Storm Highway by Dan Robinson
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                   Friday, March 20, 2009 - 4:33PM

Spring in downtown Charleston

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We made it - official spring! Here are some shots from this morning around town. Plenty of trees in full bloom and even some green starting to show up in places. It's a little early for this, granted (due to more 70+ degree March days than normal) but a welcome sign that winter is fading (almost - see my comments after the photos).

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Annoying model behavior

We're in the 8th inning and spring has a commanding lead, but the models want to allow winter to poise for another last-ditch rally. The last few runs of the extended-range GFS and the Euro (ECMWF) have shown a large trough setting up around late next week/next weekend. The 00z GFS run (yesterday evening's) turned it into a monster over the eastern US:

GFS 500mb pattern for March 29

GFS 850mb temps for March 29

Those are some cold mid to low-level temps shown there - along with some precip thrown in the mix, which unfortunately would mean snow. The new 12z runs of the GFS today maintain a huge trough, but keep it farther west. The Euro still shows the trough early on, but moderates it as it moves east. So, I really don't expect this trough to be quite as huge, if it actually comes to pass (remember, we're talking flaky long-range models here) - but this is definitely something I'll have to keep an eye on for the next week. In addition to the snow on the back portion, the leading edge of such a trough would likely feature a significant severe weather outbreak (over 2 or 3 days) as well for the southern, eastern, Plains and possibly midwestern US starting late next week.

Awesome downtown shots, Dan!
- Posted by Tony Laubach from Westminster, CO

Thanks Tony! Always great to see this happen every year - a sign that storm season will be ramping up.
- Posted by Dan R. from Charleston, WV

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