Tuesday 9:45 a.m.
A southwesterly flow of warm, moist air ahead of a cold front is contributing to a band of rain and thunderstorms that stretches from the Ohio Valley into parts of the Middle and North Atlantic states. We expect some showers and thunderstorms to cross the I95 corridor from D.C. to Boston later today and this evening.
The cold front should slip south then stall from Virginia or Maryland to Kentucky tomorrow. With the front likely to make only limited progress, some additional showers may occur tomorrow from D.C. to New York City and on west. Most of New England should turn sunny.
In general, computer models suggest a low pressure area forms along the front in the Middle Atlantic states on Friday then slowly moves up along the coast this weekend. If that happens, it will be a damp weekend in the I95 corridor of the Northeast.
In contrast, most of the Great Lakes region looks like it will bask in sunshine with afternoon temperatures in Detroit and Chicago close to 70 and nights cooling to the 40s and 50s. The video has more.
In the longer range, the re-curving of the latest western Pacific typhoon may signal an upper air trough (and cool weather) in the Northeast in a week to 10 days.
Late September is not generally known for widespread thunderstorms, but this map shows near 50,000 lightning strokes in the period from 8 EDT last night until just after 8:30 EDT this morning.
The surface pressure pattern looks chaotic today, with a multitude of trough lines. A few of these can be caused by glitches in the data, but any of the real ones could be all that's required to organize a short band of showers or thunderstorms. However, these features tend to change character with time, or they disappear and new ones pop up.
Here's a cool fact: even when Death Valley, California, has a temperature of 110 or 120 degrees, you only have to go up a little more than 3.5 miles to find temperatures at or below freezing.
It appears the dry comfortable air mass now in the Northeast will be replaced by a humid flow from the South Atlantic states for the coming weekend. An upper-air forecast map sequence in the video shows how this could happen. The following map shows the predicted flow from Florida to New Jersey Friday night.
This map shows the pressure analysis for the Northeast and Great Lakes. The gusty flow on the west side of the low pressure area adds a real autumn feel to the air.
Since individual lines and clusters of thunderstorms have limited life spans and change character constantly, forecasting whether it will or won't rain at any one time this weekend is difficult at best. One solution is to have your tablet or phone available with the AccuWeather.com app so you can see where all the storms are at the times when it concerns you the most.
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.