisture, we could see a few light showers late Saturday or Saturday night; possibly even a rumble of thunder. But, as you can see on our forecast page, the best chance for rain will be Sunday night through the morning hours of Monday, ending by Monday night. Some locations may receive locally heavy rainfall by the time it is all said and done as well.
As for temperatures, the light winds and dry air currently in place will result in a cool start to our day Saturday with most of us in the 40s. Despite the cloudy afternoon skies, the gusty southerly winds should still push our daytime highs well into the 70s. Sunday and Monday mornings will be much warmer with more moisture in place, but look for falling temperatures Monday afternoon on the heels of gusty northerly winds bringing cooler air back over the state.
After that, the rest of next week looks relatively stable with cooler conditions on Tuesday into the day Wednesday. There are some questions regarding another weak system moving overhead on Wednesday which could set off some showers, but right now the moisture return looks to be anemic and most of the energy likely further south. So, will keep the forecast dry for now with the exception of the far southern counties which could see some rain during the day.
Thursday and Friday are looking pretty good but another storm system looks to be headed our way by that following weekend. In fact, the longer range guidance continues to suggest a pattern change is taking place which will allow for more storm systems to be coming our way from the west in the weeks ahead which is a more typical April situation. As you can see, the 8-14 day outlook continues to suggest a more unsettled pattern across the state as systems periodically approach from the west. The more westerly flow is also a warmer flow as temperatures will likely average above normal for that 8-14 day period as well.
In the meantime, stay tuned and check back for updates.