South & Southeast: a wetter, cooler weather pattern

A strong summer-like ridge is controlling the weather across the South & Southeast. This ridge is allowing temperatures to skyrocket well above average into the 90s and this is expected to stick around through the end of the workweek into the first half of the weekend, but there are changes in store with a changing weather pattern.

Guidance suggests this ridge will weaken and move eastward off the Southeast coast with a trough digging into central parts of the country. This changing weather pattern will help increase moisture on the western periphery of the ridge along with sending a cold front into the region for the second half of the weekend.

Temperatures will stay in the 90s through Saturday but the cold front arrives overnight Saturday into Sunday, which will significantly drop temperatures. Temperatures will fall from highs in the 90s with a few 100s (Wednesday through Saturday), down into the 70s & lower 80s (Sunday through Tuesday). Low temperatures will fall into the 50s & lower 60s, which will be quite refreshing.

Wednesday’s forecast highs
Thursday’s forecast highs
Friday’s forecast highs
Saturday’s forecast highs
Sunday’s forecast highs
Monday’s forecast highs
Tuesday’s forecast highs

Rain chances also increase over the weekend into early next week with this pattern change. Isolated to scattered showers and storms are expected, which is great news as some areas in the South & Southeast are beginning to slip into abnormally dry & drought conditions. Expect a widespread 0.75-1.25″ of rain with higher amounts possible. Widespread or organized severe weather is not expected.

Rainfall forecast next 7-days

Late-season cold snap & snow this weekend

A late-season cold snap will bring freezing temperatures and even some snow to parts of the Southeast this weekend. The snow will be confined to the higher elevations of eastern Tennessee, western North Carolina, and farther north into Virginia and West Virginia overnight Friday into Saturday. Light accumulations are possible above 4,000 feet where 1-3 inches of snow is possible. Above 5,000 feet, up to half a foot is possible in eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina.

Snow accumulation forecast Friday night through Saturday

While snow is not expected farther south and at lower elevations, cold temperatures are expected. Temperatures will be below average this weekend with a push of chilly air but the coldest temperatures will occur during the overnight hours on Saturday & Sunday. Radiational cooling will allow temperatures to dip to or below freezing for most of Tennessee, northern Alabama, northern Georgia, Upstate South Carolina, and much of North Carolina by Sunday morning & Monday morning. If you have planted gardens or flowers, make sure you protect them from the freeze and bring the pets inside. Even a frost is possible as far south as central Alabama, central Georgia, and central South Carolina.

Sunday morning low temperature forecast
Monday morning low temperature low forecast

The cold snap will be short-lived. Temperatures will climb to and above average after this weekend. In fact, spring-like severe storms are possible next week.

Snowfall forecast Friday night through Saturday; some areas could see over half a foot

A winter storm will unfold across parts of the Mid-South, South, and Tennesse Valley tonight into Saturday morning. The winter storm will allow for snow to fall as south as I-20 in some areas with moderate to heavy snow accumulations for parts of central Arkansas, northern Mississippi, northern Alabama, northern Georgia, Tennessee, and western North Carolina. These areas could see a widespread 2-4 inches of snow with some areas seeing closer to 8 inches. Snow amounts this high will cause some travel issues especially with the snow falling overnight into the early morning hours before the higher sun angle has a chance to help melt the snow.

Because of the moderate to heavy snow accumulations and travel impacts possible, winter weather alerts have been issued for many areas. Winter Storm Warnings and Winter Weather Advisories are in effect for all the aforementioned areas tonight into Saturday morning.

Stay warm, be safe, and enjoy the snow!

Winter Storm Watches & Winter Weather Advisories go up for the South

A winter storm will impact parts of the South late Friday into Saturday. This storm system will deliver accumulating snow as far south as I-20 in parts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. Ahead of the winter storm, winter weather alerts have gone up.

Within the Winter Storm Watch and Winter Weather Advisory, accumulating snow is possible. A general 1-3 inches of snow can be expected with isolated higher amounts possible for some areas. See more details on the winter storm here.

Severe weather and tornadoes are also possible Friday & Saturday for parts of the Southeast.

Severe storms & tornadoes possible for the Southeast Friday & Saturday

Firsthand Weather has talked about the wintry threat for parts of the South over the past few days but there’s also a severe thunderstorm and tornado risk Friday & Saturday for parts of the Southeast. Read more about the winter storm.

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has outlined an area of a marginal (level 1 of 5 – dark green), slight (level 2 of 5 – yellow), and enhanced (level 3 of 5 – orange) severe risk on Friday for parts of the Southeast. The area extends from Louisiana east to the Carolinas. Friday will be quite active for this region with several rounds of thunderstorms throughout the day. Severe weather is possible at any point Friday with an increasingly severe risk Friday evening into the overnight hours. All modes of severe weather are possible including tornadoes, damaging winds, and large hail. The tornado risk will be highest Friday night.

Friday’s severe risk area

All areas within the risk areas will see a tornado potential but the highest potential for tornadoes will exist from the Florida Panhandle, southeastern Alabama, southern Georgia, northern Florida, and south-central South Carolina.

Friday’s tornado probability

The severe risk will shift east overnight Friday into Saturday, thus, the SPC has outlined an area of a marginal (level 1 of 5 – dark green) and slight (level 2 of 5 – yellow) severe risk on Saturday for coastal parts of the Southeast. The area extends from Florida north to the Carolinas. Again, similar to Friday, all modes of severe weather are possible including tornadoes, damaging winds, and large hail.

Saturday’s severe risk area

If you live within the severe risk area, please keep a close eye on the forecast, have reliable sources to receive weather warnings from, and have a plan in place in case a warning is issued for your area.

Southern winter storm on the way

Firsthand Weather continues to monitor the potential for a winter storm late Friday into Saturday for parts of the South. The winter storm will bring a late-season chance for snow from Texas & Oklahoma east into Arkansas, northern Louisiana, northern & central Mississippi, northern Alabama, northern Georgia, Tennesee, and western North Carolina. Enough snow is possible to allow for light to potentially moderate accumulations for some of the aforementioned areas.

The favored areas to see light to moderate accumulations exist for western Arkansas, northern Mississippi, far northern Alabama, far northern Georgia, central Tennesee & the higher terrain of far eastern Tennesee, and the higher terrain of far western North Carolina. Some minor travel impacts are possible from the snow.

Snow map for Friday-Saturday

An accumulation forecast will be produced later today by Firsthand Weather. Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group for an early look at the preliminary accumulation forecast.

Confidence increasing parts of the South will see snow this weekend

Firsthand Weather continues to monitor the potential for wintry precipitation for parts of the South later this week into the upcoming weekend. See the detailed article on the snow & severe weather potential on Friday & Saturday.

The latest guidance today continues to show this potential for a quick-hitting rain/snow mixture chance Friday into Saturday (spreading west to east) from northern Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, southern Missouri, far northern Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennesee, northern & central Mississippi, northern & central Alabama, northern Georgia, Upstate South Carolina, and North Carolina. There are still many questions but confidence has increased from low confidence to moderate confidence in the potential for snow for parts of these aforementioned areas late week into the weekend.

The European model over the past several runs has consistently shown this possibility of snow for parts of the Southern Plains, Mid-South, Tennesee Valley, and South late Friday into early Saturday, spreading into the Mid-Atlantic & Northeast over the weekend. The image below shows the latest animated run of the model from Friday through Saturday. The blue depicts snow while the green depicts rain. The darker the color, the heavier the precipitation.

The American model, like the European model, over the past several runs has also consistently shown this possibility of snow for parts of the Southern Plains, Mid-South, Tennesee Valley, and South late Friday into early Saturday, spreading into the Mid-Atlantic & Northeast over the weekend. The image below shows the latest animated run of the model from Friday through Saturday. The blue depicts snow while the green depicts rain. The darker the color, the heavier the precipitation. Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group for more details.

Again, while this forecast is not set in stone, confidence continues to increase that parts of the South will see snow Friday night into Saturday morning. The favored areas (for our followers in the South) will be Tennessee, northern & central Mississippi, northern & central Alabama, northern Georgia, and western North Carolina.

It’s too early to dive into the accumulation potential at this point. We do feel comfortable saying it’s possible there could be light accumulations, but this doesn’t appear to be a major winter storm. Warm temperatures leading up to the event, a short duration of wintry precipitation, marginal surface temperatures, and the snow possibly mixing with rain should mitigate how much snow potentially accumulates. Stay tuned for updates & join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group for more details!

A high-impact system to bring the potential of severe weather and snow to parts of the South & Southeast late week into the weekend

Firsthand Weather is monitoring the potential for severe thunderstorms and wintry weather for parts of the South & Southeast this Friday and Saturday as an upper-level system sends a batch of Arctic air south into the lower-48. Ahead of this Arctic air mass, a warm, moist, unstable air mass will build across the South & Southeast later this week. As this cold front clashes with the unstable spring-like air mass, it will trigger a line of thunderstorms on Friday across the South. While early and with still some questions to be ironed out, it appears favorable wind shear and a developing surface area of low pressure could allow for thunderstorms to become strong, possibly severe on Friday including the possibility of isolated tornadoes.

The favored areas appear to be from eastern Texas, southern Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi Friday afternoon and spreading east into Alabama, Georgia, and north Florida during the evening and overnight hours. It’s possible the severe threat continues on Saturday for eastern parts of Georgia, northern Florida, and the Carolinas. Currently, there is no severe risk area outlined by the Storm Prediction Center but this could change over the coming days. If you live in the aforementioned area, make sure you keep a close eye on the forecast and have a plan in place in case a warning is issued on Friday.

Favored areas for thunderstorms are within the blue, green, and yellow shaded areas across the South & Southeast late Friday (this image is from the European model courtesy weathermodels.com)

The next concern is the cold, Arctic air rushing into the South & Southeast late Friday into Saturday. This air will be quite chilly and subfreezing. This is important because it appears the developing surface area of low pressure could help pull in enough moisture into the colder, subfreezing air for a quick changeover to wet snow for parts of the South & Southeast late Friday into Saturday. It needs to be mentioned that there are a lot of questions with this set up and this is a low confidence forecast but the guidance does support the cold air and moisture to overlap long enough for wet snow for some areas during this timeframe. The favored areas are Oklahoma, northern Texas, Arkansas, and central & southern Missouri Friday; eventually spreading into northern Mississippi & western Tennessee overnight Friday; and eventually into the rest of central & eastern Tennesee, northern Alabama, northern Georgia, Kentucky, the mountains of North Carolina, and potentially Upstate South Carolina on Saturday morning. Join the Firsthand Weather Supporter Group.

Future radar late Friday into Saturday. Green and dark green show rain & storms while blue shows snow (this GIF is from the European model courtesy weathermodels.com)

It needs to reiterated that there are a lot of questions with this forecast, it’s low confidence, and snow is not a guarantee for the aforementioned areas, but models are suggesting this is a possibility and while confidence is low at this time, confidence is increasing some areas will see snow late Friday and Saturday. It’s too far out for accumulation forecasts but this will be monitored over the coming days.

Behind the cold front, quite chilly air will stick around for a couple of days with a widespread freeze for the South & Southeast this weekend so bring the pets inside and protect the plants.

Temperature departures from average. The blue, green, and purple shaded areas across the eastern half of the country depict below-average temperatures while the orange and red colors depict above-average temperatures this weekend (this image is from the European model courtesy weathermodels.com)

Tornado Watch issued

Conditions are coming together for the possibility of severe storms from southeastern Oklahoma northeast into southern Missouri. These severe storms will have the capability to produce large hail, damaging winds, and tornadoes. Because of the tornado risk this afternoon & evening, a Tornado Watch has been issued for parts of Arkansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma until 8 PM CST. The Tornado Watch does include Little Rock.

Additional areas could be included in a Tornado or Severe Thunderstorm Watch later this evening. If you live in or near the Tornado Watch, please keep a close eye on this evolving situation, have a couple reliable sources to receive weather information from, and have a plan in place in case a warning is issued for your area.

Severe storms & tornadoes are possible Sunday & Monday from the Southern Plains, Deep South, Tennesee Valley, and Central Appalachians

Tracking thunderstorm chances Sunday & Monday as a colder air mass clashes with a spring-like air mass across central & southern parts of the country. The storm chances will gradually shift south & east from late Sunday through Monday as the cold front moves south.

Initially, thunderstorm chances exist from northern Texas & southern Oklahoma east-northeast into Arkansas, southern Missouri, southern Illinois, southern Indiana, western & northern Tennessee, and western Kentucky Sunday afternoon & evening. The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has highlighted this region within a marginal severe risk (dark green)-level 1/5 and a slight severe risk (yellow)-level 2/5. All modes of severe weather are possible within the marginal & slight severe risk areas. This includes tornadoes, damaging winds, and large hail.

Sunday’s severe risk area

While all highlighted areas have a chance to see a tornado on Sunday, the favored areas are from southeastern Oklahoma northeast through Arkansas into southern Missouri. The favored timeframe is Sunday evening into the nighttime hours.

Sunday’s tornado probability area

As the cold front moves south, the severe threat shifts farther south & east on Monday. The areas that could see severe weather on Monday include the Deep South, Tennessee Valley, and the central Appalachians. The SPC has highlighted this area within a marginal severe risk (dark green)-level 1/5 and a slight severe risk (yellow)-level 2/5. All modes of severe weather are possible within the marginal & slight severe risk areas. This includes tornadoes, damaging winds, and some hail. Isolated severe storms are possible early in the day Monday but the favored timeframe is during the afternoon and evening hours.

It appears the favored areas to see isolated tornadoes will extend from Mississippi & Alabama, northeast into Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia.

Monday’s severe risk area

If you live in or around the highlighted areas for severe weather on Sunday & Monday, please make sure you have a couple of reliable sources to receive weather information from and have a plan in place and know what to do if a warning is issued.

Keep checking back for updates!