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February 23, 2011 / Dave Gorham

Snow in the North…Severe in the South

The weather has been fairly quiet across the central and eastern half of the country the past few days but that’s all about to change, starting today. An upper level disturbance will approach the Plains later today and collide with warm, moist Gulf air with showers and thunderstorms developing across the region. Conditions will be favorable, mainly during the evening hours, for isolated severe storms across central and northeast Oklahoma as well as into northwest Texas. Any severe storm that develops will be capable of producing damaging wind gusts, hail and frequent lighting. An isolated tornado will also be possible.

Tomorrow, a strong low pressure system and its associated cold front will move eastward from the Southern Plains into the mid-Mississippi Valley and eventually into the Tennessee Valley. With plenty of moisture and instability in place, isolated severe storms will be possible. The greatest threat for severe storms will be across Arkansas into western Tennessee and Kentucky during the peak heating of the day. Heavy rain can also be expected across the mid-South with rainfall accumulations of 2-4 inches and isolated amounts up to 5 inches. This could lead to areas of localized flash flooding. The threat of heavy rain will end on Friday as the storm system exits the region.

Areas indicated in orange represent a moderate risk for severe storms. Areas in yellow indicate a slight risk. Image: ImpactWeather StormWatch

Improving conditions are expected across the Plains and southern U.S. on Friday with snow spreading into the Ohio Valley and lower Great Lakes during the morning hours as a low pressure system moves just south of the area. Snow accumulations of 3-6 inches will be possible with isolated heavier amounts up to 8-10 inches. The exact snow accumulation will be highly dependent on the exact track of this system. As this same system moves across the mid-Atlantic States, showers and thunderstorms will develop in advance of it. Isolated severe storms will be possible which will be capable of producing damaging wind gusts, frequent lightning and hail. Elsewhere, snow is expected to slowly push across central California and into Utah and Colorado Friday into early Saturday. Snow accumulations are forecast to range from 4-8 inches with locally higher amounts in the higher elevations. 

Snow (white) will spread across parts of New England on Friday as a strong low pressure system moves across the region. Severe storms (red) will be possible across the mid-Atlantic States with this same system. Breezy southerly winds (yellow) can be expected in advance of this system with sustained winds up to 25 mph. Elsewhere, snow continues across parts of the west with cold air (blue) remaining in place across the Pacific Northwest into the Dakotas. Temperatures will be 20-30ºF below average. Image: ImpactWeather StormWatch

 Here’s a look at the snow potential across the northern U.S. from Thursday to Saturday. Image: ImpactWeather StormWatch

This weekend, a low pressure system and its associated front will push across the Lower and mid Mississippi Valley on Sunday. Scattered showers and thunderstorms will develop with isolated severe storms possible. Strong winds can also be expected with sustained winds of 25-35 mph with locally higher gusts possible. Showers and thunderstorms will spread eastward Monday into the Deep South and Tennessee Valley. Isolated severe storms will be possible.

 Severe storms (red) can be expected across the region later this weekend with strong winds (yellow) back behind this system. A very cold airmass (blue) also remains in place across the Pacific Northwest into the Dakotas with temperatures 20-30ºF below normal. Image: ImpactWeather StormWatch

 Isolated severe storms will be possible early next week. Image: ImpactWeather StormWatch

Speaking of early next week, I can’t believe Tuesday is the first day of March (which also happens to be Dave Gorham’s birthday, so HAPPY ‘early’ BIRTHDAY, DAVE!). Looking at long range models, we could see slightly above average precipitation amounts (see below) across the Pacific Northwest, southeast Texas, the eastern Ohio Valley and eastern Great Lakes in March. Even though spring is just a few weeks away, I think with the below average temperatures expected across the northern half of the country through the month of March, we’ll more than likely get a little more snow across some areas before winter is completely over (and perhaps even as spring begins).

 Precipitation Outlook for March, 2011. Image: ImpactWeather StormWatch

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