Thursday 10 a.m.
The upper-air feature that has been pumping warm, moist air northward through the Eastern states is getting kicked northeastward by a wider trough that is taking shape farther west. The latter feature is sponsoring the southward push of colder air. Near the core of the cold air mass, temperatures dropped as low as the teens in parts of Montana. A few places had their coldest morning since last winter. In eastern North Dakota, Fargo was hit by gale-force, icy wind gusts carrying the first snow of the season.
The main thrust of the cold air will be across the upper Great Lakes and Ontario, but the leading edge of the change to cooler weather has already reached northern Texas. At Amarillo, it was 64 degrees at midnight with the wind out of south. At 8 a.m. CDT, it was 49 with a north wind gusting past 40 mph! The change to chilly will not be as dramatic when it reaches the East Coast, but it will certainly be noticed. Temperatures will be well up in the 70s in Boston tomorrow... and near 80 degrees in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C. On Sunday, temperatures in those cities will be in the 40s and 50s.
This morning's NMM-WRF run shows the band of rain associated with the leading edge of the change to colder weather crossing the Appalachians by midday Saturday. The rain shown on the map is the predicted amount from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. EDT.
In the six-hour period after this (2 p.m. until 8 p.m. EDT), the rain band almost totally vanishes. I interpret the maps as suggesting I may not actually need the rain jacket that I will carry along anyway to the Penn State - Northwestern game on Saturday. I always carry the jacket in my golf bag so that if it does happen to rain, it looks like I predicted it all along!
These two maps show the change from the very very cold flow likely this Saturday to the much milder Pacific-origin westerly flow later next week.
When we look more closely, we see a variety of disturbances embedded in the main current, each capable of temporarily increasing or cutting off the chance of snow. This map shows the setup:
This map shows the circulation around the offshore storm and a larger but less intense storm moving into the Great Lakes. With this sprawling storm likely to be in the region for several days, the weather can vary widely.
...speculation about a snowstorm Monday or Tuesday, and one is still possible. However, timing and placement remain elusive. This map shows the GFS ensemble mean "solution" for Tuesday morning showing snow just off the New England coast. Watch this story evolve on accuweather.com all weekend.
As we look father out this month, it looks cold for the Great Lakes and Northeast (as well as deep into the South) in the middle of next week but milder the following week. This map, for next Wednesday, shows a cold flow from way north in Canada.