The combination of Tropical Storm Arthur passing close to the Carolina coast and a cold front approaching from the west this week may lead to some additional mesoscale forecast concerns, namely TC-frontal interaction and qpf. It is well-known that the presence of a frontal boundary prior to and during the landfall of a tropical cyclone can alter, sometimes dramatically, the resulting rainfall distribution. In the upcoming event, some models are already indicating a potential PRE (Predecessor Rain Event) over the Mid-Atlantic States and New England.
During the recent CSTAR Tropical Cyclone/QPF project, there were numerous discussions on how to anticipate and identify surface front features that may play an important role in modifying the precipitation distribution with a land-falling storm. The research group, along with invaluable help from RAH forecasters, created a list of surface analysis tips and techniques, many of which can be directly applied to a tropical event. In light the impending potential interaction with TS Arthur, this is a prime opportunity to share the guidance. Please note that this is by no means a complete list of techniques, as there are countless ways to recognize/identify boundaries in observations and data. If you have other methods that are not listed, please feel free to share!!
Surface Analysis Best Practices (click to view pdf)