Massanutten Resort / Harrisonburg

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Harrisonburg, VA

Massanutten Base Cam
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Forecast Discussion



... High pressure will persist to the north as a stationary front remains stalled across the southeastern states through Friday. The stalled front may move north closer to the area this weekend into early next week.


A few weak echos are being reported on the radar this morning but it seems precipitation is falling out of a mid level cloud deck. It's likely that little to no precipitation is making it to the ground and measurable precipitation is unlikely through this morning.

.Previous Discussion

A closed upper level low is located north of the area with a surface low southeast of Cape Cod. High pressure stretches across much of eastern Canada while a front remains stalled across the southeastern states. A shower or sprinkle is possible across the Appalachians this morning, but most places will be dry. Patchy fog is also possible, though abundant mid level clouds west of the Blue Ridge may put a stop to its most likely area of formation.

The remainder of the day will be partly to mostly sunny and fairly pleasant for this time of year with highs in the upper 70s to lower 80s and dew points in the upper 50s to lower 60s. Vorticity advection around the upper low and perhaps a subtle boundary will help spark some scattered showers and thunderstorms this afternoon into early evening. The greatest chance will be across northern areas where the forcing will be intersecting slightly higher instability perhaps approaching 1000 J/kg. While some gusty outflows are possible with a steep inverted-V profile, severe weather is not anticipated due to weak instability and flow through the atmosphere. There is actually relative agreement in guidance that the best opportunity for convection is in a corridor from near Hagerstown southeast to the Washington metro and northward on the west side of the bay. However, given poor performance recently in precipitation placement, would take this with a grain of salt.

Skies should be relatively clear tonight with patchy valley fog possible. Lows will be in the mid 50s to mid 60s.

SHORT TERM /THURSDAY THROUGH FRIDAY NIGHT/... The upper low will drift farther to the northeast Thursday, although troughing will remain overhead. Surface high pressure will be building in from the northwest with a relatively drier column and minimal forcing or instability. The best opportunity for a stray shower or storm will be over the mountains from diurnal terrain circulations. High temperatures will moderate into the lower to mid 80s, closer to seasonal normals. Dry weather is expected Thursday night with temperatures in the upper 50s to mid 60s.

Heights rise further on Friday as another closed low starts taking shape over the upper Midwest. There could be another stray shower or storm over the mountains, but the same limitations as the day before will still apply. High temperatures will reach the mid to upper 80s. Model spread increases Friday night as a possible shortwave trough lifting northeastward from the Gulf coast may develop low pressure along the stalled front to our south. Warm, moist advection across the frontal zone and the low potentially nearing the area will introduce a chance for rain, especially after midnight. At this juncture however, solutions range from very little precipitation to locally heavy rain. Forecast will likely need refining over the next couple of days.

LONG TERM /SATURDAY THROUGH TUESDAY/... A broad zone of troughiness will reside over the eastern half of the CONUS through the long term period. Locally we'll remain along the eastern periphery of the troughiness, with southwesterly flow in place throughout the period. Our positioning downstream of the trough will keep conditions active through the period, with daily chances for showers and thunderstorms. Temperatures will remain seasonable (highs in the 80s, lows in the 60s to near 70).

A shortwave embedded in southwesterly flow aloft will pass over the area a few hours either side of 12z Saturday morning. While this wave will be poorly timed within the diurnal cycle, it will have lots of moisture to work with, as precipitable water values climb up to near two inches. At the very least, some showers and maybe a few thunderstorms look like a good bet early Saturday morning. It's worth noting that there are a few ensemble members in the GEFS and EPS, as well as the 00z Euro which produce quite a bit of rainfall with this system. If these higher totals were to be realized, there could be some hydro issues. Uncertainty still remains high this far out, but we'll continue to keep an eye on this feature as we move closer.

In the wake of this feature, there may be a little clearing Saturday afternoon, which could lead to some subsequent development of showers and thunderstorms in response to daytime heating. Any such showers or storms are expected to be relatively tame. Highs on Saturday will be dependent on how much clearing occurs in the wake of morning rains, but for now the expectation is for highs to reach in the upper 70s and lower 80s.

Thereafter, attention will turn to a closed lower over the Upper Midwest. This upper low will gradually drift eastward into early next week as it shears out into more of an open wave. Southerly return flow ahead of the approaching wave will start to draw deeper moisture northward on Sunday. However, most of the forcing for ascent associated with the shortwave will remain displaced off to our west. Some showers and thunderstorms will still likely form in response to daytime heating Sunday afternoon, but both the areal coverage of storms and the threat for hazardous weather appears lower than surrounding days.

By Monday, the aforementioned shortwave will take on a positive tilt as it becomes centered just off to our west over the Ohio Valley. By then, southerly return flow will have drawn deep moisture back into the area, with precipitable water values approaching or exceeding two inches across portions of the area. The approaching trough will also provide a bit stronger flow aloft. With the best forcing for ascent, deepest moisture, strongest flow aloft, and greatest instability, Monday will likely be the day that poses the greatest threat for both strong thunderstorms and isolated instances of flooding.

Model guidance begins to diverge a bit by Tuesday, but some solutions show the shortwave to our west stalling out. This would lead to a continued threat for showers and thunderstorms. Details remain unclear at this point through.