Forget the baskets and egg dye. Fins or a rowboat might be more appropriate for Easter weekend, if a wet weather pattern that appears to be setting up over the Cumberland Plateau region actually comes to fruition in the week ahead.
Models are consistently wet for our region next week, as it looks like conditions will align perfectly for a weather-maker that can dump a lot of rain. Easter weekend itself may see our region dry out quite a bit; the time frame in question is Wednesday-Thursday, with the heaviest rain moving out of the region by the start of Good Friday.
Here's what's happening: after a storm system brings rain to the Cumberlands tomorrow, we'll see upper atmosphere ridging set up over our region on Monday and Tuesday, which will help us dry out and temperatures warm. An area of high pressure should be positioned to our southeast, which will allow moisture to flow into our region from the Gulf of Mexico as air rotates around that high pressure. Then, a storm system will approach from the Plains, which will provide the catalyst that all that moisture needs to get dumped on us in the form of rain.
Because of the positioning of that high pressure system, precipitable water values currently look like they could be near record levels for this time of year. Throw in an active upper level jet with the approaching low pressure system, and you have a recipe for a lot of rain on Wednesday and Thursday.
The 0z run of the GFS forecast model this morning indicated about 7.5 inches of rain for our region on Wednesday and Thursday. That is a serious two-day rain total that could result in flooding if it pans out. The 6z run of the same model wasn't quite as wet, but still plenty wet enough, indicating six inches of rain for our area over the two-day period.
It's way too soon to say that this model depiction is accurate, and today's runs have been significantly wetter than yesterday's runs were. But it's definitely something to keep an eye on, as we could experience a very soggy run-up to the looming holiday weekend with the potential for flooding.
Easter itself may or may not be dry. There's potential for another storm system to develop and impact our region around the end of the weekend or early the following week. If that storm system develops, and if it impacts our region, timing may well bring it here around Easter Sunday. But there's hardly any certainty with regard to this potential system at this time.
The good news is that we may finally see a more sustained warm-up as we get into spring break week, the first week of April. At least that's what it looks like for now. NOAA's Climate Prediction Center is forecasting below-average temperatures for our region for its Day 8-14 period, which takes us through April 5. There's time for that forecast to change, however, especially if the current look of the GFS forecast model pans out.
Incidentally, the CPC issued its updated long-range forecasts last week, and it is calling for above-average temperatures in April, then for a hot start to summer as warmth floods much of the continental U.S. for the months of April, May and June.
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.