Looking to the west one can see the large shield of rain that is migrating toward the Commonwealth. This batch of rain extends from the Great Lakes to Arkansas and is producing a good deal of rain. That cluster of rain will arrive in the region overnight. The rain will be fairly steady when it arrives and may be heavy at times. The issues with rain at night is the inability for us to see the rising waters or rising streams and creeks that may be running fast and full. This is a problem during the day, but at night the element of surprise is on the water’s side. Please be careful and alert tonight with respect to rising waterways and water on roads.
Once the rain exits there should be a decent amount of fog. This will complicate the morning commute Thursday. The fog will linger into the middle of the morning in some of the favored locations (near waterways and low-lying regions), but low hanging clouds will also pose a problem in the mountains.
Thursday afternoon there is a nice warm up expected. The issue with the warm up and the spotty showers I am forecasting is that there may be an isolated thunderstorm. There is a chance for some of these isolated storms to produce gusty winds, so that may be a concern Thursday afternoon.
Spring begins Thursday night at 11:49 when the direct rays of the sun are over the equator. This is the vernal equinox. More on that below.
Friday will be the warmest day of the year with the mercury in the thermometer reaching near 80 in a number of locations along Interstate 81, and above that mark east of the Parkway. A front will move through in the afternoon and spark some showers and storms. I will be watching the storms carefully as the warmth of the day and the advent of the cold front across the region may intensify the storms and some may be strong storms with gusty winds and some lightning.
Saturday will be relatively quiet and cool. Clouds will be more prevalent than sunshine Saturday, but little to no rain is expected. Sunday a cool wedge of air butts up against the mountains and I expect a partly to mostly cloudy day.
Rain returns in earnest on Monday and will linger until at least the middle of the week.
As for the Vernal Equinox:
Spring begins on the 19th this year as the vernal equinox occurs at 11:49 pm. According to the Farmers Almanac, this is the earliest equinox in over 100 years. The last time the equinox was on the 19th of March was 1896.
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