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.
There will be plenty of heat and humidity from the southern Plains to the East Coast this week while much cooler air prevails for a time over the Northwest to the northern Plains.
Severe thunderstorms raked across the Midwest and Ohio Valley in the past 24 hours, with more on the way this afternoon. The pattern will repeat itself over the next week.
The strong upper-level ridge over the southern Plains will promote intense heat there, while it forces disturbances through the Midwest toward the Ohio Valley with severe thunderstorms to follow.
A strengthening upper-level ridge of high pressure over Texas and Oklahoma will dry out the Plains, but it will remain unsettled from the Dakotas to the central Appalachians, as the Northwest trends cooler.
A wet week lies ahead from the southern Plains to the Ohio Valley as a wavy front becomes the focal point for showers and thunderstorms containing flooding downpours.