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Weather Permitting: Fayetteville area weekend forecast, plus, what's brewing in the tropics?

The Fayetteville Observer logo The Fayetteville Observer 9/22/2022 Chick Jacobs

Autumn arrives this evening with a cool blast of air and one of the most delightful weekends we've seen in the Cape Fear region in quite a while.

After that? All eyes look to the south and the potential for tropical trouble.

In a nutshell: Friday's prep games will be the first "feels like football" weather we've had this season. But if some modeling verifies, it's a safe bet that a LOT of games in the eastern Carolinas will be rescheduled.

More on that in a minute. First, let's give summer a heave-ho.

Here's the setup

Unseasonably hot temperatures Thursday afternoon will give way as a potent cold front sweeps through the state. We'll see scattered showers, some with gusty wind into the evening.

The big news is what's coming behind the front. Temperatures will begin to slide on brisk northerly winds tonight as Fayetteville drops into the upper 50s by daybreak. Dew points will tumble as well, giving us a cool, crisp morning.

The high Friday may not get out of the low 70s, the coolest day we've had since mid-May. With a brisk northerly breeze and dew points in the upper 30s, it's actually going to feel like fall. Prep football kickoff temperatures will be about 65, dropping into the 50s by game's end.

The weekend

Temperatures rebound under sunny skies, but only into the 80s. Saturday should see a high in the upper 70s across the region, then 86 or so on Sunday. Lows will slide into the upper 50s Sunday morning, then low 60s to start the work week.

Down the road: The next work week looks seasonably pleasant. Highs across the region should peak in the low 80s, with lows in the upper 50s. No sign of rain through mid-week.

That's when things get interesting. It's reasonably certain that another trough will slide east across the country. However, the strength and sharpness are uncertain as we go into the weekend. Both are crucial in the eventual course of what could be a major tropical system late next week.

In the tropics

As Fiona churns up the coast, bringing waves and dangerous rip currents to North Carolina beaches, our next potential weather system is trudging toward the Caribbean. As of yet, it isn't named, but we're assuming it will before long. For the sake of discussion, we'll call it Hermine.

Little is certain about Hermine. It's being sheared by the tail end of Fiona, but should develop over the weekend south of Cuba. Mid-range modeling is nearly universal in placing Hermine as a storm, possibly a Cat 1 hurricane, in that area.

After that, the models begin to splinter. The models read the approaching trough, and Hermine's reaction to it, differently. The GFS ensembles tend to make the approaching trough more shallow and quicker, giving Hermine less of a "tug" to the north. As a result, the storm slides further west. It also lingers in the Gulf, gulping down warm water -- a bad sign for wherever the storm eventually lands.

The Euro ensembles paint a different picture, but one the Carolinas would not enjoy. A sharper trough opens a northern path for Hermine earlier. The storm cuts across western Cuba, rather than the GFS path across the Yucatan. As a result, a more compact (but still potent) Hermine slams the Florida Gulf coast near Tampa, cuts into the Atlantic, then rides up the Carolina coast late next week. 

It should be noted that the CMC ensemble and HWRF leans toward the Euro camp, while the ICON stays with the GFS. In other words, Hermine's future is clear as mud.

As you're enjoying this weekend, it might be a good idea to run through your hurricane plans -- just in case. There's no harm in being prepared.

We'll know a lot more about this storm and where it's going on Monday. Until then, have a great weekend!

Got a weather question? Chick Jacobs can be reached at or NCWeatherhound on Twitter.

This article originally appeared on The Fayetteville Observer: Weather Permitting: Fayetteville area weekend forecast, plus, what's brewing in the tropics?


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