Thursday 9:30 a.m.
The dreariness of yesterday morning in the Northeast has been replaced by dazzling sunshine and deep blue skies. A fast-moving cold front will send clouds streaming across the Great Lakes then New York and New England today and tonight, then a large high pressure area from western Canada will move for the start of the weekend. You can see and hear what this high pressure area should do in this video, along with what the flow behind it should accomplish later in the weekend.
In the short burst of cold air into the eastern Great Lakes tomorrow, showers will break out in the same areas that had them last night and this morning. Since this air mass is a little colder, snow showers are likely over the higher terrain southeast of Lake Ontario. Snow showers with lightning and thunder hit the Tug Hill Plateau last night, and the same thing can happen late tonight or tomorrow morning.
Severe thunderstorms are likely to break out in the middle of the country late tomorrow and tomorrow night, then rain and thunderstorms will advance into the Great Lakes for Saturday. A switch to a southwesterly flow aloft should keep the moisture mostly north of the Middle Atlantic states for much of Sunday... but as a cold front swings around a few showers should reach the area from southern New York to Virginia on Monday.
In most of the Northeast, it is a dazzling day, with the bright sun playing off the leaves that change hue by the day. It's quite a contrast from the dull dreariness much of the region experienced the first half of the week.
The current surface pattern clearly shows the flow that is bringing ocean-cooled air in from the east. If the high pressure area to the north expands southward as expected by tomorrow, this flow will be weakened and perhaps cut off.
The cold front is embedded in a large area of clouds, showers and thunderstorms covering the middle of the country. It will advance past the Northeast coast by the end of the day Sunday. The frontal zone is shown on this picture from late morning Friday.
When weather systems are relatively weak, small scale variations cause forecast uncertainty because several different weather types (such as showers, sunshine, cloudiness, etc.) can coexist in the same region and change constantly. This map shows such a pattern:
Some of the thunderstorms can become severe, with damaging wind and brief cloudbursts of rain. The greatest chance for locally severe storms should be in the "S" areas highlighted on this map (based on the NWS Storm Prediction Center's guidance).
There is a slight risk for severe thunderstorms later today from north-central Tennessee up across Indiana and Ohio to Michigan and eastern Wisconsin (shown by the "S" area on the map below. Thunderstorms are not predicted for areas near the coast from Delaware to New England.
It is not going to snow any time soon, but in any type of weather the flag is a symbol of freedom. This holiday weekend we celebrate the contributions of those who were there to defend the freedoms we enjoy in these times.