November 25, 2021

Another Drenching For The Pacific Northwest, Heavy Snow Headed For Northeast

It's been a remarkably quiet Thanksgiving across most of the United States. There are no severe thunderstorms to worry about. No massive nor'easters threatening to disrupt every major hub on the East Coast. The tropics are blissfully quiet. The only worrisome weather this holiday weekend seems confined to the two northern corners of the country, with another atmospheric river in the Pacific Northwest and heavy snow in interior New England.

Pacific Northwest Drenching

Yet another atmospheric river has its sights set on the Pacific Northwest over the next couple of days. It's already raining over much of western Washington and southwestern British Columbia, and there's plenty more on the way over the next couple of days.

We've heard a lot about "atmospheric rivers" lately. An atmospheric river is an area of elevated moisture in the upper atmosphere that usually flows from the tropics to the mid-latitudes. These features act like reservoirs that storm systems and thunderstorms can tap into and wring out tremendous amounts of moisture.

A recent atmospheric river event brought catastrophic flooding to parts of British Columbia and Washington, the damage from which essentially cut off access to the Vancouver, B.C., metro area by land. The current bout of heavy rain and gusty winds won't be nearly as prolific as the recent storm, but lots of rain is on the way and the added stress will exacerbate the damage and effects.

The heavy rain will wash over Washington and British Columbia in several waves. The first wave is ongoing tonight through Friday. The next round of heavy precipitation will move ashore late Saturday and stick around through Monday. A third batch of heavy rain will follow soon after and arrive by the middle of the week.

The Weather Prediction Center calls for hefty rainfall totals across the region, especially at higher elevations. 5-10 inches of rain could fall along the Cascades and Coastal Range, which is likely going to compound the damage in hard-hit areas, especially in British Columbia. Lower rainfall totals are expected in the big cities.

Wintry New England

The opposite northern corner of the United States is the other area expecting the week's most active weather. A winter storm moving across Eastern Canada will bring heavy snow to parts of the interior Northeast through this weekend.

Several inches of snow are likely in higher elevations across much of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine, with an inch or two likely at lower elevations. The heaviest totals are likely in northern Maine, where some communities could wind up with double-digit snowfall totals by Sunday. Bands of lake-effect snow will also beef up totals along the eastern shores of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario.

[Satellite Image: NOAA]

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November 10, 2021

Season's First Big Snowstorm Set To Hit Northern U.S. Plains, Canadian Prairies

It was a sunny 77°F here in beautiful central North Carolina today, and we're staring down the season's first major winter storm up north. (Sorry.) 

Some areas are on track for legitimate blizzard conditions once the snow arrives on Thursday and Friday. The heaviest accumulations will fall near and north of the border, where some areas are on track to see double-digit snowfall totals by the end of the storm on Friday. 

The impending winter storm is winding up this evening as a low-pressure system moves into the Upper Midwest. The system will strengthen in a hurry as it treks into Minnesota during the day on Thursday, producing heavy snow on the cold side of the low and heavy rain on the warm side to its south.

For areas expecting snow, conditions will deteriorate during the day on Thursday and likely peak in intensity Thursday night into Friday morning. Precipitation will taper off through the day on Friday as the system weakens and pulls out of the region.

The best chance for shovelable snow will follow close to the U.S./Canadian border, where some communities straddling the international line could see as much as a foot of snow by the end of the storm. Farther south, a few inches of snow is possible throughout much of eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota, with the chance for a dusting pushing into the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.

My map uses the National Weather Service's snowfall forecast as of Wednesday night, which is why Canada is sadly excluded from all the fun. The Weather Network calls for a widespread swath of 8-16 inches of snow across southern Manitoba and northern Ontario. (Full disclosure—I occasionally contribute to TWN.)

Gusty winds are going to be a problem, as well. High wind warnings and wind advisories are in effect for much of the northern Plains as winds could gust 60+ MPH during the height of the storm. The combination of high winds and accumulating snow could lead to a period of blizzard conditions in northeastern South Dakota overnight Thursday into Friday.

[Model Image: Tropical Tidbits]

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November 5, 2021

A Pesky Coastal Storm Will Drench Parts Of The Southeast This Weekend

A developing nor'easter will bring dreary conditions to the coastal southeast this weekend, with cool temperatures, pouring rain, and driving winds making things miserable from northern Florida to eastern North Carolina.

The storm is already in its formative stages over northeastern Florida this evening. It's not all that impressive on satellite imagery—unless a bland deck of stratus clouds is your thing, then more power to you—but it's going to slowly grow more organized over the next day or so as it meanders up the coast.

The system and its worst conditions will peak during the day on Saturday, slowly winding down on Sunday as the system pulls away from shore.

This will be a nor'easter that doesn't affect the northeast. Nor'easters get their name from the northeasterly winds that buffet the coast. There's going to be plenty of that over the next few days. Winds could gust as high as 40-50 mph in parts of South Carolina and North Carolina.

Strong and persistent onshore winds will lead to widespread coastal flooding from storm surge, especially around high tide. Coastal flood warnings are in effect from Jacksonville, Florida, to southeastern Virginia through the next couple of days.

Heavy rain is going to be a problem near the track of the storm. The bulk of the heavy rain will stay juuust offshore, but a few inches of rain are likely throughout coastal counties from northeastern Florida to eastern N.C.

These totals could inch higher if the storm tracks a little farther west than currently predicted. Any amount of heavy rain is a headache if it falls too quickly, but leaf-clogged gutters and storm sewers will increase the risk for street and parking lot flooding in some areas.

Saturday is going to be a raw and gloomy day for much of the southeast. Northeasterly winds will lead to cold air damming, a phenomenon where cold air pools up at the foot of the Appalachians because it's too dense to flow up and over the other side. Widespread high temperatures in the 50s are likely as far south as northern Florida. Conditions will warm up a bit on Sunday as the storm moves away.

[Satellite Image: NOAA]

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