Joe Lundberg

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One Storm Exits, While Another Enters, Followed by Still Another

March 19, 2013; 9:45 AM ET

Tuesday, 11:30 a.m.

A wintry mix of snow, sleet, freezing rain and rain accompanied a storm that had two centers yesterday. The first rolled through the Midwest toward the northern Great Lakes, producing mainly snow. The second low advanced into the Ohio Valley yesterday afternoon, then redeveloped along the mid-Atlantic coast early this morning. In the process, enough warm air was shoved in aloft to change the snow to at least sleet and freezing rain, and outside of the mountains, it turned to plain rain.

That secondary storm is far from done. Here's this evening's surface snapshot, showing the two distinct low centers:

Heavy snow is still falling over portions of Massachusetts into New Hampshire and Maine, and by the time it stops falling later tonight, many places will end up with more than a foot of heavy, wet snow.

Arctic air is once again on the move, as temperatures are struggling to get out of the teens at this hour in Chicago, with wind chills near zero. That's more typical of a mid-January day, not the last full day of winter! And there is PLENTY of cold air to go around, too. Look at the projected anomalies tomorrow alone:

The core of the bitter cold will extend from parts of central Canada down into the Ohio Valley, but there's another very cold air mass over the Yukon Territory and Alaska, and that will have to be reckoned with down the road. It's only a matter of time.

As the Northeast storm winds down, a new one will enter the Northwest. Here's the forecast map for tomorrow morning:

Mild air will flood into Oregon and Washington, raising snow levels and leading to some concerns over flooding tonight into tomorrow. Look at the projected model rainfall totals through tomorrow night, though the bulk of the rain will come tonight and tomorrow morning:

The cold front attached to this storm will move into the northern Rockies tomorrow night, then onto the Plains Thursday. There will still be quite a contrast in air masses between the arctic air to the north and warm air to the south. As low pressure develops over the southern Plains Thursday afternoon, it will enhance the warm advection into Missouri, where someone is going to wind up with a nice little late-season snowfall.

However, that system will fade into the Southeast as a rain storm come Friday, deferring to a bigger fish swimming upstream. That one will come through the Northwest will far less fanfare Friday, but it will raise much more of a ruckus this weekend once it comes through the Rockies and out onto the Plains. That one is very likely to become a potent spring storm, one with lots of cold, wind and snow, as well as heavy rain and severe thunderstorms. Yes, it's going to be a wild finish to the winter season, with that storm looming ever larger on the horizon and the prospects for at least one more heading into the Easter weekend.

Boy, do I miss the warmth and sunshine I enjoyed Thursday into Sunday in the sunny South!

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