Short term issues deal with the strength of the winds and the enhanced fire danger that implies whereas the longer term issues deal with the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day forecast conditions. More about that in a moment.
First off, the light winds and enough of a cloud break early this morning allowed a heavy frost/ice fog to form in some areas creating some hazardous driving conditions. However, just above the surface the wind profilers are already showing southerly winds of at least 20 mph and those winds should have no trouble mixing down to the surface. As a result, look for our surface winds to quickly pick up to the 10-20 mph range during the day. The high level cirrus clouds should be thin enough to allow enough sunshine for above normal temperatures this afternoon.
Those brisk southerly winds will continue through the overnight hours keeping temperatures above freezing for tonight but also bringing in more low level moisture. As a result, I expect the lower level stratus clouds to be widespread by Monday morning and for much of the day. We will still have gusty southerly winds for Monday, but the low cloud deck should hold temperatures into the mid-upper 50s.
A cold front will have arrived by Tuesday morning shifting our winds back to the NE. Little or no rain is expected with this system and temperatures will still be above normal for Tuesday and Wednesday.
Gusty southerly winds will return for Thursday as a stronger system will be approaching and moving over the state by early Friday. The latest data has this system moving more slowly which will allow for more moisture to become available for showers. The better moisture will probably still be east of us, but I am going to start ramping up the rain chances for Thursday and through the overnight hours into Friday morning. Temperatures will be above freezing while the precipitation is falling, so we expect this to be a liquid event.
However, much colder air will be spilling back over the state during the day Friday and Christmas Day looks to be quite chilly. Morning lows in the 20s and a daytime high only near 40 under sunny skies but with a gusty N wind will make for a rather cold and blustery Christmas Day. Sunday will also be sunny and cold.
As always, stay tuned and check back for updates.