A sign of the times and changing seasons: SNOW

Man Digging Out Of Snowstorm

It is a sign of the times and of the changing seasons. The storm track starts to dip farther south and becomes more active. This is when the first flakes start to fall in the higher elevations across the western states, and this is exactly what we will see over the next several days. Some of the higher peaks across the Pacific & Inland Northwest and Interior West will see light accumulations among the highest peaks. This is great news given the latest drought conditions and a promising sight for ski resorts.

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Fig. 1: Northwest snow forecast over the next several days (WeatherModels.com)
Fig. 2: Southwest snow forecast over the next several days (WeatherModels.com)

Some of the heaviest snow from mid-week through the upcoming weekend will actually fall across New Mexico and Colorado. Several inches of snow are forecast above 10,000 feet. It is possible the rain/snow line may fall down to around 9,000 feet but significant accumulations are not expected that low.

Fig. 3: Colorado & New Mexico snow forecast over the next several days (WeatherModels.com)

It’s just a matter of time before the first chance for snow arrives in most forecasts as the days grow shorter and colder!

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Cold air damming event possible

Eyeing the potential for a cold air damming event later this upcoming week into next weekend. There are signals that a favorable pattern for such an event will deliver another taste of fall to parts of the Mid-Atlantic, Carolinas, and Southeast. These events are known for delivering below-average temperatures to areas east of the spine of the Appalachians. See all the details on this event and how cold those temperatures may get.

Temperatures (just above the surface) departure from average. (Courtesy WeatherModels.com)

The timeframe is from Friday through Sunday. There are still uncertainties with this forecast and this potential setup will continue to be monitored over the coming days.

A strong cold front will deliver a chill to the air

A potent cold front will work its way through the eastern half of the country over the next 24 to 48 hours. This cold front will deliver the coldest air of the season to many areas, dropping temperatures below average from Thursday through Saturday. The most noticeably cool air will be felt during the overnight and morning hours with some areas experiencing a frost. See how low the temperatures will go!

Below-average temperatures to end the week (Graphic: Local Memphis)

Along with cooler temperatures, there will be a noticeable reduction in humidity, allowing for comfortable afternoons. This will set the stage for great high school and college football weather to end the week and this weekend.

Get the firewood and pumpkin spice creamer ready!

Strong cold front to deliver chilly mornings as far south as the Gulf Coast

A fall cold front will move across eastern parts of the country Wednesday and Thursday, delivering a chill to the air. Temperatures will fall well below average with a significant drop in humidity. The cooler air mass will be most noticeable overnight into the early morning hours from Thursday through Saturday.

Low temperatures across the South and Southeast will fall into the 40s & 50s Thursday through Saturday. Some 30s are also expected in parts of Tennesee, western North Carolina, and northeastern Georgia. These areas that fall into the upper 30s will have a chance to see a light frost Thursday night/Friday morning and Friday night/Saturday morning under clear skies and light winds. Protect your plants if you live in far northeast Georgia, western North Carolina, and central Tennessee.

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Thursday morning low temperatures South & Southeast
Friday morning low temperatures South & Southeast
Saturday morning low temperatures South & Southeast

The colder air won’t be confined to the Southeast. Temperatures farther north will also be chilly during the overnight and early morning hours. Widespread 30s & 40s are forecast across the Great Lakes, extending into the Ohio Valley, and Northeast.

Thursday morning low temperatures South & Southeast
Friday morning low temperatures South & Southeast
Saturday morning low temperatures South & Southeast

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High temperatures will run will below average, falling into the 60s & 70s for the South, Southeast, and Tennesee Valley with 50s & 60s farther north across the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley.

Hurricane Larry to dump feet of snow

Hurricane Larry is forecast to transition into a major winter storm, delivering feet of snow in Greenland. Larry will continue to rapidly move northeast into the weekend. As Larry continues on this journey, moving farther north, it will quickly transition into an extratropical cyclone by Saturday.

As the extratropical system approaches Greenland, it will pull in copious amounts of moisture. Temperatures will be cold enough for this moisture to fall in the form of snow.

Animated forecast radar

The copious amounts of moisture will equal feet of snow for parts of Greenland. The heaviest snow will fall across eastern parts of the island, closest to the track of Larry, where up to 5 feet may fall in some areas over the weekend.

Animated snowfall accumulations as Larry moves northeast

The snow will also be windblown. As Larry becomes extratropical, the already large wind field will expand. Winds of 60 to 80 mph are possible creating dangerous blizzard conditions.

First taste of fall

Get the pumpkin spice coffee creamer from the store and dust off the light jackets. The first taste of fall arrives for many North Carolina, Upstate South Carolina, Tennessee, northern Mississippi, northern Alabama, and northern Georgia Thursday night and Friday morning.

Once Ida departs, a drier and cooler air mass will filter into the region. This will allow for a few days of pleasant conditions. The coolest temperatures arrive Thursday night and Friday morning when conditions will be perfect for optimized cooling. Lows will fall into the 50s and low-60s for many with parts of Tennessee and western North Carolina falling into the 40s–some mid-40s cannot be ruled out. Upper-50s will sneak as far south as far northern Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.

Say it ain’t SNOW?! The season’s first flakes are expeccted to fly out west

A rather cool storm system will bring the first flakes of the season to parts of the west over the next 36-hours. Peaks in Montana, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado can expect snow, some of which will accumulate.

The first flakes will begin to fly tonight in Montana with the flakes eventually falling in Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado by Thursday. By the time the flakes stop flying, accumulations are expected. The best chance for accumulations will be above 10,000 feet where a few inches will fall. A light dusting is possible down to 9,000 feet with the rain/snow line as far down as 8,000 feet.

Snow forecast tonight through Thursday

While August snow is not unheard of in August for these areas, it is not a frequent occurrence this early in the season. Snow becomes more common in September for these areas.

This is just an early reminder that fall and winter are right around the corner!

Farmers’ Almanac 2021-22 Winter Outlook

While we are in the Dog Days of Summer, you know fall is right around the corner when the Farmers’ Almanac releases its Winter Outlook. The 2021-22 Winter Outlook was released and shows a good chunk of the country experiencing a taste, or two, of Old Man Winter this season.

The Farmers’ Almanac is indicating most areas east of the Rockies will experience cold temperatures with a good shot for above-average wintry precipitation. If you’re a snow lover, this is good news. This outlook indicates the South and Southeast will also have a good chance for wintry precipitation. Areas west of the Rockies will experience a normal winter.

This is the Farmers’ Almanac’s winter forecast, not Firsthand Weather’s. Firsthand Weather’s official 2021-22 Winter Outlook will be released in the coming weeks.

Historic winter storm to impact Rockies and Plains

A historic winter storm will cripple parts of the Rockies and Plains over the weekend. Some areas will experience feet of snow, which will create significant travel impacts, allow for power outages, as well as damage to trees. A few areas that will see the biggest impacts are Colorado, Wyoming, and parts of Nebraska.

A potent upper-level system is moving over the Southwest. This system will move northeast into the Rockies over the weekend, followed by the Plains early next week. Deep moisture is feeding north ahead of the system, which will contribute to the heavy snow as the moisture is forced up the Front Range of the Rockies.

Current Winter Weather Alerts

A plethora of winter weather alerts have been issued across Colorado, Wyoming, and parts of Nebraska. A blizzard warning is in effect for southeastern Wyoming and the northern Nebraska Panhandle where heavy snow and strong winds will lead to white out conditions. A winter storm warning has been issued for central Colorado, southern & central Wyoming, the southern Nebraska Panhandle, and South Dakota where heavy snow will fall. A winter storm watch has been issued for parts of northwestern Nebraska and southwestern South Dakota for heavy snow potential.

Current winter weather alerts

Snow Accumulations and Impacts

Heavy snow and strong winds are likely for the Front Range of the Rockies and the Plains, leading to whiteout conditions. 1 to 2 feet of snow will fall along the I-25 corridor in the region. The 1 foot totals will extend into the western Plains. Parts of the Front Range may see 3 to 4 feet of snow. Heavy snow accumulations of a foot will extend south into the northern mountains of New Mexico. Denver, Cheyenne, Fort Collins, and Boulder will see significant accumulations.

Colorado and New Mexico snow forecast
Wyoming snow forecast
Nebraska and South Dakota snow forecast

Timing

The winter storm is currently over the Southwest and will begin impacting all of the Four Corners states overnight Friday into Saturday. The snow will also begin impacting slight impacts from the system in the Plains and Front Range of the Rockies overnight Friday.

Bigger impacts will arrive for the Front Range of the Rockies and the Plains Saturday through Sunday. Heavy snow and wind will stick around through the entire weekend, continuing into early-Monday morning before shutting down.

Saturday morning radar
Saturday afternoon radar
Sunday morning radar

Snow possible across the Southeast overnight into Saturday

All eyes are on an upper-level low over the Southern Plains. This upper-level low will race to the east overnight into Saturday and begin to open into a shortwave over the Mid-South tonight. Despite the upper-level system opening into a shortwave, it will be rather vigorous as it moves into the Southeast on Saturday.

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As the shortwave treks over the Southeast, strong lift, and a gradual moistening of the atmosphere will occur. This will lead to an uptick in cloud cover across the South & Southeast beginning tonight and continuing through Saturday morning. A light band of precipitation should develop with the increased lift ahead of the shortwave overnight into early-Saturday morning across northeastern Alabama, northern Georgia, far southeastern Tennessee, southeastern North Carolina, and far western Upstate South Carolina.

Future radar 3:00 am Saturday

Initially, the precipitation from this band will fall into dry air at the surface; thus, the majority of the precipitation will evaporate before reaching the surface. This evaporation process will lead to a gradual moistening of the atmosphere, leading to precipitation reaching the ground Saturday morning. The precipitation band will increase in coverage and intensity throughout the morning hours Saturday. Here is where the forecast gets interesting. The temperature profile of the atmosphere is supportive of a rain/snow mixture. Almost the entire column of the atmosphere, from the ground to where the jets fly, will be below freezing. This will allow snow or a rain/snow to fall across the aforementioned regions.

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Future radar 6:00 am Saturday
Future radar 9:00 am Saturday
Future radar 12:00 pm Saturday

High-resolution models are suggesting .05″ to .20″ of precipitation falling across northeastern Alabama, northern Georgia, far southeastern Tennessee, southeastern North Carolina, and far western Upstate South Carolina.

Precipitation accumulation forecast

With temperatures supporting wintry weather, precipitation amounts of .05″ to .20″ would equate to a few areas seeing accumulating snow. Models are suggesting up to 1″ of snow possible.

Snow accumulation forecast

Firsthand Weather is forecasting flurries from northeastern Alabama, northern Georgia, far southeastern Tennessee, southeastern North Carolina, and far western Upstate South Carolina Saturday morning with light accumulations possible across the higher terrain of northeastern Georgia. Within this area of accumulations, due to banding, isolated 2″ amounts cannot be ruled out but most areas will see lesser accumulations.

It should be noted: this event is marginal. Slight deviations in weather variables may significantly change the forecast so keep checking back for updates.