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!
A storm strengthening off the Middle Atlantic coast will cause episodes of rain and cool gusty winds from Maryland to Maine. The heaviest rain today is focused on the Washington, D.C., to New York City area. Later tonight and tomorrow, the heaviest rain and strongest winds (gusts of 30-40 mph) should spread northeastward across New England. As the storm slowly departs, the weather will improve from southwest to northeast. This map shows the circulation around the storm as of 9 a.m. ET.
The reason for this is a growing and then stalling storm aloft. This map shows the predicted circulation around the storm on Wednesday evening, showing how the moisture could keep going round and round until the storm leaves.
This mornng, showers were moving across the lower Great Lakes region. A band of thunderstorms developed near Chicago before 6:30 a.m. CT and reached the southwest Michigan shoreline an hour later (8:30 a.m. ET). The following maps show the shower zone and Chicago area lightning.
The tropics have been more active recently. This map shows various entities that area being tracked and analyzed. Hurricane Gonzalo stands out clearly.
A couple of days ago, the storm entering the East had a stronger circulation than it does now. Here is the pressure analysis from earlier this morning. Several minor disturbance can be seen, and trough lines representing those have been sketched on the map. Note that there is little difference in temperature from western Pennsylvania to Wisconsin.
The rain band is only 100-200 miles wide, but it is moving slowly. This map shows its location at 10 a.m. today. Once the main rain band passes, it won't be quite as warm as it was when the rain started. However, by mid-October standard, it will still be mild.