About half of the country is in for a very nice Memorial Day Week overall while the remaining half may half to dodge some storms or deal with flooding rains from a tropical storm. The general upper-level pattern will feature a trough over the West, a strong ridge of high pressure over the Central US, and a cut-off low near the Gulf Coast. It’s these three features that will be the main driver of this weekend’s forecast.
The nicest of weather on Saturday will be found in the Midwest, Plains, Southwest, and parts of the Northeast. It’s these areas that have a low chance for rain and can expect sunshine for the most part. In the Northeast, there will be a few thunderstorms around, especially in the Mid-Atlantic. Otherwise, most locations should be dry. It’s going to be super hot in the middle of the country. Many locations will experience high temperatures of 15 to 25 degrees above normal, translating to highs in the 90s and into the 100s down toward the Southern Plains. Over a dozen locations are expected to break their daily record high temperature. The Northeast will also be toasty with most locations topping off into the mid to upper 80s. A few locations may even get into the low 90s along with the increase in humidity. In the eastern Southwest, temperatures will be up to 15 degrees above average while the desert Southwest is experiencing temperatures up to 30 degrees below average due to the upper-level low. It definitely won’t be cold despite this cool down. Temperatures will still be in the 70s, 80s, and 90s.
On the other hand, the Southeast is going to be experiencing very ugly weather this weekend. Saturday will actually be the driest day relatively-speaking. A tropical storm over the central Gulf of Mexico will still be far enough offshore, so scattered showers and thunderstorm will be the story across most of the Southeast. Some of these storms will be slow-moving, so they do pose the risk for flooding. The best chance for a steady rain — if any — will be in Florida.
Scattered thunderstorms will also be possible in parts of the Great Lakes region, Ohio River Valley, and Mid-Atlantic as well as in the interior Northwest. A few severe storms will be possible in Montana.
The nice weather will persist into Sunday across much of the western two-thirds of the nation. Most areas west of the Mississippi River will be dry, although a few showers and thunderstorms will be possible across the interior Northwest, some of which may bring severe weather. There may also be a spotty storm or two in the western Southern Plains. Otherwise, it will be bright and dry. Most of the Plains and Midwest can expect high temperatures to remain 15 to 25 degrees above average, which means a continuation of the temperatures in the 90s and 100s. Numerous record highs will be in jeopardy once again.
Meanwhile in the Eastern third of the country, it will be stormy. The tropical entity over the Gulf of Mexico will continue to slowly progress toward the coast, bringing rounds of heavy rain to the Gulf Coast from southeastern Louisiana through South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Meanwhile to the north, much of the Tennessee and Ohio River Valleys should be dry with just a few spotty thunderstorms expected. The same applies to the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, although the rain will be a bit more widespread. It will not be a washout, however. The increase cloud cover will put a limit on temperatures, bringing them up to 10 degrees below average in New England and the Southeast. The rest of the East will stay warm with temperatures as much as 10 degrees above normal.
There will also be a backdoor cold front moving through northern New England and the interior Northeast. According to our Chief Meteorologist Joshua Feldman, “the backdoor cold front may enhance severe weather with mutual sources of lift further east in New York if it approaches in the afternoon. If it approaches in the morning, that would dampen the threat, leaving lingering clouds and reducing instability. The timing of both cold fronts are still up in the air.”
On Memorial Day there isn’t really much change to the forecast. We’ll see a decrease in storminess across the Northeast. A few showers and thunderstorms will remain possible, mainly across the interior Northeast down into the central Appalachian Mountains. Low clouds will dominate the day across New England and New York while clouds clear to sunshine across the remainder of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.
Back toward the Northwest, more storms will develop in the afternoon, some of which will be heavy. This area will not be experiencing a washout either. Instead, the activity will hit or miss. Some towns will get the rain while others stay dry. Then into the evening and especially overnight, a new storm system will bring heavy thunderstorms, which may be severe, across much of the Northern Plains.
We’ll continue to be tracking Alberto over the Gulf of Mexico. This will bring flooding rains to parts of the Southeast. Monday will be the wettest day out of the three-day holiday weekend. Widespread showers and thunderstorms are forecast while a steadier, heavy rain affects locations from New Orleans through Tallahassee. This is the area we’re most concerned about for flooding.
To contrast this stormy weather, the West Coast, Southwest, Midwest, and much of the Plains will be in for another dry and sunny day. Temperatures will warm up across the West with the exception of portions of the interior where it will be just a touch off from average at about 5 degrees below normal. Most of the West can expect highs 5 to 10 degrees above average with a very locations getting up to 20 degrees above normal. The Central US will be even hotter, getting up to 30 degrees above average. More records will bring as highs rise into the 90s for most locations. The desert Southwest through parts of the Southern Plains will be in the 100s.
We hope you have a great and safe Memorial Day Weekend. We’ll keep you updated here if any changes to the forecast warrant.