Monday, December 7, 2009

Winter storm brewing in the Central U.S.; storms likely for the Mid-South

It's going to be a wild weather week across much of the nation this week as winter really kicks into full gear with a massive storm system that is moving across the southwestern U.S. today and will bomb out (deepen, or strengthen, very rapidly) as it heads into the Plains and Midwest by tomorrow. Blizzard Watches and Warnings are in effect for large areas of the Central Plains and Upper Midwest as up to a foot or more of snow is expected for some areas, along with wind blowing at 40-50 mph with higher gusts creating white-out conditions. You will definitely be hearing about this one on the news in the next couple of days.

Behind it, very cold polar air will settle in over the northern half of the country and there is already talk of FEET of lake effect snow behind this system for the Great Lakes. For more on the national impact, I'll refer you to another Weather Authority, AccuWeather's Henry Margusity. Check out his video on "Big Daddy Blizzard."

As for the impacts further south, the Storm Prediction Center has highlighted a large area of the southeastern U.S. with the potential for severe storms on Tuesday and Tuesday night (see the national map below). Though the strongest storms will stay south of the Memphis metro area, we will likely hear some thunder on Tuesday and rain totals could mount up with this storm. I won't be surprised at all when most places get more rain from this system than they got in all of November (which isn't exactly saying much). The NWS is predicting the potential for 2-3" of rain for our area, which could cause flooding in low-lying areas and could raise streams outside their banks. Stay with for the latest watches or warnings, as well as an updated forecast.

As this system departs Tuesday night, look for much cooler conditions to set back in again with gusty wind of 30-35 mph late Tuesday night and into Wednesday. Temps may slowly fall during the day on Wednesday, possibly into the upper 30s by the evening rush hour, and with a generous wind, it will feel even colder.

Our weather eyes then turn to Friday night for the possibility of *gasp* wintry precipitation! I'm not ready to pull the trigger on a definite snow fall yet, but it bears watching as yet another southern stream system moves along the Gulf Coast, dropping scattered light precipitation into a very cool airmass. Once again, stay tuned.

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