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10-Day Outlook: Pattern Switch Ahead

Josh Larson @ 11:00 PM

Today's Weather

Today's forecast calls for a partly sunny morning, with clouds increasing throughout the day. An approaching cold front will ignite scattered showers and thunderstorms -- some of which may be severe -- during the afternoon hours. We'll see highs near 73, with cooler overnight lows from the upper 40s to low 50s.

The rest of the forecast, through the weekend and beyond, continues below after the Pattern Overview.

Pictured: Track today's showers and thunderstorms, courtesy WUSA.
Or, for a more close-up view of storm movement and intensity, click here.

Pattern Overview

As I discussed last week, we have been sitting underneath a stubborn upper-level cut-off low. What tends to happen with cut-off lows is that once they migrate to a certain area they are very stubborn to dislodge simply because they become cut-off from the westerly jet which would otherwise carry them along. While the low has opened up somewhat (it is no longer closed), we are still under a deep trough aloft.

It will take a strong push of much warmer air (in the form of a broad ridge of high pressure approaching from the west) to displace the current pattern. Until that happens early next week, however, computer modeling suggests that this pattern will continue: generally, expect morning sun and some afternoon clouds (the latter, a result of cold air aloft causing instability) with temperatures holding from 70-75 for highs and 50-55 for lows.

However, by Tuesday and Wednesday of next week, the aforementioned ridge of high pressure (currently bringing baking heat to the western US) will finally push our trough of low pressure out to sea and lead to a dramatic rise in temperatures for our area by Thursday and Friday of next week; temperatures may approach the 90 degree mark by next weekend!

Pictured above: We'll keep below-normal temperatures until the middle of next week when a very strong ridge of high pressure finally displaces our trough of low pressure.

The next 5 days (May 18-22)

Forecast highs/lows: 72/52 (normal = 77/57)
Forecast precip: Below normal

After today's mix of clouds and sun with scattered showers and thunderstorms, expect a similar day on Friday though any showers and thunderstorms will be much more of the hit-and-miss variety; in fact, I believe most locations will remain dry, with slightly cooler highs near 70 and quite chilly overnight lows from 45-50.

Expect delightful conditions on Saturday with bright sunshine and temperatures near 72/41 for highs/lows. Sunday should feature morning sunshine with more clouds in the afternoon and a slight chance of late day or evening showers; the balance of the day should be mostly sunny and dry, though, with similar temperatures to Saturday. We'll call for partly sunny skies on Monday with a chance for scattered showers and temperatures near 73/54.

The following 5 days (May 23-27)

Forecast highs/lows: 82/64 (normal = 78/59)
Forecast precip: Below normal

Be forewarned: a rapid switch from spring-like conditions to summer-like ones will occur by the middle of next week. On Tuesday, expect partly sunny conditions and a slight chance of a stray shower, with highs in the mid 70s and milder lows near 60. But we really start cranking up the heat on Wednesday, with temperatures likely reaching the low 80s by afternoon. Thursday through Saturday should feature clouds and sun with a slight chance of thunderstorms each afternoon and very warm temperatures in the mid - to perhaps even high - 80s for highs, with muggy overnight lows in the mid 60s.

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