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10-Day Outlook: Rainy and Cool to Rule?

Josh Larson @ 12:00 AM

Today's Weather

Today's forecast calls for overcast and breezy conditions with much cooler highs in the mid 60s. Expect periods of rain, and perhaps a thunderstorm, throughout the day, though the heaviest and steadiest precipitation looks to be from late afternoon into the overnight hours. By Friday morning most places will have picked up at least 0.50" of rain; over an inch of rain may fall in some locations.

Pattern Overview

If any two words characterize the pattern over the next week to ten days, "rainy" and "cool" would seem to be the best. Unfortunately for sun lovers and warm weather devotees, the atmosphere looks to be uncooperative over the coming week or so.

Two key ingredients will provide multiple chances for precipitation, as well as temperatures some 4-8 degrees below normal over the next week: 1) another trough, aloft -- and associated closed low -- will dominate the flow pattern over the eastern US, allowing once again for cooler, Canadian air to filter into the region; 2) a very spring-like, active southern jet/storm track will allow for several widespread, slow moving areas of low pressure (and associated fronts) to trek across our area.

In fact, many models suggest that 2-3" of rain may fall within the next week courtesy these storm systems. In addition, computer modeling suggests that over the next seven days, the only day that has a less than 50% chance of precipitation will be this Saturday. A dreary forecast, indeed, if you're looking to spend time outdoors over the next week.

Image above: the 300mb chart from the GFS model; note the trough over the eastern US and associated closed low.

The next 5 days (May 11-15)

Forecast highs/lows: 68/53 (normal = 74/55)
Forecast precip: Above normal

After today's showers and thunderstorms with highs in the 60s, weather conditions will improve somewhat for Friday. Expect more in the way of sunshine, as well as much drier conditions, with only a slight chance of a stray shower. Highs will be in the low 70s, with lows in the low 50s.

Saturday will feature variable cloudiness (though with some sunshine likely peaking through) and a slight chance of a shower; highs will be near 70 with lows in the low 50s. Weather on Sunday will go downhill, with overcast skies and temperatures only in the mid 60s; expect occasional showers throughout the day. More of the same for Monday -- that is, overcast skies with periodic showers -- with temperatures some 10 degrees below normal and only in the low 60s for highs.

The following 5 days (May 16-20)

Forecast highs/lows: 70/52 (normal = 76/56)
Forecast precip: Above normal

Models suggest that the closed low aloft will be difficult to displace and that waves of low pressure may continue to pinwheel around the low, allowing for continued chances of occasional showers on Tuesday and Wednesday under cloudy skies. Still, at this point, neither day appears to be a total washout. Expect highs both days in the mid to upper 60s, with overnight lows in the low to mid 50s. Sunshine may return on Tuesday as weak high pressure attempts to build into the area. Expect at least partial sunshine, with low chances for rain, Thursday through Saturday, with high temperatures near 70 and overnight lows near 50.

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