Wednesday, 9 a.m.
A southerly flow of increasingly moist air is spreading up the I95 corridor, where the dawn was greeted by dreary dullness and dim, drab drippiness from Maryland to Massachusetts. There are also some showers from western New York to Ohio along a cold front that will reach the East Coast this evening. When that cold front arrives, it will usher in a dry air mass that pulls back the curtain of clouds to reveal brilliant sunshine that plays off the multicolored leaves in the Northeast from tomorrow into the weekend.
In New York City and Philadelphia, typical afternoon temperatures are well up in the 60s at this time of year. Nights cool to about 50 in the cities, but well down in the 40s in many suburbs. The air masses in place from tomorrow through Saturday will bring temperatures that run about a half-dozen degrees below those long-term averages. Saturday morning is apt to be frosty in the colder suburbs from Washington, D.C., to New York City and below freezing in upstate New York and much of New England's interior. However, a strong southwesterly flow of warmer air could boost temperatures to 70 degrees in these areas on Sunday afternoon.
A strong storm is likely to cut through the Great Lakes Saturday night and Sunday, and its associated cold front will trigger showers and even thunderstorms. However, the air coming in behind that storm should not be as chilly as the air that follows this week's fronts. The reason: this week's upper air flow into the Northeast can be traced back to northwest Canada. Next week's main upper air current looks like it will be straight west to east. The video has more.
Thunderstorms were widespread across the Midwest yesterday. This map shows the lightning strokes from 8 a.m. ET yesterday. Note how thunderstorms formed along the sea breeze boundary in the Carolinas.
...after all that, the point is that zone will be north of most of the eastern half of the country. It will be very warm to hot south of the jet stream. However, weakening cold fronts can advance south of the jet stream. then return north as the next disturbance in the flow approaches.
Yesterday, the temperature hit 92 at Newark, New Jersey, and 90 in Boston. The following map shows a northerly flow affecting the Northeast today, and so it will be noticeably cooler and less humid.
This map shows lightning strokes from 8 a.m. ET yesterday through 7:54 a.m. ET today. There was quite a bit of it in Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona. For the whole map, 156,172 lightning strokes were recorded.
Looking at the west-to-east upper air flow over New England well ahead of the storm, it seems like the hurricane should stay out at sea, However, as we look through the series of maps, we see the upper-air flow congealing into a strong eastern trough that helped the storm to come right up the coast instead of heading out to sea.
On this satellite picture, we can see the basically dry weather in the Eastern states. The cold front that will ease the midweek heat in the Northeast is shown by the band of thunderstorms in the Midwest. The thunderstorms may weaken and become more scattered as the front comes into the Northeast.