The skies finally cleared and a full day of sun returned to the Cumberlands today, closing out what was otherwise a dreary weekend. After temperatures stayed in the 40s with lots of rain both Friday and Saturday, Sunday was dry and sunny, but still quite cool, as temperatures struggled to rise above 60 degrees with a north wind making it feel a bit cooler than it really was.
A warming trend is in store for the first half of the work week, but another ugly weather weekend could be in store as we move into the middle of May.
First things first: A frost advisory has been issued for much of eastern Kentucky, where temperatures are expected to bottom out in the mid 30s by Monday morning. McCreary, Whitley and Pulaski counties are excluded from the advisory, and no part of Tennessee is under an advisory, as temperatures are expected to remain too warm for frost this far south. Officially, the National Weather Service is forecasting a low of 41 for Oneida on Monday morning.
By Monday afternoon, the threat of frost will be a distant memory, as temps push 70 degrees. And we will be even warmer on Tuesday, with temps expected to top out near 80. That is due to warm, moist air surging into the region, which will bring a chance of thunderstorms as early as Monday night, and rain chances will increase as the week progresses.
Another rainy weekend: The National Weather Service is currently forecasting a 70% chance of rain on Thursday, a 50% chance on Friday and a 20% chance on Saturday. However, it's worth pointing out here that the NWS is hedging its bets on a solution offered by the GFS forecast model, which shows an upper level low in the northeastern U.S. and a trailing shortwave that impacts the South quickly, then scoots out of the picture, with about an inch of rain for our part of the Cumberlands. However, the European forecast model is quite a bit different, showing a deeper and slower upper low that lingers and impacts much of the eastern U.S. -- very similar to this weekend just ended.
If that ECMWF model proves correct, we will see more rain and colder air. But even the GFS keeps rain chances around into Friday night before we begin to dry out. In this afternoon's forecast discussions, the NWS office in Morristown simply notes that it is sticking with the GFS model's solution, while the NWS office in Nashville states that the location of the upper low is not yet clear and the forecast for a dry Saturday and Sunday is subject to change.
Cooling back down? For now, the NWS offices in both Morristown and Nashville keep temperatures on the northern plateau near 70 degrees through the weekend, with lows not dropping below 50. That isn't far off the model output statistics currently being offered by the GFS forecast model. But if the ECMWF model proves to be accurate with its depiction of what that upper low does, temps will likely be cooler than that. Either way, we probably aren't going to be looking at temps as chilly as this weekend, but we aren't going to suddenly see the arrival of summer-like weather, either.
Finally warming up: While there have been plenty of signs that May will be cooler than average on the whole, it looks like some warmer weather may finally be set to work its way back into the forecast. The GFS forecast model has stubbornly projected temperatures getting back into the 80s by the third week of the month, and now NOAA's Climate Prediction Center is getting on board with that idea as well. The CPC continues to forecast below-average temperatures for our region through the week ahead, but for days 8-14, the CPC is now forecasting above-average temperatures. This evening's run of the GFS forecast model was particularly warm, with temps consistently in the 80s and at times even pushing 90 from May 16 all the way through May 23.
Eye to the Sky is a weather blog by Independent Herald editor Ben Garrett. Garrett is a weather enthusiast who has long blogged about interesting weather on his personal website. He is not a professional forecaster or a meteorologist and information on this blog should not be considered a substitute for forecasts, advisories or other products from the National Weather Service.