A sudden change with colder air and brisk conditions will shock residents of the southern Plains and Texas into this weekend, making it feel like winter has arrived.
A cold front, referred to as a blue norther, will sag southward ushering the chilly air across the southern Plains on Friday and northern Texas on Saturday. Highs will drop 20-30 degrees behind the front with breezy conditions adding to the chill.
The cold front is associated with a storm that unleashed the first snow of the season in portions of North Dakota and Minnesota.
Following a high in the 70s in Oklahoma City on Thursday, the temperature will only climb into the upper 50s on Friday.
After the blue norther moves through northern Texas, highs will top out in the mid-40s and low 50s in the Texas Panhandle on Saturday. This may come as a shock following the first few days of October with highs climbing well into the 70s and 80s.
The high in Dallas will be almost 30 degrees cooler on Saturday compared to Friday, plummeting from the mid-80s to the mid-50s. Highs in the mid-50s are more reminiscent of mid-December for Dallas. Breezy conditions and showers will add to the drastic changes.
Meanwhile, the chilly push of air will not make it through central Texas. San Antonio and Austin will have breezy and warm weather with highs in the upper 70s or low 80s.
What is a Blue Norther?
A blue norther is a cold front that brings much cooler air to the Plains and Texas, often with very sudden changes. The wind switches from a southerly direction to a northerly direction when these fronts pass through an area.
"You can get a high of 85 degrees, and then a high in the 30s or 40s the next day with rain," AccuWeather Expert Senior Meteorologist Joe Sobel said. He added that northern Texas, especially the panhandle, has some of the most changeable weather in the U.S.
There are two different explanations that describe the origin of the term "blue norther," Sobel said. One is that is gets so cold that people who stand outside will turn blue. The second is that clearing with blue skies and much cooler weather often occurs behind a blue norther.
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Travel restrictions are already in place in advance of the blizzard set to wallop the northeastern United States.
An all-out blizzard will slam the New York City area and New England Monday night through Tuesday, bringing many communities to a standstill.
Lingering midwinter cold and additional rounds of snow will add to difficulties for cleanup and those without power after the Blizzard of 2015.
For Atlantic Canada, yet another winter storm will bring widespread travel disruptions on Tuesday.
While snow will wind down by Tuesday, cold air will hang on through midweek before the return of snow comes on Thursday.
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