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.
The next major winter storm will spread snow from the central and northern Plains later this weekend all the way to central and southern New England Sunday night and Monday.
A relatively weak storm will bring a few inches of snow through the Northeast later today into tomorrow. A stronger storm is in the works for Sunday and Monday.
The record warmth of yesterday may not be repeated in the next few days over the Plains and Rockies, but it will remain much milder than normal through Friday, with more mild weather returning next weekend.
The Blizzard of 2015 will wind down this afternoon and tonight, but it's only a small part of what is a cold and stormy weather pattern that will last into the middle of February.
A storm moving off the mid-Atlantic coast this afternoon will deepen rapidly tonight, generating blizzard conditions in parts of the Northeast. At the same time, record highs will be challenged over the Plains and eastern Rockies.
A major winter storm will bring heavy rain and snow through the East tonight and tomorrow, followed by a weaker storm later this weekend spreading snow from the Midwest to the mid-Atlantic.