Friday, 11:30 a.m.
Severe weather struck at the heart of the South on Thursday, as a few tornadoes cutting across parts of Mississippi and Louisiana resulted in the loss of life. The severe weather threat is fading now as the front that has generated the strong thunderstorms is now east of the Appalachians and is charging to the East Coast. The rain will move off the coast with the front tonight, and even the snow in parts of northern New England will largely come to an end.
The break between this storm and ones to follow will be all too brief. The next one up will plow into British Columbia late this afternoon and tonight, pushing a cold front into the Northwest. With it, there will be some rain and a lot of wind, as it is a tightly wound system. By Sunday, it will be rolling out into the central Plains:
North of the storm, with plenty of cold air in place, there will be snow across parts of Montana and into the Dakotas without question. This time, it will be more over North Dakota rather than South Dakota, as was the case with Wednesday's storm. Some of that snow will move into northern and western sections of Minnesota later Sunday and Sunday night, with a solid, cold rain to the south.
That storm is destined to move into Ontario Monday and will help pull warmer air into the Ohio Valley and eventually the East. While that's all transpiring, another system will be moving out over the western Gulf of Mexico. Look at the Sunday morning 500mb forecast:
In response to that disturbance, rain and thunderstorms will blossom over the Gulf and along the Gulf Coast Saturday night, spreading into Mississippi, Alabama and Georgia as well as northern Florida late Saturday night and Sunday:
That may come into play in the final round of the Masters on Sunday in Augusta, Ga.
In the face of a building upper-level ridge over the East Monday, the rain will fade as it tries to come into Virginia, and little of it will get much farther north later Monday and Monday night.
Meanwhile, back upstream, an even more vigorous upper-level trough will be digging into California:
That's going to dig into the southern Rockies Monday night and Tuesday. That's likely to generate one or two storms that will head from the southern Plains toward the Great Lakes, and I can see a setup very similar to what we've just come through - snow in the cold air from the central and northern Rockies to the Midwest, with severe weather with the cold front farther south. Look at the overall setup:
I don't know about you, but I'm really getting tired of this busy, active, stormy weather pattern. And the cold and snow. Yes, my back yard is now green, and it has warmed considerably, but there's so much of the country that I have to cover on a daily basis that I am almost always dealing with the storminess. Can we just flip a switch and make it summer now? Yeah, that's what I thought. No dice.
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.
A storm organizing along the Texas Coast will spread heavy rain across the South into the Southeast, with rain and some snow for the mid-Atlantic and New England late Friday into Saturday.
A storm coming through Texas tomorrow will head for the Carolina coast Saturday morning, spreading rain and some snow into the mid-Atlantic states and parts of New England Friday night and Saturday.
The northern branch of the jet stream will dominate for the next week, meaning no big storms and very little arctic air. Changes toward a colder pattern are in the wings for next week.
Much of the country will have a mild weekend, enough to call it a January Thaw. As we go through next week, though, the mild air will gradually get replaced by more and more arctic air over time.