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Providence weather: Showers. thunderstorms early Thursday

Forecast discussion: A high pressure ridge from the Atlantic helped keep sunshine in the skies for Providence on Wednesday. However, I am beginning to see some high level cirrus move over northern Rhode Island. This is due to a cold front that will bring some showers and possible thunderstorms to the state.

The current radar imagery shows some strong thunderstorms on a line from southwest New Hampshire to Pittsfield, MA. We should be seeing this activity reach us just before midnight. The activity will continue into the morning commute, before we taper off to showers by the late morning. There is the chance of a passing shower through the afternoon. Temperatures will be about 10-13 degrees cooler than Tuesday, as Warwick reported a high of 88 degrees.

As we move towards the weekend, a strong high pressure system over the Central Plains will bring cool, dry air into Southern New England. Winds will eventually turn back to the southwest, allowing for our humidity to rise once again. As we head into Saturday, this will be the eighth straight Saturday we have had dry weather.

But, the consecutive streak of seven straight weekends in a row without precipitation might come to an end. The computer models show a low pressure system now in the Pacific Northwest moving into New England on Sunday. We may see some scattered showers ahead of the system Saturday evening, with isolated to scattered showers on Sunday. As the low’s center moves closer to the Northeast U.S., we will see heavier rainfall on Monday, with some embedded thunderstorms. The computer models disagree with each other after Monday night.

The American model wants to clear us out faster than the European model. We would see an end to the precipitation early Tuesday morning, with partly to mostly sunny skies into next Wednesday. The European model keeps the front over Rhode Island until Tuesday afternoon, before we begin to see some clearing. For now, I like the American model’s scenario a little better. The strong Bermuda high is further south than what the European model believes. This would allow the front to move faster offshore. However, my confidence in the forecast after Monday remains low. There is a chance the low’s center does not move as quickly, resulting in the precipitation sticking around longer through Tuesday.

Finally, Tropical Depression Two was declared a remnant low by the National Weather Service at 11 a.m. EDT this morning. We will have to see if the next tropical system has the chance of being named Bertha.

72 hour forecast:

Tonight: Isolated showers become numerous showers and thunderstorms by the evening. Some thunderstorms may bring heavy rain and gusty winds. We will see a low of 69. Patchy fog is expected, especially along the coastline.
Thursday: Scattered showers and thunderstorms end by the early afternoon with the high only reaching 77. Winds will come from the north at 7-10 mph.
Thursday night: Partly to mostly cloudy and cooler with a low of 61.
Friday: Mostly sunny and warmer with a high of 83.
Friday night: Partly cloudy with a low of 63.
Saturday: Mostly sunny and more humid with a high of 84.
Saturday night: Mostly cloudy with possible showers after midnight and a low of 67.

Extended Forecast:
Sunday: Cloudy with isolated showers in the early morning, becoming scattered by mid-morning. Highs 80-83, lows 67-70.
Monday: Cloudy with scattered showers/thunderstorms. Highs 79-82, lows 66-69.
Tuesday: Showers end by midnight with partly sunny skies by mid-morning. Highs 80-83, lows 63-66.
Wednesday: Mostly sunny. Highs 80-83, lows 63-66.