Persistent Patterns

We've had a nice strand of lovely weather lately, but all of that is about to change.

We've seen mild temperatures and plenty of sunshine since about Wednesday, and it's all thanks to high pressure, but this feature is a little different. High pressure means sinking area and usually means fair skies.

This area of high pressure is what we area calling a blocking high, specifically an Omega Block. What does that mean? Well a blocking high is an area of high pressure that is strong, and so strong it prevents storm systems from moving in or pushing it away.

This is called an Omega block because on upper air maps, it looks like the Greek letter Omega.

Notice where I outlined "Omega" on the map.

While we have been sitting under this omega block, we have been experiencing mild and quiet conditions, the center of the country hasn't been so lucky.

The other feature has been a Cut-Off Low. (The big red dot and circles that you see on the upper air map)

This is a low pressure system, that has been cut off from the jetstream or any steering flow. So it's very slow moving, and it's sitting and spinning over the same area and with nothing to direct it, there's not much confidence in it's exact track, and the forecast models have difficulty with these types of systems especially with the timing.

I hear another Meteorologist use this analogy and it's a good way to explain a cut-off low. Think of it like a spinning top, as the top spins it could move basically in any direction because there's nothing directing it. That's kind of how a cut off low is. until some bigger feature picks it up and guides it a long, it's going to slowly meander around the area.

That system is producing plenty of rain.

Take a look at the radar, and the rain to our west as of Friday night.

This is pretty much in the same position it was on Thursday as well.

This is all part of the cut-off low.

Cut-off lows tend to move slower than what the forecast models usually suggest, and we have actually taken that into consideration with our forecasted rain next week.

As far as rain our forecast next week because there is still a bit of uncertainty in the exact track and timing there is still some things we are working out and I'm not going to put a number on what to possibly expect. But it does look like we'll see some rain next week, and it looks like at least through the first half.

A much different story from the end of this week and the weekend.

However, this system isn't producing only rain!

Record May snowfall has fallen from Arkansas to Minnesota!

(By record I mean latest record snowfall, from a trace in Arkansas to over a foot in Minnesota!)

These are unbelievable totals for the beginning of May! 

For the Valley, our latest measurable snow recorded was April 30th, 1925 and that was 1" in Rockingham county. There were on two occasions trace amounts of snow recorded in May, once on May 4th of 1897, The other, and the last time this happened was May 15, 1908. Those  were both trace amounts.

Well let's just hope that doesn't happen here. But as far as the rain goes, the latest drought monitor came out Thursday. There are currently no "Abnormally Dry" or Drought conditions in the entire state of Virginia, or in our area of West Virginia. However, at this time of the year, we would like to see a bit more rain.

Rain in April was about half of what the normal should be. So we would absolutely like to see more rain, and let's hope this system brings us some. Right now there are no flooding concerns and it would take several several inches for that to happen. But a good steady rain would be great.

If you have a weather question, send it Meteorologist Aubrey Urbanowicz answers your weather questions every Monday night on the Valley's Fox News at 10pm.

Follow Meteorologist Aubrey Urbanowicz WHSV on Facebook and Twitter.

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