High altitude clouds. Gusty across mid to upper elevation mountain ridges & plateaus. SSW-SW winds increasing to 05-15 mph, with higher gusts, on exposed ridges-plateaus below 2700 feet. SW winds 10-20 mph, with higher gusts, across upper elevation ridges. Mild with widespread temps in the lower 50s to lower 60s on mid-upper elevation ridges and plateaus verses upper 30s to lower 40s in sheltered valleys protected from gusty winds.
Mix of clouds and sun with an increasing cloudiness trend by late afternoon. Unseasonably warm. SSW-SW winds at 5-15 mph, with higher gusts. Temperatures varying from 60 to 65 degrees at highest elevations to the mid-upper 70s ( 70-75 degrees in Norton-Wise ).
Tonight Into Friday Morning
Cloudy & gusty into the early overnight. Warm. Showers, with a chance of thunder, developing by late evening into the overnight. SW-WSW winds 10 to 20 mph, with higher gusts, on mid-upper elevation mountain ridges-plateaus shifting NNW-N and decreasing to 5-15 mph by morning. Temperatures widespread in the 50s & 60s throughout the evening, dropping into mid-upper 40s to mid-upper 50s by morning ( coolest at the highest elevations ).
Weather Discussion ( March 9-10 )
I was able to get into the woods for a little while during the afternoon hours of Wednesday and found many Trout Lilies coming up, but only one or two beginning to bloom.
My nature journal shows that the first Coltsfoot and Trout Lilies started blooming in recent years during the following periods:
2015 Late March
2014 Mid-Late March
2013 Late March-Early April
2012 Late February-early March
2011 Early-Mid March
2010 Mid-Late March
Blooming times being dictated by weather conditions during any given year, with the scene below illustrating what it looked like one year ago Wednesday in the High Knob Lake Basin.
A general 10″ to 15″ of snow depth, with 18″ to 30″ depths in places, were observed one year ago today in the High Knob Lake Basin in wake of a huge February 2015 snowpack ( this was part of a 14-day gush of water run-off ).
Anomalous warmth which developed in March 2012, and triggered devastating tornadoes in eastern Kentucky, got early wildflowers like Coltsfoot and Trout Lilies blooming earlier than this year. By contrast, a snowy-cold March in 2013 did not allow for blooming until late March into early April ( the latest observed since 2010 ).
Observe the nice red pollen that is on this plant from the stamens. A few early season insects were working, of course, the flower in unseasonable warmth on this day ( not record warmth here, but not far away either ).
Polypore Fungi which over-wintered are nice and white along a Cherry Birch ( Betula lenta ). These are the main fungi visible now as everyone waits for beloved Morel’s ( called Dry-land Fish in the mountains ) to emerge into mid-Spring.
The weather focus tonight is on yet another vertical temp spread that is finding sheltered valleys with readings in the chilly 40s verses widespread 50s across mid-upper elevation mountain ridges and plateaus ( 60s in lowlands to the west and south of the Cumberland Mountains ).
Abundant mid-high clouds and mixing are making vertical temp differences smaller tonight, with 3:00 AM readings varying from 45 degrees here in Clintwood to upper 50s in Wise ( 51 degrees atop the High Knob Massif amid gusty SW winds ).
While an increase in moisture along a weak boundary will bring showers, with a chance of thunder, by late tonight into Friday morning, this boundary will stall and tend to wobble back and forth across the area to generate periods when showers will be possible ( but nothing like the fire hose of concentrated moisture that is flooding the lower Mississippi Valley with local 10-20″ rainfall amounts ).
Note how dry air northwest of the mountains ( above graphic ) settles south into the area ( below ) by Friday afternoon.
Moisture with the boundary returns north Friday Night into Saturday ( below ) with a chance for more rain showers.
Drier air may then return by Saturday night into Sunday.
I have used the precpitable water forecast charts, which I introduced to you in my 030916 Forecast, to illustrate how models are suggesting a weak boundary will wobble around the area with periodic chances for showers from tonight into this weekend ( but with many dry hours likely ).
It is the upcoming 5-10+ day period ahead, beyond the next 4 days, that I am looking at with most interest as this will be a period of change with progression of the western USA trough eastward.
There is increasing potential being shown for a much wetter, and eventually much cooler, pattern during the extended 5-10+ day period.
*Very preliminary rainfall estimates of 3.00″ to 5.00″+ are being forecast by the European Model along the Cumberland Mountains and Cumberland Plateau during the 5-10 day forecast period that is centered on the week of St. Patrick’s Day. A trend that will need to be closely followed in coming days using this 51-Member group.