Sunday Story: Microclimates

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Weather Headlines

–Cold Rain showers will develop overnight. A snowflake may mix into the rain Monday morning.

–Light wintry precip is possible Tuesday night into Wednesday.

Main threats

Rain showers tonight should stay in the liquid form. With surface temps staying just above freezing, impacts are not expected from any wintry precip.

Light snow could develop Tuesday night and Wednesday morning across the plateau. Some slick spots on area roads are possible. Accumulation is expected to stay under an inch. Monitoring.

Summary

The clouds are loving the plateau here lately! They will continue to love us for several more days.

Rain showers will develop overnight. With temps staying above freezing, any snowflakes that manage to mix in from time to time will have no impact on travel.

Light snow may develop during the overnight hours of Tuesday and that could lead to some slick roads Wednesday morning. This is still a few days away, so I’ll keep an eye on it.

Almanac

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Baldwin’s 7-Day forecast

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And now for your Sunday Story!

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Microclimates of the Cumberland Plateau

Forecasting the weather always comes with challenges. First, a forecast has to be made for an atmosphere that is constantly changing. Then, you have to communicate that forecast to the public, who then interprets what you say in many different ways. It can be a challenge, indeed!

To make matters even more complicated for the plateau is the many microclimates scattered about. A microclimate is a localized area of conditions that differ from surrounding areas. It can be an area of a few square feet to an area as large as a few square miles. 

One of the best examples of a microclimate in our area are the low-lying areas between higher terrain; the “hollers”, as many of us call them. On clear, calm nights in the winter time cold air can settle into these low areas and create temperatures that are 10-20 degrees colder than surrounding areas. 

The trickiest part of winter forecasting for the plateau is due to microclimate areas. If rain moves in during the morning, sub-freezing air may become trapped in some of the low-lying areas. As rain falls into the colder air, it may freeze upon contact, creating very dangerous driving conditions for any road that may run through that area. Meanwhile, nearby areas would be receiving plain rain. The difference of one or two degrees is all it takes to make for a weather headache!

For those of you living on higher terrain, you already know that winds are always stronger for you than for those in the lower areas. That makes your microclimate much windier than surrounding areas. 

Microclimates are certainly not in short supply around the plateau. There are always isolated locations that are windier, colder, drier, warmer, and so on. It’s just part of the reason our plateau is such a unique place!

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