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!
It does look warmer for the weekend, but every time the warm air tries to extend into New England it gets chopped down. There could be more showers at times Sunday and early next week as forest we can tell. If any forecast gives you a headache, why not take a friend's advice: Take two aspen; sequoia in the morning.
This map from 5AM ET shows the cold front that is continuing toward this Northeast and Middle Atlantic states. Temperatures stayed up in the 70s all night ahead of the front but it turned noticeably cooler after the front moved through.
The cold front that will cut off the heat will generate strong gusty thunderstorms as it moves southeastward today. The National Weather Service Storm Prediction Center highlights the most likely area for these severe thunderstorms today and tonight.
As the high pressure area in the Northeast moves away, the the southwesterly flow pattern will shift eastward. This means Wednesday could be the hottest day of the week from D.C. to Boston. A cold front will follow.
This is a satellite picture showing rather tame conditions off the South Atlantic coast at 7:45 AM ET today. The area is being watched for any signs of storm development.
When looked at this way, you can see two distinct flows in the East: one from the south with moisture, and one from the west that is dry. There is a problem, however: the model solutions evolve over time, and as we get closer to next Monday afternoon (the time the forecast maps are using), the lines and orientations will probably change.