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.

Parts of Hawaii are under a Blizzard Warning

You read that right. A Blizzard Warning is in effect for parts of Hawaii as a potent Pacific winter storm system slams the state. Heavy precipitation is expected to fall across all of Hawaii where Flood Watches have been issued. Higher in elevation, though, there will be enough cold air for heavy snow to fall. The heavy snow will be wind-driven by 100 mph wind gusts. Because of the snow and wind, a Blizzard Warning has been issued for the highest peaks of the Big Island. Mauna Loa and Mauna Kea peaks could see up to one foot of snow. Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group!

Blizzard Warning for Hawaii (courtesy: CBS Denver)

The Blizzard Warning goes into effect this evening and continues into Sunday morning. Snow is not unheard of in Hawaii. The highest peaks do usually see snow during the cold months, but 12 inches is quite a bit!

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 wildfire is raging in North Carolina

Pilot Mountain, NC fire. Photo: Richard Hill

A growing wildfire in North Carolina has prompted the closure of Pilot Mountain State Park. It is possible the park remains closed throughout the duration of this upcoming week. The NC State Parks announced on Twitter. Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group!

The Pilot Knob Fire Department says the fire started Saturday, November 27. According to NC State Parks, the fire has burned close to 180 acres. The tweet was from the morning of Sunday, November 28, so it’s possible the fire has consumed more acres. According to ABC15, several agencies have responded to the fire in an attempt to get it under control.

The fire is still burning and not under control as of the afternoon on Sunday, November 28.

Unfortunately, the forecast is largely dry for Pilot Mountain, NC this week. Models show no precipitation through Friday for this area. Along with the dry conditions, temperatures will grow well above average this week for the area from mid-week through the end of the week along with gusty winds at times.

European model precipitation forecast through Friday
Temperature departure from average from mid-week through the end of the week

These conditions will favor erratic fire growth at times, and other areas will be in a favorable environment for the start and growth of wildfires. Looking ahead, it appears by late this weekend into early the following week, a wetter weather pattern is expected. This will help with any burning fires. Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group!

Eyeing the potential for an Arctic air mass to move into the lower-48 in December

There is growing noise around the possibility of cold, Arctic air moving into parts of the lower-48 in December. Before we dive into the discussion, please keep in mind that this is a low confidence scenario and changes are likely over the coming days as the finer details are ironed out. Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group today.

Numerical guidance continues to hint at a pattern that could favor the movement of some very chilly air into parts of the lower-48 sometime around mid-December (give or take a few days). There has been a signal of this for the past few days, and the latest run from the American model (GFS) is showing some bigtime cold sneaking into the lower-48 just after December 10 (again, don’t look too much into the specifics–i.e. exact numbers and time—those will change). Despite the low confidence, it is important to take a mental note that the odds of a cold air mass working its way into the lower-48 are increasing sometime near or just beyond the second week of December. Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group today.

American model’s forecast temperature (surface) departure from average Saturday, December 11 – Monday, December 13
American model’s forecast temperatures (surface) Saturday, December 11 – Monday, December 13

At this time, it appears the favored areas to see the coldest temperatures will reside across central and western parts of the U.S., mainly west of the Mississippi River (it is possible this could change so keep that in mind) where a deep trough will establish itself. Even if the coldest air resides west of the Mississippi initially, it is possible some of the colder air could gradually sneak east beyond mid-month depending on the evolution of upper-air ridging farther east. Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group today.

Until then, areas west of the Mississippi, enjoy the warmth over the next couple of weeks. Areas east of the Mississippi over the next couple of weeks will experience temperatures near to a touch below average. We will continue to monitor the latest trends. Keep checking back for updates as this forecast will likely significantly change over the coming days. Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group today.

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.

Southern California Santa Ana winds create a dangerous fire day for southern California

A potentially dangerous fire day is shaping up for parts of southern California. This afternoon and evening will feature critical fire conditions as strong gusty winds, paired with low humidity and warm temperatures plague the region. These strong, gusty winds are known as Santa Ana winds, which will gust between 40 to 60 mph. The winds come from inland areas, so this acts to drastically drop the humidity. Today’s humidity is expected to drop down to 2% in some areas. These conditions will allow for fires to rapidly spread once initiated.

Parts of Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Burbank, and San Diego are areas of concern this afternoon and evening. The fire danger continues into Friday afternoon and evening with elevated fire conditions expected.

Snow chances for parts of Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, North Carolina, and Tennessee

A strong late-week cold front will race through the Southeast from late Thanksgiving into Friday. This cold front will drive temperatures down toward freezing by Friday morning for many areas north of I-20 in the South and Southeast. Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group.

The moisture return ahead of this front will be quite meager but enough lift with the cold front and an upper-level system farther north should be enough to generate a few spot rain showers along and just behind the cold front. With the cold air rushing in behind the front, the meager moisture in place will be quick to depart shortly after the cold front passes through. However, there could be a brief window for the cold air and moisture to overlap for a couple of hour window for the possibility of a few snowflakes mixing in with the rain early Friday morning for parts of far northeastern Alabama, eastern Tennessee, far northern Georgia, western North Carolina, and the northern periphery of Upstate South Carolina. Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group.

Future radar early Friday morning: Alabama
Future radar early Friday morning: Georgia
Future radar early Friday morning: Tennessee
Future radar early Friday morning: North Carolina and South Carolina

It should be noted: if the air “dries out” faster than currently forecast or the cold air is a little slower, the already small snow chances will diminish further. Keep checking back for updates on this forecast that will be likely to change over the coming days.

Again, this is a small window for a few flakes to mix in with the rain and most areas won’t see snow. If you are lucky enough to see a few of the flakes, don’t expect accumulations. The only areas that will see accumulations are the higher peaks of the Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina. A dusting to 1 inch is possible above 3,500 feet with 1-3 inches above 4,000 feet. Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group.

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.

Snow tonight for the Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains

There are two chances for snow over the coming days for parts of the Southern Appalachians. The first chance for snow arrives tonight into Monday with a second chance for snow to end the week. The second chance for snow could be more impactful, possibly extending into northern parts of the Southeast states. Here is more information on the second snow chance.

Let’s dive into tonight’s snow chances. An upper-level storm system and associated cold front will move east across eastern parts of the country today into Monday. This cold front will deliver very chilly air to the eastern parts of the country with temperatures falling well below average through mid-week. Once the cold front passes through the southern Appalachians, there will be a chance for quick-hitting snow in the highest peaks of the Great Smoky Mountains and the Blue Ridge Mountains overnight tonight into Monday for far eastern Tennessee and far western North Carolina.

The best chance for snow will fall above 3,500 feet. This is where a few snowflakes will mix in with the rain. Higher in elevation, a dusting of snow is possible above 4,500 feet. Accumulations greater than a dusting are not expected due to meager moisture and marginal temperatures while the moisture is in place. Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group.

Snow accumulation forecast for tonight through Monday

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.

Eyes on the next big cold front for the eastern half of the country

Tracking the next strong cold front that will deliver a cold air mass to the eastern half of the country for the first half of Thanksgiving week. Cold air will begin spilling out of Canada into the Northern Plains on Sunday. This cold air mass will rush south and east into the Great Lakes, Ohio Valley, and Tennesse Valley overnight Sunday. The colder air will eventually make its way into the Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast throughout the day on Monday. This colder air will stick around through Wednesday of Thanksgiving week. Take a look at the full Thanksgiving week forecast!

Temperature departure from average Sunday (November 21) through Wednesday (November 24)

Temperatures will be 10-25 degrees below average for some areas along and east of the Mississippi River from Monday through Wednesday. This means high temperatures will struggle to even hit the freezing mark for parts of the Great Lakes and Northeast. Even high temperatures in the 40s are expected for parts of the Tennesse Valley and Southeast. Some 30s are expected for the mountains in North Carolina and Tennessee. Go ahead and get the firewood ready! Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group today!

Southeast high-temperature forecast Monday (November 22)
Southeast high-temperature forecast Tuesday (November 23)
Southeast high-temperature forecast Wednesday (November 24)
East high-temperature forecast Monday (November 22)
East high-temperature forecast Tuesday (November 23)
East high-temperature forecast Wednesday (November 24)

If that’s not cold enough for ya, take a look at the morning lows. Many areas east of the Mississippi will fall below freezing. 20s are likely into parts of the Tennessee Valley and Southeast with 10s farther north. Brr!

Southeast low-temperature forecast Monday (November 22)
Southeast low-temperature forecast Tuesday (November 23)
Southeast low-temperature forecast Wednesday (November 24)
East low-temperature forecast Monday (November 22)
East low-temperature forecast Tuesday (November 23)
East low-temperature forecast Wednesday (November 24)

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.

Eyes on Thanksgiving week for a potentially significant storm to impact the Great Lakes and East Coast

All eyes are on next week as millions are expected to travel across the county to celebrate Thanksgiving. Weather models have been hinting at the possibility of a storm system impacting the Great Lakes and East Coast early to mid-next week. While the finer details are still to be ironed out, the larger-scale setup is starting to become clearer. We have been talking about this system in the Supporter Group. Join the Supporter Group today.

A potent upper-level system will dive south and east into the country’s eastern half to start the week of Thanksgiving. The main energy and lift associated with the upper-level system look to reside somewhere near the Great Lakes or Ohio Valley early next week. The track will be ironed out over the coming days. Despite most of the “oomph” with the system being farther north, part of it will extend farther south into the Southeast. This will help pull a cold front into eastern parts of the country along with the possibility of an area of low pressure developing somewhere along or just off the East Coast early to mid next week.

An animated depiction of upper-level weather pattern early to mid next week

The cold front is a certainty but the low pressure is highly questionable and depends on the evolution and track of the aforementioned upper-level system. Regardless, the upper-level system and associated cold front will bring a large area of showers and storms into the eastern half of the country. This includes parts of the Ohio Valley, Tennessee Valley, Great Lakes, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Northeast. While an isolated severe storm cannot be ruled out, a strong risk for severe storms does not look probable at this point. Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group today.

Do notice there will be some wintry precipitation for some areas. The exact areas and amounts are highly questionable at this time, but the most likely areas to see snow are the Great Lakes and Northeast from early to mid next week. It is possible the Ohio Valley and Mid-Atlantic get in on the wintry weather too but this will be ironed out over the coming days. If this system digs a little farther south, and/or if we do get some type of low pressure to develop, it’s possible the cooling associated with the farther south track of the upper-level system or the dynamic cooling with the intensification of a surface low pressure could bring snow farther south so this will be monitored over the coming days as the details become clearer.

An animated simulated radar from early to mid next week

As the system moves east, chilly air will wrap into eastern parts of the country. This colder air will drop temperatures well below average for a good chunk of the week for areas east of the Mississippi River. With this colder air, lake effect snow showers are expected for the eastern and southern shores of the Great Lakes for a good chunk of Thanksgiving week.

Animated temperature departure from average next week

And looking beyond mid-week next week, guidance is suggesting another storm system could develop, taking aim on parts of the Rockies and Southern Plains late next week into the weekend, then possibly moving into the South and Southeast or Tennessee Valley/Ohio Valley late Thanksgiving weekend. There are a lot of questions about the evolution of this possible system but it could cause a mess of severe weather and wintry weather.

An animated depiction of upper-level weather pattern late next week

Regardless of the finer details, Thanksgiving week and weekend look hyper-active, which will likely disrupt travel most of Thanksgiving week through the weekend. Keep checking back for updates!

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.

Winter is coming to the South and Southeast

A polar air mass will move into the South and Southeast tonight into the weekend. This will deliver the coldest air of the season, allowing many areas to see frost and freeze, so technically, you could see the white stuff on the ground this weekend. The white stuff won’t be snow, but it will be frost so you want to make sure you protect the plants, pets, and outdoor exposed pipes. Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group today!

The cold front will move through the Southern Plains and into the South tonight. This will deliver a freeze and frost for some areas as early as tonight, with most areas seeing a freeze and frost Saturday night. Because of this, a Freeze Warning, Freeze Watch, and Frost Advisory have been issued for a good chunk of the region.

Freeze and frost alerts for the South and Southeast

Most of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, eastern Tennessee, and parts of North Carolina are under a Freeze Watch for Saturday night. This will likely be upgraded to a Freeze Warning on Saturday. The Freeze Watch is the purple shaded areas on the maps below. It should be noted, the front moves through Mississippi sooner so there’s a Frost Advisory in northern Mississippi for tonight. The Frost Advisory is the light blue shaded area. Temperatures in the Freeze Watch will likely fall between 28-32 degrees Saturday night. Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group today!

Farther west, the cold air has moved into the Southern Plains already. Because of this, there is a Freeze Warning tonight for northern Texas, most of Oklahoma, and western Arkansas. The Freeze Warning is the bright blue shaded areas. Temperatures will fall between 28-32 degrees tonight.

Please make sure you bundle up and take the proper precautions along with safe heating measures in your home. Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group today!

Another round of snow is on the way to this area over the weekend! Winter is here. 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.