Thursday, 11:30 a.m.
I know the weather is cold and stormy in a lot of the country, with little hint of spring. But the 'Duels' are on tap for this afternoon in Daytona, and that's a prelude to NASCAR's super bowl on Sunday, the Daytona 500. That's a sure sign spring IS just around the corner. Spring training games begin this weekend, too. And we're a week away now from the end of meteorological winter. However, the harsh reality of the situation is that we're a long way from reaching spring.
Storm number one won't leave the Northeast alone. The upper-level low is still swirling around New England and Nova Scotia, with the surface storm stacked underneath it. That is creating a lot of clouds and stiff northwest winds throughout the region, along with flurries and even some heavier snow showers as it is very reluctant to release its icy grip on the Northeast. Here's the upper-level chart for this afternoon:
That's having an impact on storm number two, now flogging the middle of the country with a veritable potpourri of weather: snow, ice, rain, thunder, wind, severe weather. You name it, and it's happening from parts of the Dakotas to Texas. The surface low is moving into Oklahoma, and the southwest flow aloft is combining with a strong south to southeast wind in the low levels of the atmosphere to carry a lot of moisture up and over the cold air that's being held in check by the storm lingering over the Northeast. It is a strong enough system that it snow in the high desserts of southern Arizona yesterday, halting play in the first round of the match play golf tournament scheduled there!
The worst of the snow is done in Colorado, but it's still got a ways to go in Kansas and Nebraska. The severe weather is about to break out in East Texas. Here's the snapshot of what to expect into tonight:
This storm will weaken some late tonight and tomorrow as it heads into the Midwest. It'll still snow in the Midwest, and with the cold air still hanging on over the northern Ohio Valley into Pennsylvania, there will be some snow there for a time, though nothing heavy. However, as the air aloft steadily warms from the southwest in these areas, the snow will change to some ice and rain later Friday and Friday night.
Then a feature rolling around the base of the upper-level trough tonight will ignite more rain and thunderstorms across the central and eastern Gulf Coast into the Southeast. Here's the evening snapshot tomorrow:
Still another disturbance will then fly across the country, causing low pressure to form along the mid-Atlantic coast late Saturday. That's a storm that will bring significant precipitation to the coastal mid-Atlantic and New England late Saturday and Saturday night. Initially in southern New England into eastern Pennsylvania, that'll be rain, but as the storm rolls past southern New England later Saturday night and Sunday morning, rain will change to snow in much of New England. I can see a general 6- to 12-inch snowfall there, just what they need, with locally higher amounts.
Even as that is all transpiring, another feature streaking through the Gulf of Alaska will dive toward the Northwest coast tomorrow afternoon. If you look back at the previous image, you'll see an area with heavy rain and mountain snow with a pretty tight pressure gradient aimed at British Columbia, Vancouver and Washington. That beastly little event will bring some pretty heavy rain and strong winds through the region for a time. The latest NAM 48-hour precipitation totals through Friday night:
Yes, winter is far from over throughout North America!
By the way, that disturbance and attendant cold front will eventually bring snow through the central Rockies this weekend, with a new storm taking shape on the Plains Sunday. That storm, however, will be nothing like the one wreaking havoc on the Plains now.
An active weather pattern is shaping up for much of the county this week, including a tropical threat along the Southeast Coast, and plenty of summer warmth.
The weather overall is rather quiet now, and it will be warm in much of the country. Be on the lookout for tropical development next week, and for severe weather to break out on the Plains.
While snow flurries were seen in Pennsylvania and New Jersey last week, an area of disturbed weather may develop in the Bahamas next week; this is weeks ahead of the start of the Atlantic hurricane season.
A southern stream storm will move off the Carolina coast tomorrow night, keeping the Northeast largely dry. Most of the rest of the country will have a quiet stretch of weather the rest of the week.
The upper-level low in New Mexico that sparked all of the severe weather in Texas Sunday will roll slowly eastward, spreading rain and strong to severe thunderstorms out ahead of it the next 24 to 48 hours.
Another strong cold front charging across the Appalachians this afternoon will bring the coolest air to the East Coast for the remainder of the week into the weekend.