Good morning! The weather story locally will stay quiet through the end of the week, so most of our eyes are focused on Hurricane Sandy and its POTENTIAL impacts to the Northeast by early next week.
Here's the quick local round-up: Highs today will stay warm, rising into the mid to upper 70s area-wide under mostly sunny skies. We'll see a few extra clouds on Friday, but temperatures will stay on the warm side. On Saturday, highs will be slightly above-normal, but beyond that point, we'll be talking about a MAJOR cool-down. A cold front will sweep through the area this weekend, bringing a small chance of a shower to the Mountains - but more noticeably, a big temperature drop.
Sunday highs will already be cool - in the low 60s in the Upstate and mid 50s in WNC... but the chilliest days will come early next week, as highs will be more similar to wintertime temps. Upstate highs will be stuck in the mid/upper 50s, while Mountain highs won't get out of the 40s. Morning lows will be VERY cold, especially by Tuesday and Wednesday - Upstate lows dip well into the 30s, while Mountain temperatures will go as low as the upper 20s and low 30s. Prepare for a widespread freeze in WNC, with many Upstate areas off to a frosty start those mornings.
Now, for the latest on Sandy. The storm is currently a Category 2 storm (this was written at 7 AM Thursday) moving over Cuba. Sandy will move back over water within a few hours, and will likely maintain at least Category 1 strength as it moves north over the Bahamas. The storm is bringing rain and gusty winds to parts of South Florida today, and while it is expected to stay off the Carolina coast, could bring some tropical storm-force winds and rain to areas like Wilmington, NC and Myrtle Beach.
Landfall still looks to be somewhere from VA to Nova Scotia (exactly as Kendra's post last night said), as it encounters a cold front/trough moving over the East Coast. Whether or not the storm remains tropical (a hurricane/tropical storm) or becomes an extra-tropical cyclone, it is predicted by the models to remain strong and LARGE. This means major eastern seaboard metro areas will see periods of strong, gusty winds and heavy rainfall. Coastal areas could be battered by a strong surge (astronomical high tide will come during the landfall-timeframe) and erosion. Mountain areas of West Virginia and parts of PA could see some persistent snowfall, while much of the eastern part of the country will feel that big chill.
The biggest worry is that the storm could cause MAJOR travel and power problems that could be long-lasting. Of course, after the derecho earlier this year there was plenty of trouble getting the power restored... and this storm would also have the potential to bring widespread power outages. We're still days away, so there's plenty of time for the forecast to change... so stay tuned. In between blog posts, if you'd like to see the latest from the HPC regarding Sandy, click here.