Wednesday, 11:55 a.m.
The severe weather reports were cut in half over the past 24 hours as compared the preceding 24 hours. It was still a violent day, though, with a number of tornado touchdowns in eastern North Carolina and a concentrated area of severe storms in Ohio and eastern Kentucky as well as parts of Michigan.
While the run of severe weather over the past three days has been deadly at times, there's also been a lot of rain, especially in the Florida Panhandle and southern Alabama. The Pensacola area was rocked by over 17 inches of rain, with Gulf shores over 16 inches, causing widespread flooding and innumerable road closures.
What about the rest of today and tonight? The heaviest rain continues to pelt the central and eastern parts of the Florida Panhandle into parts of northern Florida and southern Georgia. There won't be a lot of severe weather within the zone of heavy thunderstorms, just a ton of rain and more flooding. It would seem that this cluster of thunderstorms is actually robbing some of the moisture from the rain and thunderstorms farther downstream across northern Georgia and the Carolinas into Virginia. These areas are not seeing one large area of rain with embedded thunderstorms, but rather scattered showers and thunderstorms, few of which at the moment are severe. The risk is certainly there, and it may have to wait until tonight when that southern thunderstorm complex has finally collapsed and is out of the way. By then, the warm front trying to nose its way north and west across the mid-Atlantic will have made considerable progress. That will mean temperatures and dew point temperatures in the 60s in most of Virginia and Maryland, providing better fuel for heavy, gusty thunderstorms ahead of a cold front.
That front will limp over the Appalachians late tonight then crawl across New England down to the mid-Atlantic coast tomorrow. These areas will bear the brunt of the rain and strong thunderstorms tomorrow, down through the eastern Carolinas and eastern Georgia into Florida. The rainfall amounts should not be anything remotely close to the excesses of Florida.
Unsettled weather will linger along the Southeast coastal plain down into Florida through Friday if not into a part of Saturday. The upper-level steering winds will be relatively week, and we may have to wait until later Saturday and Saturday night to see the winds aloft more out of the west to chase the moisture away finally.
That term will be descriptive of how things will play out from the Midwest to the Great Lakes and parts of the Ohio Valley and even into the Northeast through the weekend - 'unsettled.' This afternoon and tonight through tomorrow will be mainly cloudy with spits of light rain and drizzle from time to time across the Midwest and back into the northern Plains, and that will spread into the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley tomorrow, then to the Northeast on Friday.
After that, it will still be less than stellar through the weekend as a couple of upper-level disturbances track from the northern Plains to the northern mid-Atlantic states. There won't be a lot of moisture to work with, so there will only be a lot of clouds and scattered showers. Nonetheless, the sum total of these few days will be much below-normal temperatures.
That looks to change next week. More on that subject tomorrow!
Two systems will delay the onset of warm weather in the Ohio Valley and the East over the next week or so, but then it should get warm all across the country heading into the Memorial Day weekend.
A turn to much colder air over the Northeast and mid-Atlantic states will set the stage for a rain and snow storm later this weekend before it turns much warmer later next week.
It's warm now, but will turn much colder this weekend, with a storm threat later Saturday into Sunday. Warmth will return by the second half of next week.
Though it is cold now east of the Mississippi, with a couple of opportunities for snow into the weekend, a blast of warmth is due for much of the country east of the Rockies next week.
Warm air will once again surge eastward from the Plains to the East Coast this weekend and early next week. A strong storm next Tuesday and Wednesday will then be followed by colder air later next week.
A storm in Southeast Texas will generate severe thunderstorms this afternoon and tonight, and some wet snow on its western flank as it heads into the Ohio Valley tomorrow.