Here is the severe weather forecast for the next several days.
- Very limited severe weather threat.
- A few storms may produce small hail from eastern Colorado through the central Plains to the Ohio River Valley on Thursday.
- Scattered, non-severe t-storms are possible from parts of the Mid-Atlantic states to the Ohio Valley and mid-Mississippi Valley Friday.
Weekend/Early Next Week:
- Saturday: Isolated to scattered severe storms are possible from parts of the central Plains to portions of the Missouri Valley and upper Mississippi Valley.
- Sunday: More widespread t-storms, possibly severe, from the mid-Mississippi Valley to the southern Plains. As of now, this does not appear to be a severe weather outbreak. The best chance for severe weather appears to target parts of Oklahoma, central and east Texas, Arkansas and northern Louisiana.
- Monday: Lingering severe t-storms possible along the cold front in the Deep South. Locally heavy rain may trigger flash flooding, since much of this areas is still saturated from heavy rain earlier this week.
- A vigorous storm system pushes across the Plains Thursday and into the Great Lakes Friday. A severe thunderstorm and tornado outbreak is likely in middle Mississippi Valley and lower Ohio Valley late Thursday afternoon and Thursday night.
- Friday the severe thunderstorm threat shifts into the upper Ohio Valley and central and eastern Kentucky.
- Heavy rain from the thunderstorms could tally another 1 to 3 inches with isolated 4 and 5 inch amounts from Missouri to Ohio.
- The additional heavy rain falling on saturated ground raises the flood threat from the middle Mississippi Valley to the Ohio Valley.
- There is a wintry side to this storm and we are calling it Winter Storm Yona.
- Heavy snow is possible from eastern Nebraska to northwest Michigan Thursday night and Friday.
- Snowfall over 6 inches is likely from southwest Minnesota to northwest Michigan including Minneapolis.
- There is a chance of 12 inches or more in far north Wisconsin and extreme northwest Michigan.
- Snowfall of 3 to 6 inches is possible in northeast Nebraska and eastern South Dakota.
- A powerful storm rips across the Plains and through the Midwest dragging its cold front across the region Thursday and Friday.
- Severe thunderstorms are likely in eastern Oklahoma, eastern Texas, west and central Louisiana, Arkansas, west Tennessee and northwest Mississippi late this afternoon and tonight. A tornado outbreak is possible in Arkansas, west Tennessee, northwest Mississippi and north Louisiana late this afternoon and tonight.
- Tornadoes and severe thunderstorms may continue tonight in north and central Mississippi, west and central Tennessee and north Alabama.
- Friday the severe threat includes Tennessee, Alabama, east Mississippi, east Louisiana, northwest Georgia and far western North and South Carolina.
- The tornado threat is lower Friday, but a few isolated twisters could still occur.
- Rain and thunderstorms are likely across Pennsylvania, West Virginia, western Virginia, Maryland and Delaware during the day Thursday.
- The remainder of the region should be dry.
- Cool temperatures with highs in the 40s and 50s occur from Pennsylvania and New Jersey north to New York and New England.
- Warm and muggy with highs in the 60s and 70s in West Virginia, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware.
- Rain and thunderstorms are likely Friday from western New England southwest to western Virginia and West Virginia Friday.
- Some thunderstorms could turn severe producing strong winds and hail in West Virginia and western Virginia Friday afternoon and evening.
- Snow from Winter Storm Yona wraps up across Colorado and northern New Mexico during the day Thursday.
- Snowfall Thursday ranges from 1 to 3 inches in east Colorado including Denver, Colorado Springs and Pueblo to 6 to 12 inches in the mountains.
- A new storm arrives on the Northwest coast with rain and high mountain snow from western Washington to northwest California.
- Thursday night and Friday the rain and mountain snow push inland reaching the northern Rockies and Nevada.
- Due to the system being fairly weak rainfall should be mainly 1/2 inch or less.
- Snowfall should be highest in the western Washington mountains with amounts of 6 to 12 inches likely.
- Other mountain snowfall should generally be 3 to 6 inches in Oregon, northern California, eastern Washington, Idaho and far northwest Montana.
- Storm system ejects into the Plains today with a wide variety of weather.
- In the warm and moist air mass, severe storms develop by late day Missouri, southern Illinois and eastern Kansas.
- Large hail and damaging winds are the main threat with an isolated tornado possible.
- Outside of the severe threat, rain showers and thunder from northern Kansas to the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley.
- Snow will fly from eastern South Dakota into central and southern Minnesota and northern Wisconsin to the UP of Michigan.
- Snow accumulations generally in the 1-3″ range, locally 3-5″, including Minneapolis.
- Windy conditions across the Plains.
- Showers and storms increase southern Plains and Ark-La-Tex region today as warm and moist air rushes in from the Gulf of Mexico ahead of a cold front.
- Staying dry from eastern Tennessee through Alabama to the Florida panhandle and eastward through the Carolinas and Virginia.
- Showers and thunderstorms mainly holding west of the Mississippi River.
- Some thunderstorms will turn severe from the Ark-La-Tex area up through Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma.
- Large hail, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes are possible.
- Showers and storms will overtake much of the Southeast Friday and lingering into the first part of the weekend.
- Much of the region will enjoy a dry Thursday after a very cold start to the day.
- A few showers may start to work into westernmost Pennsylvania and New York by evening.
- Conditions will remain windy across northern Maine.
- Warmer air and increasing wet weather build into the region Friday into Saturday.
- Much of the northern half of the region will see some rain and snow showers Thursday.
- Heavier rain from southwest Oregon to northwest California.
- More rain showers for the “landslide” area of Washington.
- Snowfall up to 6″ in the mountains of Idaho,western Montana, northwest Wyoming, northern Utah and northwest Colorado.
- Windy conditions from the Rockies to the Southwest.
- Storminess continues in the Northwest through the upcoming weekend increasing the threat of flooding and landslides.
Spring Has Arrived, But Will it Feel Like it?
Spring has officially arrived. However, sometimes the atmosphere doesn’t play along and provide instant relief from winter’s icy grip.
For example, in 2013 we had four significant winter storms affect parts of the northern Rockies, Plains and Midwest in April alone. In addition, temperatures were much below average across most of those regions.
So, the big question is: How is the start of spring shaping up for 2014?
For those of you frustrated by the cold that we’ve seen during the past several months in the Midwest and parts of the East, the news is not good.
Another potent cold front is set to charge south and east, spreading a widespread area of chilly temperatures through all states east of the Rockies this weekend. This will be reinforced by a second surge of cold air early next week. Some locations will be 10 to 20 degrees below late-March averages.
That said, the actual first day of spring (Thursday) and Friday will see temperatures near or even above average in the Midwest, Plains and East.
Some cities in the Plains from North Dakota to the Texas Panhandle will be up to 15 degrees above average on Thursday. On Friday, temperatures will be 10 to 20 degrees above average from north Texas to the mid-Mississippi and Ohio Valleys.
Now let’s step through the daily details of the coming early-spring chill:
Saturday: 10 to 25 degrees below average from parts of Montana, Wyoming and northeast Colorado to the northern/central Plains and upper Mississippi Valley. Highs in the teens possible near the Canadian border in eastern North Dakota and northern Minnesota. 20s, 30s, 40s and low 50s for highs from north to south across the rest of the Midwest. Mild temperatures hang on for one more day in the East.
Sunday: Below-average temperatures spread from the nation’s midsection to the East Coast. 20s, 30s and 40s for highs across most of the Midwest. Colder air spreads into parts of the South and the I-95 corridor of the Northeast. The coldest low temperatures in the single digits and teens will be in the northern Plains, upper Mississippi Valley, northern Great Lakes and northern New England. A few subzero lows possible in northern Minnesota. International Falls, Minn. could record its 80th subzero low temperature of the 2013-2014 season.
Monday and Tuesday: 10 to 20 degrees below average from the Front Range of the Rockies through the East Coast, except in the Florida Peninsula. Widespread highs in the 30s and 40s from the Midwest to the Northeast. Some locations will stay in the 20s near the Canadian border. 50s and 60s will be common in the South outside of the Florida Peninsula and southwest Texas. Parts of North Carolina and the Mid-South may hold in the 40s. Coldest low temperatures will be in the single digits, teens and low 20s from portions of Montana and Wyoming to the northern Plains, upper Mississippi Valley, Great Lakes, New England and Upstate New York. The I-95 corridor from Boston to Washington will wake up to 20s.
The culprit for the persistently cold weather this winter, now lasting into the start of spring, is a tendency for the jet stream to dip southward repeatedly to the east of the Rockies. This has allowed bouts of Arctic air to pour into the central and eastern United States.
With the jet stream poking northward to the west of the Rockies, residents of California and the Southwest have seen persistently mild temperatures this winter. More of the same is expected there, with high probabilities of above-average warmth forecast to start the spring.
Snow Ending in Chicago as Winter Storm Moves to Northeast
A winter storm out of the Midwest grounded more than 1,000 flights as it moved to the Northeast with rain for New York and ice for Boston.
About 6 inches (15 centimeters) of snow fell in Chicago before the storm ended there, the National Weather Service said. The system was expected to track over New York and into southern New England during the day, leaving snow on its north side and rain along its center and to the south, said Rob Carolan, owner of Hometown Forecast Services Inc. in Nashua, New Hampshire.
“For Boston, New York and Philadelphia this is mainly a rain storm with some ice on the tail end,” Carolan said. Heavier snowfall was forecast for northern New England and into eastern Canada.
Across the U.S., 1,092 flights were canceled as of 11:45 a.m. New York time, said FlightAware, a Houston-based airline tracking company. About half were into or out of Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.
Winter storm warnings extended from Indiana to Maine, with blizzard warnings posted for western New York, according to the weather service. Alerts also stretched from Ontario to Newfoundland, Environment Canada reported.
Rain in New York and Boston may change to snow overnight before ending tomorrow morning, though little is expected to accumulate, the weather service said.
“The snow on the backside doesn’t look impressive for Boston or New York City,” Carolan said.
Across northern New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, heavy snow may fall. A blizzard warning from lakes Erie and Ontario through much of western New York predicts Rochester may get 19 inches through tomorrow while Buffalo receives 17, the weather service said.
Carolan said 8 to 16 inches were possible across the Adirondacks into New England, with some mountain areas getting more than 20 inches.
In the wake of the storm, a cold front is expected to drop through the U.S., sending temperatures plummeting, Carolan said.
The low in Boston tonight is forecast to be 18 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 8 Celsius), according to the weather service. Chicago may reach 14; New York, 20; and Washington, 22.
Across New England and upstate New York, daytime highs may be only in the teens tomorrow.
“For mid-March, that is pretty ridiculous,” Carolan said.
The passage of the front will also cause high winds to develop from Texas to New Jersey, and that may cause additional delays for air travelers today, Carolan said.
Wind advisories covered parts of 24 states from Pennsylvania to Florida and west to New Mexico, the weather service said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at firstname.lastname@example.org
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U.S. Issues El Nino Watch Saying Ocean Warming May Occur
An El Nino watch has been issued by the U.S. Climate Prediction Center, warning of the possible development of the weather-altering event that can bring rain to California and South America and raise winter temperatures in the U.S. Northeast and Midwest.
There’s a 52 percent chance that the Pacific Ocean will warm enough to trigger an El Nino late this summer or in early fall, said Michelle L’Heureux, a climate scientist at the Climate Prediction Center in College Park, Maryland.
“We have increased our probabilities, not a whole lot, but just enough that we feel we need to start drawing attention to the situation,” L’Heureux said in an interview. “There are still dominoes that have to fall here. This is not a guarantee, but certainly we’re issuing this watch so folks have a heads-up.”
Rubber, sugar, coffee, and natural gas are among the commodities that can fluctuate because of an El Nino, which usually occurs every three to five years and can last months. The phenomenon often touches off warmer winters across the northern U.S., heavier rains from southern Brazil to Argentina and drier conditions across southeast Asia and Indonesia. It also can lead to a calmer Atlantic hurricane season and a stormier winter in the U.S. South.
An El Nino in 1982-83 caused $8.1 billion in damage worldwide and prompted efforts to better monitor the ocean warming, according to the National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration.
“On the precipitation side of it, you can have a more active winter storm track coming into California, and if you get a strong mode then you get a real good storm track coming across the southern U.S., too,” said Joel Widenor, a meteorologist at Commodity Weather Group LLC in Bethesda, Maryland.
California is currently in the grips of a drought that has left reservoirs dry.
The Australian Bureau of Meteorology noted the warming trend in the Pacific last month. An El Nino means less rain across eastern Australia through June to November, the bureau said.
The last El Nino occurred in 2009 to 2010, and since then the other two phases of the cycle, a cooling called La Nina and a period of neutral conditions, have held sway, the climate center said.
The decision to issue the watch came because the waters under the Pacific’s surface have grown warmer in the last several weeks. Winds pile up warm water in the western Pacific and then it sloshes back beneath the surface toward the east and the coast of South America. This is called a Kelvin Wave, L’Heureux said.
“Kelvin Waves are a necessary condition for El Nino but they’re not necessarily sufficient, meaning we have still yet to see what sort of impact this will have,” she said.
There is more to an El Nino than just water temperature, she said. The ocean warming has to be tied to changes in the atmosphere, which set off the global shifts in weather patterns. The entire process is referred to as the El Nino Southern Oscillation, or ENSO.
Many of the impacts of an El Nino depend on its strength, and L’Heureux said predictions of intensity are harder to make. It may be June or July before researchers get an idea.
There is also a possibility the pattern won’t develop at all, she said. In 2012, the Pacific began to warm, while the atmosphere above the ocean failed to respond. The El Nino didn’t occur.
Predictions can go awry because of the “spring barrier,” the time between March and May when computer models often have trouble making sense of what is happening in the Pacific, L’Heureux said.
During the last El Nino, 12.6 inches (32 centimeters) of snow fell on Dallas in February 2010 and 32.1 inches at Washington’s Reagan National Airport, according to National Weather Servicerecords. Temperatures were 1.7 degrees higher than normal in Boston and 6 degrees higher in Portland, Maine, that month.
El Nino can also increase wind shear across the tropical Atlantic during the June to November hurricane season, reducing the chances of a devastating storm. The Gulf of Mexico is home to about 6 percent of U.S. natural gas output, 23 percent of oil production and more than 40 percent of petroleum refining capacity. The 2009 season was the quietest in a decade.
To contact the reporter on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Winter Storm Titan will affect areas from coast to coast.
First in a series of two rain and snow makers has hit California and precipitation is moving eastward Thursday. Snow levels will be mainly around 7,000 ft. with this system producing a foot of snow or more along the crest of the Sierra. This system also brings much needed precipitation to the Great Basin region with snow across the mountains.
Friday into Weekend:
The second system forecast to move onto the California coast in the Friday through Saturday timeframe is expected to produce a round of heavier precipitation which could result in 2 to 3 feet (locally greater) of additional snow for the Sierra. Snow levels will be down below 5,000 ft. and that could actually produce some snow in the San Gabriels and San Bernardinos near L.A.
Winter Storm Titan:
The two western systems will cut across the southern Rockies and redevelop over the southern and central Plains Friday through Sunday. The first system (unnamed) brings a variety of snow and ice to the central Plains Friday into Friday night. The second system (Titan) tracks a bit farther south, tapping more Gulf moisture, and as a result brings a heavier round of ice and snow from the central Plains through the Midwest Saturday night into Sunday, then parts of the Mid-Atlantic to Northeast Monday. A bit early to highlight the details of the exact amounts and locations of the snow and ice. However, there is growing confidence that the second system will produce a significant ice event for parts of the central Plains to lower Midwest and Mid-Atlantic/Northeast.
Exceptionally cold air locked up in the Canadian Rockies will slide south into the Pacific Northwest this weekend as well and that could set up the potential for snow and ice from Seattle to Portland in the latter part of the weekend. Subtle differences in how the cold air works its way southward will mean significant differences in the type of precipitation that falls. We need to monitor this closely, a snow or more importantly ice event for either of these huge metro areas will have significant impacts on the population.
U.S. Monthly Drought Outlook
Latest Monthly Assessment - Moderate drought expanded north along the West Coast during January, while drought intensified across California. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor (USDM) valid January 28, 2014, 8.77% of California is designated as exceptional drought (D4) for the first time in the nearly 15-year history of the USDM. Drought also expanded to include nearly all of New Mexico and much of the western Gulf Coast. Drought coverage and intensity was steady for the Midwest which is typical for winter. The Northeast became drought-free during January with abnormal dryness continuing for parts of the Florida peninsula.
The February drought outlook is based on initial conditions, the WPC 7-day precipitation forecast, the CPC 6-10/8-14 day precipitation outlooks, and the CPC monthly precipitation outlook. Large precipitation deficits and very low snow-water equivalent values favor drought persistence across the West through the end of February. Although a wetter pattern is expected across the Pacific Northwest during the first two weeks of February, the upcoming precipitation is not expected to offset the unseasonably dry winter through January. Forecast confidence is relatively high for intensification of drought across central and southern California due to the CPC monthly precipitation outlook favoring below-median precipitation for this region. Development of drought across the remainder of the Southwest is based on a lack of adequate snow this winter and enhanced odds for below-median precipitation forecast by the CPC monthly outlook.
Precipitation early in the month is expected to preclude additional drought development across the central/southern Great Plains and western Gulf Coast. However, a lack of a wet signal beyond the first week of February results in persistence for these areas through the end of February.
A relatively dry climatology favors persistence for most of the ongoing drought areas of Iowa, Minnesota, northern Missouri, and Wisconsin. Prospects for improvement or removal increase across east-central Missouri and Illinois due to heavier precipitation amounts anticipated early in February.
The eastern third of the U.S. is forecast to remain drought-free through the end of February. Parts of the Florida peninsula are most vulnerable to drought development, but recent rainfall is expected to slow the onset of drought.
Removal or improvement of drought is expected across Hawaii due to climatology and a wet start to February.
Forecaster: B. Pugh
Winter Storm Pax to bury the Northeast
- Winter Storm Pax intensifies as it lifts northeastward along the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast coasts Thursday and Friday.
- The intensification produces a band of heavy snow from western Virginia through central and northern New England today.
- Heavy snow mixes with and changes to ice then rain as warmer air is hurled inland above the ground by the deepening monster offshore in central Virginia, central Maryland, eastern Pennsylvania, northern New Jersey, southeast New York and southern New England.
- Rain is also expected along the coast from Virginia to Long Island.
- Thursday night as a deepening Pax moves toward the New England coast the wintry mix from central and eastern Virginia to southeast New York changes back to snow.
- Heavy snow continues from central and western Virginia to northern New England Thursday night.
- Pax finally winds down Friday with the heavy snow in northern New York and New England ending from southwest to northeast.
- Accumulations of 12 to 18 inches are likely from western Virginia to Maine and not too far to the west of Washington, DC, Philadelphia, New York City and Boston.
- Some areas could approach 20 inches or more in that zone.
- Snowfall of 8 to 12 inches is forecast from Washington, DC to near Boston, but a slight shift in the track of the low could mean higher totals.
- Winter Storm Pax finally winds down in the Carolinas today.
- Snow, ice and rain should end from south to north.
- Any morning flurries or light snow in northern Georgia, northeast Alabama and eastern Tennessee should end in the morning.
- The remainder of the region will be dry.
- High temperatures hold in the 30s and 40s in eastern Tennessee, northern and central Georgia and the Carolinas allowing for some, but not total melt off of Pax’s ice and snow.
- High temperatures in the 50s occur from Oklahoma southeast to northern and central Florida.
- Warmer 60s and 70s occur in Texas and southern Florida.
- Two clipper impact the region over the next two days.
- The first clipper brings light snow with accumulations of 1 to 4 inches to northern Minnesota, central and northern Wisconsin and northern Michigan.
- Light snow or flurries with no significant accumulations are possible in southern Wisconsin, northern Illinois, northern Indiana and southern Michigan.
- The second clipper drops into the Dakotas very late Thursday afternoon and sinks into the middle Mississippi and lower Ohio Valleys Thursday night.
- Friday it turns east moving through the remainder of the Ohio Valley and Kentucky.
- Snow accumulations of 1 to 3 inches are possible along the patch of the second clipper.
- It remains seasonably cold with highs in the 10s and 20s in North Dakota, Minnesota, northern Wisconsin and northern Michigan.
- Elsewhere highs should be in the milder 30s and 40s.
- Storminess continues in the Northwest and northern Rockies with more rain and snow Thursday.
- Snow is expected in the Cascade Mountains of western Washington and western Oregon and in the northern and central Rockies.
- Rain or rain showers are likely in western Washington, western Oregon, northern California, northern Nevada, southern Idaho and the valleys of northern Utah.
- The heaviest new snowfall should occur in the Washington Cascades with another 6 to 12 inches forecast Thursday.
- Another 1 to 5 inches are possible in the Oregon Cascades and the northern Rockies with 3 to 6 inches possible in the central Rockies.
- The remainder of the region will be dry.
- High temperatures should be mostly in the 40s and 50s in the Northwest and northern and central Rockies with 20s and 30s on the mountains.
- Across the Southwest highs should be in the 60s and 70s for most areas and lower to middle 80s in the deserts.
Short Range Forecast Discussion
NWS Weather Prediction Center College Park MD
Heavy snow for the Oregon Cascades and the California Sierras.
Temperatures will be 20 to 40 degrees below average from the foothills of the Rockies to the Mississippi Valley.
Energy moving onshore over the California Coast will race to the Southern Plains by Friday evening. Onshore flow associated with the system will aid in producing coastal rain and higher elevation snow over California and Oregon through to Friday, with moderate to heavy precipitation by Friday evening. Snow will also extend into parts of the Great Basin/Central Rockies along the associated stationary front. Snow will blossom over parts of the Southwest and Southern Rockies on Friday as well.
In addition, upper-level energy over Western Texas will advance quickly eastward to off the Mid-Atlantic Coast by Friday morning. The energy will produce snow over parts of Texas on Thursday morning. Upper-level jet dynamics along the Gulf Coast will aid in producing scattered rain over parts of the Central/Eastern Gulf Coast and the Southeast Thursday evening into Friday evening. Elsewhere, cold high pressure over the Northern High Plains/Central Plains will move eastward to the Ohio Valley by Friday evening.