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.
Warmth will expand from the Gulf Coast into the Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic states by Memorial Day, but the wet and stormy weather will persist in the Plains, and expand across the Mississippi Valley.
Chilly, wet weather will morph into a warm, humid pattern later this weekend into next week, one that will remain unsettled, especially in the Plains and Mississippi Valley.
Severe thunderstorms will erupt over West Texas late tonight and tonight, but they'll become more widespread over a larger percentage of the Plains states later tomorrow and Saturday.
After a brief cool spell, much of the country from the Plains on east will turn warmer Friday through Sunday, but there will also be more clouds, showers and thunderstorms around as well.