Joe Lundberg

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A Brief Respite Between Big Storms

February 13, 2013; 10:09 AM ET

Wednesday, 11:15 a.m.

Since the Blizzard of 2013, the storms that have been roaming the country have been far weaker. That looks to remain the case through the weekend. Enjoy the lull, because next week promises to become much more active.

On the charts today is a fast-moving wave of low pressure, already over southwestern Virginia:

The upper-level support for this low is still back over the Ohio and Tennessee valleys. You can see that in one of two ways. First, the upper-level 500mb initialization chart for the NAM model:

Visually, though, we see it much more clearly from the infrared satellite picture as of 10 a.m. EST:

This feature will streak eastward this afternoon and dart off the mid-Atlantic tonight. It is a positively tilted, relatively flat wave, so development until it is off the coast will be minimal, thereby limiting the overall precipitation potential of the storm. Furthermore, because the boundary layer is on the warm side, some of that initial precipitation will be as rain, even up into Pennsylvania. That reduces the snow potential even more. So, outside of the central Appalachians, it will be very hard for anyone to see more than an inch or two of snow, plain and simple.

Behind this storm, the next one on the docket will bring snow into the Dakotas this afternoon, through Minnesota into Wisconsin tonight, then into Michigan tomorrow. It will not be a strong storm, and it will be starved for moisture. There can be a couple of inches of snow in much of the area from central North Dakota into southern Minnesota eastward into central and northern Michigan, but there will be some places that get more than 3 inches.

This feature will pull arctic air back into the pattern, first into the northern Plains and Midwest, then into the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley on Friday, then into the South and East this weekend. And that weekend storm? Well, you can see where the disturbance is late Saturday that can spark this storm:

The problem is that as this rounds the base of the trough, the development will be too far offshore to be of any meaning to the mid-Atlantic coast and most of New England. MAYBE eastern Maine can cash in on some snow late in the period as the storm eventually does blossom well out over the Atlantic then heads into eastern Canada. Otherwise, expect the cold to reign this weekend, with scattered snow showers from the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley into the Appalachians (north to south), as well as the Northeast.

Next week? Much different. A system that brings rain through British Columbia late Friday night into Saturday will move southeastward into the Rockies later in the weekend then cause low pressure to redevelop east of the Rockies Sunday night and Monday. It is likely to spark strong to severe thunderstorms from eastern Texas and eastern Oklahoma into the Mississippi Valley, while snow may affect parts of the Midwest, Great Lakes and northern Ohio Valley.

And there will be another storm after that later in the week that could be even stronger than the first one. So, in short, enjoy the brief respite between big storms. It will be exactly that - brief.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or


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Joe Lundberg
Joe Lundberg, a veteran forecaster and meteorologist, covers both short and long-term U.S. weather on this blog.