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    Next Storm in Series Set to Strike the Middle of the Nation

    2/20/2013, 6:59:35 AM

    Wednesday, 11:30 a.m.

    They just keep coming, one after another, after another, and there really does appear to be no end in sight. Eleven days ago, New England was getting blasted by a crippling snowstorm. Eastern New England was slapped again on Sunday with snow. Now a new storm is brewing, and this time it will do much of its damage in the middle of the country.

    Over the past 24 hours as the feature rolled through California, it set off a very rare tornado near Chico, Calif. A chilly rain fell on Stockton and San Francisco, and it rain all the way to southern California, with snow in the mountains. Now that feature is rolling into the southern Rockies. Examine the latest NAM 12-hour 500mb forecast for this evening:

    Compare that with the latest IR image:

    The feature in question is spinning through the deserts of southern California, with rain and mountain snows impacting areas from southern California through extreme southern Nevada and southern Utah into Arizona.

    Ahead of it with a broad southwest flow aloft, clouds have already fanned out across the middle and lower Mississippi Valley, with rain having broken out across parts of Texas into southern Oklahoma. Parts of northwestern Louisiana and southern Arkansas are also getting a little wet, with some sleet in central Arkansas. From north of Oklahoma City into Kansas, it is snowing, and there will be plenty of it before the storm ends from southwest to northeast on the Plains late tomorrow and tomorrow night.

    The primary low center will cross Oklahoma tomorrow and end up in northern Missouri tomorrow night. The low-level moisture being driven northward ahead of the storm will stem from the Gulf of Mexico, and it will wrap around the low and underneath the upper-level low is it come out of the southern Rockies and onto the Plains late tonight and tomorrow morning. Here's what that upper-level chart looks like at midday Thursday:

    In terms of snowfall, this will be one of the biggest storms of the winter season on the Plains. Here's the latest AccuWeather.com forecast snow amounts:

    As you can see, the worst of the storm in terms of snow will be in parts of Kansas and Nebraska into Iowa, but it will snow some all the way into the Dakotas, Minnesota and Wisconsin through tomorrow night.

    Meanwhile, on the southern flank of this storm, severe weather is bound to erupt. With a persistent inflow ahead of the storm dragging more and more moisture onto the playing field, while in the upper levels it grows colder with time tonight with the approach of the upper-level low, severe thunderstorms are bound to light up:

    Heading into Friday, the primary low and its upper-level support will roll into Wisconsin and weaken, and it looks like the mid-Atlantic and New England will miss out on the worst of this storm. However, just when you start to think that's going to happen, a new wave of low pressure will form over the Deep South, igniting more rain and thunderstorms from Mississippi eastward into the Southeast. Some of those thunderstorms may become severe late Friday and Friday night over southern and eastern Alabama into the Florida Panhandle and Georgia.

    That area of low pressure will then head for the mid-Atlantic coast late Saturday, and what looked like a feeble storm suddenly will morph into a much more potent storm. It will bring a fair amount of mild air with it, too, which will kick out the arctic air that's in place now throughout most of the Northeast. This means there will be some mixed precipitation at some point during this storm Friday night and Saturday across much of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, as well as southeastern New York, at least southern sections of Connecticut and Rhode Island into southeastern Massachusetts late Saturday and Saturday night and maybe early Sunday.

    However, north of these areas, it should be all snow, and there's the potential for a foot or more into central New England as the storm rolls by the Cape on Sunday. Just what they need, more snow.

    Oh, if you think that after that winter is over because Punxsutawney Phil said there would be an early spring, think again, my friends. Another couple of storms rolling through the Gulf of Alaska will bring plenty of moisture into British Columbia. The second of these will be a beastly little storm, bringing plenty of wind, rain and mountain snow to areas from central BC into northwest Washington later Friday into Friday night.

    It will mean some mountain snow for the Rockies this weekend, but by Sunday night, snow will again be breaking out over the central Plains. It doesn't look to be as formidable of a storm as the one about the strike of the middle of the nation tonight and tomorrow, but it will be a storm nonetheless. And it, too, could ignite more rain and strong to severe thunderstorms over parts of the South and Southeast Monday and Monday night.

    And it won't be the last, either. Yes, that idea of an early spring isn't looking so good right now. What do you think about that now, Phil?

    The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com


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