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The GFS model is continuing to advertise a strong trough and upper level low pushing toward Virginia early next week. The last couple of days model solutions have been pretty consistent – given minor differences in timing and placement – for what could be a rare January severe weather episode in the Old Dominion.

Here’s the 0-3 km EHI forecast for 18Z  on Monday the 23rd (courtesy Pivotal Weather):ehi03-us_maEven though shear and helicity values are impressive instability isn’t tremendous due to the forecast low overcast (and thus low LCL’s). Therefore this looks like another classic HSLC – high shear low CAPE – winter setup with rapid (40+ knot) storm motions. Forecast soundings support this idea.

Whether this setup will be worth chasing depends on what visibilities are like given a low overcast, how much overall rain will fall, and early winter sunset times. It’s not much fun heading out if fast-moving storms are hidden in rain and under a low overcast. OTOH how many times does a chase opportunity rear its head in January?

We’ll see.