1. Winter is going to wind down by next weekend as the pattern is going to change to a warmer one, which will be more like a March weather pattern, just coming earlier. What this means, instead of having prolonged periods of extreme cold, we will get waves of cold followed by periods of mild weather. In addition, you can still have snowstorms, some of which can be heavy. It's the type of pattern where it snows 6 inches one day and two days later it's in the 60s.
As for the spring and summer, if we start seeing the heat build in the Plains, especially the northern Plains, get ready for the heatwaves to build in.
2. As for the end-of-the-week storm, with the NAO not going negative and the first storm building the vortex across eastern Canada, it looks more likely that we will have a storm that cuts across the southern Plains and out across the Carolinas and not one that comes up the coast. I really thought with the pattern changing, a big storm would come out of the pattern, but it appears the pattern change will occur in a wimpy way and not an exciting, big-bang-of-a-storm way.
3. The map below is for the storm coming. It's very much like the storm that just occurred with snows coming up from the southern Plains into the Northeast.
Watching the system in the Gulf of Mexico for development. Probably a small chance.
Heat builds into the East while the rain continues for the Pacific Northwest.
Erika will have many issues this weekend includng tracking over the islands with big mountains.
Erika will track into the Bahamas and may intensify early next week. Track could bring it close to the U.S.
Erika's path and intensity over the next five days is the concern of the day.
We continue to watch the tropics as now we have a new storm.