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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.
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Storm is coming up the coast but will only skirt New England. Heat follows into the East.
Florida gets drenched and the same storm skirts New England
While a system may develop, welcome rains will hit Florida this weekend.
System may develop in the Gulf of Mexico as the hurricane season starts today.