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!
Typically, late September is in the height of hurricane season. However, things are quiet for the moment. This map by Dan Kottlowski, AccuWeather Hurricane Expert, shows the situation. Keep in mind that the big storm of 2012, Sandy, was still more than a month away on this date two years ago.
This upper-air forecast map for next Saturday shows the flow that would foster a warming trend later in the week and for next weekend.
We always look back at our previous forecasts to try to learn from episodes in which we believe we could have done better. The following satellite picture shows dry weather today in just the area that originally looked like it would have more rain.
In other words, while late summers in Phoenix have gotten wetter during the last few years, Boston has become drier. Is there anything more momentous or general that we can say about this?
This enhanced infrared satellite picture shows the cold front in the Northeast and the moisture wrapping around Odille on the southwest part of the map.
Across the Central and Northern states, thunderstorms are less common at this time of year than in late spring and summer. One area that has had more thunderstorms than usual recently is across the Desert Southwest.