High Wind Watch

Milder air, stormy weather to return to southern, eastern US by late week

By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
December 12, 2018, 3:20:04 AM EST

The next major storm for the southern and eastern United States, currently scheduled from Thursday, Dec. 13, to Sunday, Dec. 16, will bring rain and not snow or ice to many locations that were hit and others that were missed by the storm this past weekend.

Dry weather is in store until the latter part of the week in the South Central states and until the weekend in much of the Northeast.

While cold air was entrenched in the Southern and Eastern states at the start of this week, the flow of fresh, arctic air will be shut off this week and this coming weekend. The cold air in place will slowly moderate, while a flow of milder air from the Pacific becomes established as the week progresses.

Static Milder Air

Temperatures are forecast to trend to near or slightly above average over much of the eastern two-thirds of the nation by the end of this week.

On Friday, highs are forecast to range form the middle 30s F in Minneapolis and the middle 40s in Boston to around 50 in Oklahoma City and the middle 50s in Atlanta.

The moderating temperature trend is key for the primary form of precipitation that the next storm will bring.

"That next storm is likely to bring rain and drizzle from much of the southern Plains to the middle Mississippi Valley and Tennessee Valley and in places in the Southeast that had heavy snow and ice from the last storm," according to AccuWeather Long-Range Meteorologist Max Vido.

Thu-Sun storm 12.12 AM

The same storm is forecast to swing much farther to the north than the last with the possibility of some rain falling on parts of the Mississippi Valley and central Great Lakes region and the likelihood of rain for much of the Northeast.

"Storms like the one coming up late this week can be a little tricky, even though there may be no arctic air present," according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Bernie Rayno.

"Cold air from aloft can be tapped and can sometimes produce a narrow band of wet snow in areas surrounded by mild air and do so fairly far south," Rayno said.

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Even so, the perception of the next storm on deck will be that of a warmer storm, especially in areas where cold air produced snow and ice.

While rain instead of snow and ice would be a major relief for those who must travel, fog can trigger airline delays, cause flight cancellations and warrant slow speed on the highways.

The storm may bring enough rain on soggy ground or recent snow cover to trigger flooding problems.

Perhaps the greatest threat from this storm is where a couple of inches of rain may fall on areas with a couple of feet of snow on the ground over parts of the southern Appalachians and Piedmont areas. This risk is of significant concern where much of this snow remains on relatively flat roofs. The weight of the snow, and added rain may cause some roofs to fail.

A few pockets of snow and/or ice may occur on the northern and western edges of the storm over parts of the southern Plains and Midwest.

Since the storm is likely to be rather potent, there is the chance of strong to severe thunderstorms in the South and gusty winds along the Atlantic coast that may lead to above-normal tides.

Download the free AccuWeather app to stay alert to upcoming rain, any flooding advisories or to see if your area could be among those within a narrow band of snow.

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