Joe Lundberg

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Powerful Storm Followed by Blast of Arctic Air

November 26, 2013; 10:42 AM ET

Tuesday, 11:30 a.m.

A storm right over Pensacola, Fla., late this morning will only grow stronger over the next 24 hours as it advances northeastward across the Southeast, then up through the mid-Atlantic states toward western New England tomorrow. There will likely be a wave along the trailing cold front that zips up through the mid-Atlantic states tomorrow afternoon and evening, and it will effectively be the tool to bring the arctic air back to the East Coast.

The two main features now are moving into the Great Lakes and Midwest and coming away from southeastern Texas. Here's the late morning infrared image:

The hand-off of moisture from the southern branch feature to the northern branch is already taking place today, but it will continue this afternoon and tonight. The western side of the storm will have sufficiently cold air to keep it mostly snow in eastern Ohio into the western third of Pennsylvania and western New York state, but the bulk of the storm will be rainy. How much rain? A LOT of rain. Just from 12z today though tomorrow night (48 hours), several inches of rain may soak areas from the Carolinas to southern and eastern New England:

Not only will it rain, but it will also be very windy and mild ahead of the storm, with 60-degree temperatures likely tomorrow afternoon up into Massachusetts, if not farther north. Some 50-mph wind gusts are likely east of the track of the storm for a time later tonight into tomorrow in the warm air ahead of the storm:

However, there will be some snow. Not only will there be the mainly snow area north and west of the track of the storm, but there will also be a back-end-of-storm burst of snow as the trailing upper-level disturbance pulls the arctic air in from the west, resulting in several inches of snow from eastern Kentucky and West Virginia all the way up into eastern New York state. Look at the latest snowfall potential:

Once the storm exits, there will be some lake-effect snow in the northwest flow across the Great Lakes. This will actually get underway tonight off Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, but it will then spread eastward and include Lake Erie, Lake Huron and Lake Ontario later tomorrow and tomorrow night into Thanksgiving Day. The flow may not be aligned to a great depth, so the amount of snow is likely to be limited, especially of the winds change orientation frequently, which is likely. Still, some locations will get more than 6 inches.

Then, of course, there is the cold. Temperatures will drop below freezing tomorrow night along the Gulf Coast, pushing temperatures to much below normal levels for Thanksgiving:

The cold will continue through Friday into the weekend all across the East before some moderation begins early next week.

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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.