Joe Lundberg

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Coastal Storm and Weakening Fronts

October 10, 2013; 11:12 AM ET

Thursday, Noon

The East Coast is still being lashed by a comparatively weak storm, with strong winds and heavy rain having impacted areas from eastern North Carolina to the Jersey Shore. Cape Hatteras racked up over 6 inches of rain yesterday, and while most of the rain has moved away from the Outer Banks, the storm itself is still soaking parts of the mid-Atlantic states. Here's what it looks like from the late morning infrared imagery standpoint:

The storm itself is just northeast of Cape Hatteras, and it's not getting any stronger. Really, if you look at most decent winter storms, virtually all of them are stronger than today's particular system. What has created all of the wind and rain is the fact there is a strong high over the Gulf of Maine, and the difference in pressure between the two has been creating all of the wind. The high won't be getting any stronger in the next 36 hours, so the stiffest winds are probably over along the East Coast. That said, the storm itself isn't really going anywhere. A piece of it will escape into the central Atlantic late tonight and tomorrow into the weekend, pulling the deepest moisture away from the storm. However, there will still be a weak low in the vicinity of the Virginia Capes, and that will be enough to keep an onshore flow in place across the mid-Atlantic states into the weekend. That's likely to keep it cloudy and damp through Saturday into Sunday, especially south and west of New York City.

Meanwhile, a couple of storms will come rolling through the Rockies and into the Plains in the coming days. The first of these is already forming over Colorado, and by tonight it will generate a sizable area of rain with some embedded thunder from extreme northeastern Colorado and eastern Wyoming into the western Dakotas. And while some of the thunderstorms could well be severe, the main thrust of all of this is to generate some heavy rain and strong winds in areas that were hit hard by heavy, wet snow just a week ago! That can lead to flooding, especially over parts of western South Dakota.

There will be a cold front attached to this first storm, and it will push out across the central and northern Plains toward the Midwest tomorrow. However, as it drives farther downstream, it will run into a pretty dry air mass, and into an upper-level ridge that's really in no hurry to break down. Look at the projected 500mb flow tomorrow evening:

The upper-level support for the storm and its attendant cold front will be forced northward, so the front will never really clear the Great Lakes, meaning it stays relatively warm across the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley.

A second storm will dive into the Rockies Sunday:

Once again, low pressure will be carved out over the eastern Rockies and High Plains, a feature that will cut for the Midwest Monday night and Tuesday. This time around, there will be more moisture to work with, so expect some rain and thunderstorms to break out from Texas up into the Midwest, with mainly rain on the back side of the storm parts of the northern Plains and Midwest.

And much like we're going to see with the lead storm, the cold front attached to this second storm will make progress into the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley late Tuesday or Tuesday night into Wednesday, but it, too, will weaken with time as it comes into the East. Yes, it will make more progress than the one before it, but it will basically help to break apart all of the low-level moisture still lingering from this week's storm in the mid-Atlantic states. It may take until the end of next week to get any real cooling back in play east of the Appalachians.

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About This Blog

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