Monday, 11:50 A.M.
Yesterday, pretty much all four seasons were on display somewhere around the country. One person mentioned to me how it felt like fall in Chicago - temperatures in the 50s with the wind off the lake making it feel all that much cooler. Meanwhile, it might have looked like winter in northeastern Montana and northwestern North Dakota, where snow accumulated 2 to as much as 5 inches in some locations. Of course, the backwards spring across the Northeast continues, with highs in the 50s and 60s in most of Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and New England.
Then there was the place with summer heat! Look at the highs from yesterday from the eastern Rockies and the central and southern Plains on east:
Several locations from the Texas Panhandle up into Kansas soared to 100 and beyond, including Wichita at 102! The core of the excess heat lines up pretty closely to the areas suffering through the worst drought. Here's the most recent releases from the USDA on the extent of the drought in various places around the country:
If you watch this heat try to expand eastward in the coming days, and track the area with highs at or above 90, there may well be a thin ribbon of it stretching across the Tennessee Valley and northernmost Gulf coast states, while areas to the south that were hit harder with the excessive rains last week end up a few degrees lower.
As the this warmth tries to advance north into the Midwest and Great Lakes, and then toward the mid-Atlantic and New England, there will be some growing resistance. Low pressure will track toward the Midwest on Thursday, pulling a warm front northeastward in time. The warm air can get into Chicago Wednesday afternoon as the winds swing around into the south in the afternoon, but its unlikely to get much farther north until Thursday with the approach of the storm.
In contrast, it will be like pulling teeth to get it warm in Upstate New York and New England. Here's the 12z May 5 NAM 500 mb forecast for tomorrow evening, showing the northwest flow over the Northeast:
The feature rolling out of the Midwest and Great Lakes today will clear the mid-Atlantic coast pretty quickly tomorrow morning, so where there is some sunshine, the afternoon hours will be near normal for early May -- not cold but not warm either. Wednesday promises to be similar, but another one of these disturbances coming over the top of that upper-level ridge will combine with the warm advection into the Great Lakes to generate lots of clouds and some showers and thunderstorms that will come out of the Great Lakes and move downstream through parts of upstate New York, northern and eastern Pennsylvania, and southern New England. This will allow the warm air to spread into Pennsylvania Thursday, and down into the Chesapeake Bay area but probably not much farther north and east. The concern is that behind this wave, the cooler air over eastern New york state and New England will try to retake some lost ground Thursday night and Friday, bottling the warmth up a bit more and certainly keeping it out of the Hudson Valley and New England yet another day.
So, while you're grillin' in the central and southern Plains the next few days, as well as in much of the Ohio and Tennessee valleys into the South, you'll be chillin' in the Northeast. And you won't be alone, either. All of that warmth in the West last week ... gone, from the Northwest in particular. Many places across Washington and Oregon will remain below average the first part of the week, with that cool air moving into the Rockies at midweek. By Thursday, it will be cooler than normal in much of the Rockies, as well as out onto the northern and western Plains.
On a final note, I finished yesterday! My first marathon ever, the Pittsburgh Marathon. The course was not terribly hilly, and I'm glad I chose it! The crowds were amazing, providing us runners with lots of energy, and while I am sore today, I can walk, and I am thrilled to have completed something I NEVER thought I could do or would want to do!
A snow storm affecting the central Plains and Midwest into the Great Lakes this afternoon into tomorrow night will be followed by the first of two arctic outbreaks around the country before Thanksgiving.
Winter is six weeks away, and there will be a couple of signs this week of the approaching season as a storm develops on the western Plains and heads through the Great Lakes.
A warm pattern is setting up for much of the nation next week.
Tropical moisture associated with the one-time Hurricane Patricia will bring heavy rains to many areas east of the Mississippi Valley between now and Wednesday night.
Patricia, the strongest hurricane on record in the eastern Pacific, will make landfall this evening in Mexico. It will spread torrential rains into East Texas, and impact the weather all the way to the Northeast next week.