Thursday, 11:40 a.m.
The past two days of violent weather should be sounding the alarms for the 'official' start of the severe weather season across the country. Tornadoes have touched down in more than a half dozen states in the past 48 hours and have resulted in a number of fatalities and large-scale destruction.
The severe weather seems a bit early, especially as far north as we've seen it, but I think that's more a byproduct of the overall lack of a winter season. As one forecaster pointed out in our long-range meeting this morning, everything seems to be running about a month ahead of schedule, and that's being borne out in seeing all of this nasty weather so far north already.
And we're not done. Here's what we're expecting for severe weather in the next 36 hours or so, centered on tomorrow night:
Another storm coming out of the Rockies is aimed at Michigan, and since the air across the Old South is warm and moist with dew points in the 60s throughout the Gulf Coast region, the southerly winds developing ahead of this deepening storm will waste no time in driving that warm, moist air mass northward across the Tennessee Valley into the Ohio Valley ahead of the trailing cold front.
Once the front races off the mid-Atlantic coast later Saturday, the weather will tend to quiet down, though there is still a risk of strong thunderstorms across the Southeast into Saturday night before the weather finally calms down for several days.
With colder air drilling its way through the Great Lakes into the East Sunday and Monday and high pressure sliding into the Southeast Monday and Monday night into Tuesday, the Gulf of Mexico will be closed for business for several days. However, it's early March, and there will be another disturbance coming along in the flow at midweek out of the Rockies. Initially, it doesn't look as if this storm will be as strong as the most recent storm and the one tomorrow, but there will still be a strong contrast from the warm and increasingly moist air mass ahead of the storm and the chillier air following it. That should lead to another round of severe weather from the central Plains to the Ohio Valley later Wednesday or Wednesday night into Thursday.
The pieces are falling into place for a powerful storm to develop in the central Plains this afternoon and strengthen tomorrow night as it crosses Pennsylvania into southern and eastern New England.
While the deep winter cold is on a temporary hiatus, it will come back in the wake of a potent storm at midweek, a storm that will deposit its heaviest snow on New York state and northern New England.
Once the storm off the Carolina coast pulls away from the coast tonight, the weather pattern will be rather quiet in much of the country into early next week, and it will also be rather mild in much of the nation. That will all change with a storm during the middle of next week that could dump heavy snow from parts of the Ohio Valley to the Northeast, and it will be followed by another blast of very cold air for the second half of next week into next weekend.
Cold and wintry weather is not leaving any time soon, though there will be a couple of breaks in the cold over the next week that will offer up some spring teases.
The worst of the bitter arctic air is easing over the next 24 hours, but there's still plenty of cold air in the pattern, and there will be a storm next week that may spell trouble as it runs from the Northwest early Monday to the East late Wednesday.
A record-setting cold air mass is in place from the southern Plains to the East Coast today. It will ease later this week, and another of its kind is unlikely, but the pattern remains cold for much of the next two weeks.