Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Record Breaking Madness

We're off to a milder start this morning around the Delaware Valley as warmer air aloft has helped to get temperatures nudged into the 40's early this morning at the surface.  We were below freezing for a time in the Pinelands earlier overnight but as some higher overcast moved in and a southwest nudge of air moved in, temperatures moderated once we past the Midnight hour and many locations are now in the upper 30's and lower 40's throughout South Jersey, with Pennsylvania generally all in the 40's.

There are two things to watch today -- first, a cool front will be pushing through the region late this afternoon and evening, bringing a chance of thunderstorms (and showers) with it after 3 PM.   Computer modeling suggests the presence of at least a scattered line (or perhaps a solid line if one were to look at the higher resolution models) this afternoon as daytime heating plus instability to our northwest trigger the line to develop.  While severe weather is not anticipated, a 20 to 30 minute rumble of thunder or a period of showers can't be ruled out as the front slides southeast into the region.  Timing looks to be between 3 and 5 PM northwest of the city, between 5 and 7 in the city, and 6 to 8 southeast.   This is sunshine-dependent, of course, but we should break into a solid round of sunshine after 11 AM or so.

The other question is how warm do we get.  We have a better than 50-50 shot of hitting 70 this afternoon in the city, which would break the record for most 70 degree days in the month of March (previously held by 1921 and 1945).  We won't hit the record high today of 83 but getting to 70 for the tenth time in March is something we've never done before.  Provided that midday clearing does indeed move overhead we should brush the lower 70's in the city and much of South Jersey.

Granted, it will be breezy in the process -- west and southwest breezes at 12 to 18 miles per hour sustained, gusting to 30 this afternoon will make it feel a bit wind-whipped out there.  However, those breezes of warmth will provide one last boost (for this week, at least) of May warmth into the region.