Snow coming to parts of the South

You read that right. Confidence is increasing that parts of the South will see snow late Sunday into Monday. A strong, Arctic cold front will race through the South on the day Sunday. Temperatures will fall from spring-like levels to winter-like levels within just several hours. Expect temperatures to drop 40-50 degrees within a 24-hour period. Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group today.

Surface temperature anomalies Monday morning (blue and purple depicts temperatures well below average)

Typically, behind cold fronts, with dry air moving in, the precipitation chances shut down. That is not the case with this setup. Cold air will be in place by Sanday afternoon, and an upper-level low will approach from the west Sunday night. This upper-level low will provide very strong lift over the region. This strong lift with a developing area of surface low pressure will lead to the development of snowflakes high up in the atmosphere. Looking at the different levels of the atmosphere, the moisture and temperature profiles will support this snow reaching the ground. And once the atmosphere moistens, brief bursts of moderate snow cannot be ruled out. Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group today.

Upper-level storm system (red colors show the upper-level low late Sunday)
Sounding over northern Alabama (shows a profile favorable for snow to reach the ground)

Models have really started to suggest this is possible so confidence continues to increase that some areas will see snow. Currently, the favored areas to see quick-hitting snow are northern Mississippi, northern Alabama, far northern Georgia, Tennesee, western North Carolina, and far Upstate South Carolina late Sunday into early Monday morning. (It should also be noted Oklahoma, northern Texas, and Arkansas could see light snow early Sunday before this upper-level system strengthens as it moves east into the South later in the day. It should also be noted as the upper-level system and the associated surface low ramp up over the Carolinas, there could be enough dynamic cooling to allow for a quick burst of snow over eastern North Carolina and eastern Virginia–this is lower confidence at this time)

Radar on Sunday

While temperatures have been very warm recently, and ground temperatures are warm across the region, with a couple of moderate bursts of snow possible, some light accumulations cannot be ruled out across northern Mississippi, northern Alabama, far northern Georgia, Tennesee, western North Carolina, and far Upstate South Carolina by Monday morning on elevated surfaces (BBQ grills, decks, cars, etc.).

It should be noted this is a tricky forecast. Temperatures will be near or just above freezing at the surface as the snow falls, but a quick moderate burst could lead to 1 inch of snow falling across northern Mississippi, northern Alabama, Tennessee, far northern Georiga (north of Atlanta), and a few inches of upslope snow over the mountains of eastern Tennesee and western North Carolina. The 1-inch totals will be isolated in nature and most areas won’t see accumulations. No travel issues are currently expected and widespread accumulations are not in the forecast at this time. Keep in mind, these systems can surprise so we will keep a close eye on this fluid forecast. Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group today.

Snowfall forecast Sunday-Monday

The snow will be quick-hitting and only last a couple of hours for any location!

Strong tornadoes are possible in the South today

12:20 PM CST UPDATE

A Tornado Watch has been issued for parts of Louisiana, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Tennessee until 7:00 PM CST.

AFTERNOON UPDATE

The enhanced severe risk has been expanded into northwestern Georgia. Also, a couple of strong, damaging tornadoes are possible per the Storm Prediction Center.

PREVIOUS INFORMATION

A hyper-active weather day is expected across the South this afternoon and evening. Severe storms are expected to develop west of the Mississippi River earlier in the day advancing east throughout later parts of the day. A severe threat will continue into the nighttime hours. An enhanced risk (level 3 of 5) is in place for parts of eastern Arkansas, northern Mississippi, southern Tennessee, and northern Alabama. A slight risk (level 2 of 5) and marginal risk (level 1 of 5) surround the enhanced risk area.

Within the enhanced risk (orange), this is where the highest chance for severe storms and the greatest coverage of severe storms is expected. This is also where the highest tornado threat exists today into tonight. Other severe hazards include damaging winds and large hail. There is also a tornado, wind, and hail threat for the slight (yellow) and marginal (dark green) severe risk areas.

Make sure you’re staying weather-aware throughout the day. It’s important to have a few reliable sources to receive weather warnings from and have a plan in place and know where to go if a warning is issued for your area.

Big chunk of Arctic air to move south

Tired of the warmth across southern parts of the country? No worries, it appears a strong cold front will bring an end to the warmth (for a bit at least) but we have to wait a few more days!

Models have consistently suggested a cold air mass building over western Canada and the Interior Northwest & U.S. Northern Rockies will move south and the time has come. A piece of the Arctic air mass will get dislodged, moving it south late this week into the upcoming weekend. While the air will modify as it moves south and east, due to the lack of snow cover across the Plains, it’ll still be quite cold and a shocker to the system after the recent warmth.

Timeline of the cold air

The cold air will move into the Southern Plains and Great Lakes throughout the day on Saturday into early Sunday. By Sunday morning, the cold air will rush into the Mid-South, South, Tennessee, Ohio Valleys, Northeast, and Mid-Atlantic. Then by Sunday night into early Monday, the cold air will engulf the Southeast and Carolinas. South on Sunday, and through the Southeast overnight Sunday into Monday.

Animation of the cold front delivering below-average temperatures (blue, green, and purple colors) to southern and eastern parts of the country from late this weekend into early next week (WeatherModels.com)

How cold will it get?

While it’s too early for the exact specifics and numbers, here’s a snapshot of what you could expect:

Southern Plains, South, Mid-South, and Southeast

Highs: 30s & 40s

Lows: 20s

Tennessee Valley, Ohio Valley, and Mid-Atlantic

Highs: 20s & 30s

Lows: 10s

Great Lakes and Northeast

Highs: 0s & 10s

Lows: -10s

Low-temperature forecast next Monday (WeatherModels.com)
High-temperature forecast next Monday (WeatherModels.com)

How long will the cold stick around?

The cold air will be quick-hitting. It appears the coldest air will last from Sunday through Tuesday before a quick moderate of the air mass with temperatures climbing back to seasonal averages.

Coastal low to bring heavy rain, gusty winds, severe weather, and snow to parts of the East Coast

Your Christmas week and the first week of winter are shaping up to be active across parts of the Southeast. An upper-level system moving across the Mid-South will allow for an area of low pressure to ramp up in the Gulf of Mexico over the next 24 hours. This low pressure will be non-tropical but will bring impacts to parts of the Southeast Tuesday and to parts of New England Wednesday as it races northeast.

This area of low pressure will first impact Florida, southern Alabama, southern and central Georgia tonight into Tuesday. Eventually spreading impacts into the Carolinas later in the day on Tuesday. The main impacts will be periods of heavy rainfall and some gusty winds for these areas with a low-end severe weather risk for Florida on Tuesday.

There is a marginal severe risk (level 1 of 5) for Florida on Tuesday as this low pressure approaches, eventually moving across the peninsula of Florida. As this happens, isolated tornadoes and damaging wind gusts are possible. Most storms will remain below severe levels but one or two could become severe. There’s also the possibility of waterspouts off the west coast of the Florida peninsula.

Tuesday severe threat

The most widespread impacts will be heavy rain for northern Florida, southern Georgia, and coastal parts of the Carolinas. This is where 1-3 inches of rain will fall on Tuesday. While heavy rain is expected, the flood threat is low due to the quick movement of the low pressure.

Rain forecast through Tuesday
Rain forecast through Tuesday

This low pressure will be fast-moving and depart the coast of the Carolinas late Tuesday, skirting well off the coast of the Mid-Atlantic early Wednesday. There are some questions on the exact track of the low. Models had suggested the low would be well offshore but some recent trends have pulled the track farther west (closer to the coast). This could spread more impacts into coastal parts of New England and Maine on Wednesday as the low eventually moves into the Gulf of Maine late Wednesday.

This region can expect rough seas, coastal gales, coastal rain or possibly a light wintry mixture, and areas of heavy snow in parts of Maine as the low gathers strength. It appears the track will allow for eastern Maine to see several inches of snow late Wednesday as the low tracks across the Gulf of Maine, interacting with cold air. Keep in mind a track farther east would diminish the impacts for New England and Maine, while a track farther west would increase the impacts. The track will continue to be ironed out over the next 12 hours.

Wind forecast Wednesday
Snow forecast through Wednesday

An unprecedented severe weather outbreak is expected this afternoon and evening

An unprecedented severe weather outbreak is likely this afternoon and evening for parts of the Midwest. The Storm Prediction Center has issued a rare moderate severe risk (level 4 of 5), for this time of the year and location, for the possibility of numerous severe thunderstorms.

Today’s severe risk area

Thunderstorms are developing in the Plains, will quickly become severe, and move into the Midwest later this afternoon and evening. These storms will have the capability to produce 70-100 mph winds, tornadoes, and hail. A few of the tornadoes could be strong.

The severe risk area includes highly populated areas. Parts of eastern Nebraska, Iowa, southeastern Minnesota, and southwestern Wisconsin are within the moderate severe risk area. This includes Des Moines and Omaha. An enhanced, slight, and the marginal severe risk extends outside of the moderate risk area, which includes Lincoln, Cedar Rapids, Sioux City, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Kansas City, and Tulsa. The highest tornado risk is within the moderate severe risk area with an appreciable tornado risk in the enhanced and sight risk areas.

If you’re in or near this area, please listen to all warnings and have a way to receive warnings throughout the remainder of the day.

A recap of the tornado outbreak

The death toll is rising and the realization of what occurred Friday night continues to sink in as the recovery efforts continue. Friday night’s storms triggered tornados across the heart of the country in what is the deadliest U.S. tornado outbreak in more than a decade, killing people in five states across the Midwest and South.

The storm system triggered a large number of Severe Thunderstorm Warnings and Tornado Warnings from northeastern Texas to Kentucky. According to FOX Weather, 145 Severe Thunderstorm Warnings and 119 Tornado Warnings were issued from late Friday into early Saturday across the region.

Severe and Tornado Warnings issued by local NWS offices (graphic courtesy: FOX Weather: FOXweather.com)

The severe storms continued east on Saturday with several additional Tornado Warnings being issued in parts of Mississippi and Alabama. In all, nearly 150 (149) Tornado Warnings were issued Friday and throughout the day Saturday.

Tornado Warnings issued by local NWS offices (graphic courtesy: FOX Weather: FOXweather.com)

As local National Weather Service offices go into the field and survey the damage and assign tornado intensities to the areas impacted, it has been confirmed that more than two-dozen tornadoes touched down late Friday with some tornadoes being strong (a handful of EF-3s have been confirmed) and possibly some tornadoes tracking dozens, if not hundreds of miles. One supercell storm, in particular, tracked over 200 miles, producing potentially continuous, or nearly continuous, tornadoes. This is unprecedented.

Confirmed tornadoes-preliminary (graphic courtesy: FOX Weather: FOXweather.com)

In fact, the last 200+ mile tornado occurred nearly 100 years ago back in 1925 when a tornado tracked continuously for 219 miles.

A Federal Emergency has been declared for Kentucky by President Joe Biden to free resources and monies to assist in the recovery efforts. Many states have sent assistance and resources to states that were impacted by Friday’s tornadoes.

A potentially significant severe weather event is expected to unfold Friday

Eyeing the potential for significant severe weather for parts of the Mid-South, Tennessee Valley, and Ohio Valley Friday as a strong storm system sweeps across the country. Severe storms are expected to develop along a cold front late in the day Friday across eastern Oklahoma and eastern Texas, sweeping east Friday evening and overnight Friday.

These storms will likely quickly become strong to severe producing gusty winds, hail, and a few tornadoes. As the storms continue during the evening and overnight hours, a strong low-level jet is expected to develop, helping increase the tornado potential. Thus, nocturnal tornadoes are expected Friday night from the Mid-South, northeast into the Ohio Valley. A couple of strong tornadoes are possible.

The coverage and intensity of the storms have prompted the Storm Prediction Center to place parts of eastern Arkansas, northern Mississippi, western Tennessee, southeastern Missouri, southern Illinois, southern Indiana, and western Kentucky in an enhanced severe risk (level 3 of 5) for Friday night. It’s possible parts of this are upgraded to a moderate-severe risk (level 4 of 5) later tonight.

Friday severe risk

Below, the graphics show the tornado, hail, and wind risks for the region. Notice the yellow, hashed area where the enhanced risk exists. This is where the is the highest potential for tornadoes Friday evening with the possibility of a few becoming severe.

Friday tornado risk
Friday hail risk
Friday wind risk

If you’re in any of the severe risk areas tomorrow (marginal, slight, or enhanced), please go ahead and have a plan in place in case a warning is issued for your area.

A look back at the December 8-9, 2017 South & Southeast snow, a foot fell in some areas

Just a few years ago, folks across parts of the South & Southeast woke up to a blanket of snowfall. An early-season major snowstorm impacted areas from south Texas, northeast into parts of the Carolinas beginning December 7 in Texas, moving across the South and Southeast from December 8-9. This storm system was historic for some areas.

A widespread swath of 2-4 inches fell from southeastern Louisiana, central and southern Mississippi, Alabama, northern Georgia, eastern Tennessee, Upstate South Carolina, and central and western North Carolina. Some of the heaviest accumulations were recorded in central Alabama, northern Georgia, and western North Carolina. Some of these areas saw a foot or more of snow.

Here is a localized look at some of the heaviest snow in Georgia and Alabama from this historic snowstorm.

Georgia snowfall accumulations
Alabama snowfall accumulations

See the latest winter outlooks below.

Read the NOAA Winter Outlook here.

Read the AccuWeather Winter Outlook here.

Read the Farmers’ Almanac here.

Read the Old Farmer’s Almanac here.

A storm system will move across the country this week providing heavy snow to the west along with severe weather and possibly wintry weather to parts of the Southeast

A storm system will bring a plethora of wild weather to many parts of the country this week into the weekend. This storm system will develop and progress east into the Rockies by late week; aiding in a strong push of cold air and quite a bit of lift, which will bring moisture to a good chunk of the West and eventually southern and eastern parts of the country. Most of the western mountain ranges can expect snow with feet in some areas from mid to late week. Get all the details on this system.

Farther south and east, the potential for severe weather will establish itself from Friday through Sunday from eastern Texas, east to the Carolinas as deep moisture and warmth build over the South and Southeast along with favorable lift and shear from the approaching storm system. All modes of severe weather are possible.

Depending on the exact evolution of the upper-level storm system, a chance for wintry weather could make an appearance across parts of the South and Southeast once the severe risk ends by the late weekend. This is still highly uncertain but is being closely monitored and the finer details will be ironed out over the coming days. Get all the details on this storm system, including its impact and timing.

Animated future radar over the next week
Snow forecast over the next week
Precipitation forecast over the next week

Big jet stream changes bring big-time weather changes to the lower-48 this week

The weather has been relatively quiet for a good chunk of the lower-48 recently, especially for the southern half of the country. The culprit of the quiet weather and milder temperatures has been the jet stream being located pretty far north. Along with the northern placement of the jet stream, it has also been relatively flat. This is known as a zonal flow, which keeps the weather pretty inactive, leading to milder temperatures and less of a wintry and severe threat across most of the lower-48. Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group!

Zonal flow jet stream example (courtesy NOAA)

This flat, or zonal flow, will begin to break down this upcoming week. The jet stream will start to get “kinky”, which will lead to a more active weather pattern. This active weather pattern means more rain and storms, more wintery precipitation, and colder temperatures for parts of the country that have been relatively quiet as of late. Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group!

Notice the animated graphic below shows a few different storm systems delivering a plethora of weather to the lower-48 over the coming days and most areas will get in on the action. From showers and storms across the Southern Plains, South, and Southeast (some of which could be severe Sunday-Tuesday) along with snow for much of the West, Plains, Great Lakes, Ohio Valley, and Northeast.

Simulated radar for this upcoming week (courtesy WeatherModels.com)

Areas of heavy precipitation are expected for the Pacific Northwest, central Rockies, and the eastern half of the country. The graphic below shows the precipitation totals through this upcoming week. Notice the Pacific Northwest will see 2-8 inches of precipitation. The valleys and lowlands will see this fall as rain while the mountains receive feet of snow. Even California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and New Mexico will get in on the rain with mountain snow. And yes, Colorado and Denver, you’re getting snow too! Farther east, good rain accumulations are expected for the South, Southeast, Carolinas, and Tennessee Valley. This is great news given the recent fires in the Southeast and Carolinas. Farther north, wintry precipitation is expected.

Precipitaiton accumulation forecast (courtesy WeatherModels.com)

Areas of heavy snow are expected for all the mountains out west. This is wonderful news for the snowpack and ski lovers. Feet of snow is expected. Even the mountains in southern California, and southern Arizona, and New Mexico will see inches of snow. The Great Lakes will get in on the action too with heavy snow. It’s possible some of the heavy snow extends into the Midwest and Plains with a developing winter storm later in the week but these details will be ironed out over the coming days.

Snow accumulation forecast for this week (courtesy WeatherModels.com)

Each system will have a reinforcing shot of colder air with a potentially very strong cold front late this upcoming week into the weekend!

See the latest winter outlooks below.

Read the NOAA Winter Outlook here.

Read the AccuWeather Winter Outlook here.

Read the Farmers’ Almanac here.

Read the Old Farmer’s Almanac here.