Clipper storm to spread snow, rain from Midwest to mid-Atlantic ahead of big warmup
A topsy-turvy weather pattern is setting up for the eastern United States, starting with a clipper system that will slice from the Midwest through the mid-Atlantic into midweek.
A round of rain and snow showers will give way to rising temperatures across the Midwest and mid-Atlantic this week, with afternoon highs as much as 25 degrees above historical averages.
AccuWeather meteorologists warn that a storm from Canada will dive southeast into midweek, continuing to spread a swath of snow and rain from southern Michigan to Virginia and New England that is likely to lead to travel disruptions. A major warmup will build from the Plains to the East in the wake of the storm.
The clipper storm will travel southeastward along the divide of mild and chilly air, where the coldest air is to the northeast and the warmest air is to the southwest. It is on the cold side of the storm, where wintry travel problems are a concern.
"Impacts on travel as the storm moves along will depend on where snow falls at a steady clip for a few hours versus a more showery nature, as well as when road surface temperatures are likely to be the lowest," AccuWeather Storm Warning Meteorologist Joseph Bauer said.
As clipper storms go, this particular system is not very strong and will tend to produce showery snow and rain instead of heavy, steady precipitation. However, there may be a narrow band or two where snow may fall at a moderate pace long enough when road surfaces are cool enough to create slippery roads and sidewalks. Motorists may encounter a wide range of road conditions ranging from wet to slushy to snow-covered, based on the time of day the snow arrives and how heavy the snow falls.
Even though snow fell on the Chicago area during the morning rush hour on Tuesday, the snow generally melted as it fell on most roads and sidewalks in the city. Since temperatures remained above the freezing mark as snow fell in the Pittsburgh area, roads remained just wet into Tuesday night.
The falling snow prompted deicing activities, however, even though the runways at area airports were just wet.
Farther to the east, some of the snow will fall into Wednesday afternoon near and through the central Appalachians and part of the southern Appalachians.
As the storm began to strengthen upon nearing the Atlantic coast Wednesday morning and more energy arrived, areas of flurries and snow showers extended from the eastern Great Lakes to the New England coast. Roads were generally wet in this zone, with a few slushy areas, especially over the hilly locations. Up to a couple of inches of snow can fall on grassy or non-paved surfaces.
East of the Appalachians, the air and ground temperatures will be a bit higher so that spotty rain showers occur or any wet snow that is mixed in melts rather than accumulates in much of Virginia, Maryland, southern Pennsylvania and Delaware on Wednesday.
Warmth to surge mid- to late week
In the wake of the clipper storm, warmer air, rather than colder air, will follow over the Central states due to the jet stream lifting northward over the region.
Temperatures will surge as much as 25 degrees above the historical average from the northern Rockies to the northern and central Plains. For example, in Rapid City, South Dakota, AccuWeather meteorologists expect a high in the mid-60s F on Wednesday, compared to a historical average high of 40 degrees. Around Denver, the forecast high will be at least 20 degrees above the historical average, which is in the mid-40s.
In much of the Midwest, the peak of the warmth will occur on Thursday and Friday. In the zone from Wisconsin, northern Michigan and Ohio to Arkansas, northern Mississippi and Tennessee, temperatures 5-15 degrees above the historical average will be common, with a few locations approaching 20 degrees above average.
The warmup will reach the East as well, but its arrival will be delayed. The clipper storm moving through at midweek is likely to strengthen soon after reaching the Atlantic, which will pull chilly air southward from Wednesday to Thursday. The jump in temperature across the East is likely to start on Friday and continue into the weekend.
People planning a trip to New York City during the days leading up to the holidays will find warm conditions for December, with highs on Saturday and Sunday within a few degrees of 60, which is about 15 degrees above the historical average. Warm and dry conditions on Saturday, Dec. 2, had Manhattan jammed with shoppers, site-seers and Broadway show-goers. Like this past weekend, Saturday will be the better of the two weekend days for outdoor activities in New York City as rain is in the offing for the upcoming Sunday, just like last Sunday.
The rain will originate from a major storm that is poised to affect the Midwest late this week and into this weekend with areas of rain, heavy snow, severe thunderstorms and gusty winds. There will be the potential for heavy, gusty and locally severe thunderstorms in parts of the Northeast on Sunday afternoon and evening.
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