A developing storm system is expected to bring heavy lake effect snow to the Great Lakes and possible flooding to other parts of the Northeast tonight into Saturday. Meanwhile, the Central Plains is seeing the coldest temperatures so far of the season. This cold will soon spread, possibly causing more snow for the Northeast early next week.

Welcome to this week’s Friday edition of your Morning Briefing. Let’s get started.

Heavy Lake Effect Snow for Great Lakes Today into Tomorrow:

  1. For the most part today, precip will be light and mostly rain. Some mixed precip in Upstate NY can be expected, but likely won’t turn to snow until later tonight. Any snow accumulations today are expected to be light, with only 1-2 inches.
  2. As the cold front with this storm passes early tomorrow, lake effect snow will cause some moderate to heavy bands over the region. Snowfall totals are expected to be 3-5 inches under these bands, and 10+ inches over higher elevations. These bands are expected to be relatively narrow, but within them, snowfall rates could be over an inch an hour.
  3. Winds tomorrow will be strong, with gusts of 45-50 mph possible. Combined with moderate to heavy snowfall, this will create hazardous travel conditions. A winter weather advisory is in place for many counties until tomorrow.

A strengthening low pressure center currently sits over WV today, and will be the cause of an unsettled weekend for the Northeast. Precipitation with this storm already extends north to Lakes Erie and Michigan. While most of this is rain, light bouts of snow are expected to begin in MI later this morning. This will only yield 1-2 inches by the afternoon, and isn’t the main snow concern. The trouble with this storm will be the heavy lake effect snow across the entire Great Lakes region tonight into tomorrow. The first round of precip, still in the warm sector of the storm associated with the warm front, will be rain or rain/snow mix for most of the eastern Great Lakes. Continuous cooling at low levels is what will transition this precip over to all snow, but still only light to moderate amounts. Early tomorrow morning, the cold front will pass through as the low pressure center moves north over the Great Lakes. The dry intrusion will provide a brief break from precip, but cold air flowing over the Lakes will be the cause of moderate to heavy snow across the region. Snow totals are expected to be 3-5 inches around Buffalo and other areas right off the lakes. 10+ inches will be expected over higher elevations like the Catskills and Adirondacks. Strong wind gusts of 45-50 mph will cause potentially hazardous conditions tomorrow as well. A winter weather advisory is in effect for many areas, and will remain until mid to late day tomorrow.

Read more a more in-depth analysis of this incoming storm here.

Possible Flood Threat for the Rest of the Northeast Today into Tomorrow:

  1. Precip closer to the coast will be completely rain, even as far north as ME. Rain for the tri-state area is expected to begin this afternoon, be heaviest tonight, and taper off quickly tomorrow morning.
  2. Rainfall totals with this storm’s passage are expected to be 1-2 inches, with locally higher amounts possible.
  3. Flash flood watches remain in effect from northern NJ to southern ME today, despite relatively moderate expected totals. The risk of flooding tonight comes with heavy expected rainfall rates, as well as fallen leaves covering/clogging storm drains.

The same system that will bring first snow to many areas will also be the culprit behind light to moderate rain for the rest of the region. Rainfall is expected to begin for the tri-state area late this afternoon, continuing overnight into tomorrow. Rainfall totals will remain at 1-2 inches, with locally higher amounts possible. A flash flood watch currently extends from northern NJ to the southern tip of ME. A concern for flooding with this storm is how heavy the rainfall will be this evening, not necessarily the totals. Combined with covered/clogged storm drains from fallen leaves, some minor road flooding can be expected. Rain will quickly taper off tomorrow morning, leaving a dry rest of the weekend.

Read more a more in-depth analysis of this incoming storm here.

Frosty Weather to Remain in Central Plains and Spread to Northeast, Increasing Snow Possibility Next Week:

  1. Temperatures for the Central Plains are unseasonably cold today and into the weekend, with highs and lows 20+ degrees below average in many areas.
  2. Freeze and frost warnings and watches are in place from TX to TN as temperatures are expected dip well below freezing overnight, only rising back up into the 40s during the day.
  3. This intense cold will creep into the Northeast later this weekend, with temperatures dipping just below freezing as early as Saturday night after the passage of this storm’s cold front.
  4. These freezing temperatures could affect the possibility for snow in the expected storm early next week, but more information is to come later this weekend.

Freeze watches and warnings are in effect from TX to the Tennessee River Valley as the coldest temperatures seen yet this season settle into the Southern Central Plains. Highs and lows for tomorrow in areas like OK and TN are 20 degrees below their average for this time of year. Low temperatures will struggle to stay in the 30s, and even 20s, for some areas overnight. This freeze is due to flow into the region straight from Canada along a digging and deepening shortwave trough aloft. The passage of this incoming storm for the Northeast will mark the entrance of the same cold air into the region as well. The cold front associated with this low pressure will usher in much colder temperatures, unseasonably so for this time of year. Highs during the day will remain in the 40s, while lows at night will dip just below freezing. It is due to this intense freeze entering the Northeast that there is concern for snow with the next storm system, expected early next week. We will know more as we head into the weekend and guidance begins to converge concerning the storm and potential snowfall for early next week. We will update you as we know more.

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Also remember to lookout for The Sunday Storm this upcoming Sunday evening as well as Five Things to Watch This Week next Monday.


Kathleen is a Meteorologist at WeatherOptics, where she works writing content for the website, providing accurate and detailed forecasts to clients, and consulting on various meteorological projects. Kathleen earned her B.S. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences in 2018 from Stony Brook University. Kathleen has also done research into our changing climate by investigating theRole of Atmospheric Rivers on Arctic Amplification in 2017.

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