Cold and warm temperatures continue to battle across the country, with cold air over the western half and hot air over the eastern half. This thermal battle provides just the right ingredients for severe weather over parts of the Central and Southern Plains this afternoon, and for the next few days as well. On top of all of this, we remain on the lookout for a possible tropical development late this weekend or early next week.

Welcome to the Friday Edition of your Morning Briefing. Let’s get started.

Fall to the West, Summer to the East:

  1. Unseasonably hot temperatures are expected throughout the eastern half of the country, while unseasonably cold temperatures are expected throughout the western half.
  2. Across the west, temperatures will be 10-20 degrees below average for this time of year, with this anomaly reaching as far as northern TX at points throughout this weekend. Over parts of the Upper Plains, we can expect to see temperatures below freezing at night, being 20-30 degrees below average.
  3. Across the east, temperatures will be 5-20 degrees above average, with oppressive heat remaining in the Deep South until late next week.
  4. This pattern is expected to remain throughout the weekend and into next week until we see significant changes in the jet pattern over the US.

Seasons are colliding and their battlefield is our country. To find out why we have these clashing temperatures, we must look at the upper atmosphere. With the jet pattern essentially locked in place, this clashing pattern is not expected to change much in the near future. Only amplified since earlier in the week, flow that could have gone zonal across the US instead has been deepening. The high pressure ridge that has dominated high over the southeastern US will not be moving anytime soon. In fact, this high pressure is actually expected to reach further north and strengthen throughout the weekend and into early next week. With this high pressure aloft comes unseasonably warm temperatures across the eastern half of the country. Many areas, especially the Southeast, will remain in oppressive heat well into next week. On the other side of the country, frost advisories and winter weather warnings are in effect for parts of the Upper Plains as temperatures stay more than 15 degrees below average. Bringing these cold temperatures is a shortwave trough, currently located just over the Rockies. By the end of this weekend, this trough is expected to deepen greatly, with a thermal pattern to match. Unseasonably cold temperatures, 10+ degrees below average, are expected to reach as far south as northern TX at some points over the weekend. This pattern is expected to remain over the weekend and for the better part of next week. We might see some changes later next week as the jet pattern finally changes it up, but only time will tell.


Severe Threat Throughout the Weekend Across the Plains:

  • Severe thunderstorms across portions of the Central and Southern Plains are possible today, starting this afternoon. A marginal risk for severe storms also reaches from TX/NM to the southern Great Lakes region.
  • Damaging wind gusts and hail is the main concern with these storms. Tornadoes are possible in strong cells, however surface conditions greatly limit tornado potential.
  • This severe weather threat is expected to last until early next week, as the thermal pattern over the US continues with clashing temperatures.

Due to this thermal clashing, a slight risk of severe thunderstorms has been issued for the Central and Southern Plains today and into the weekend. The risk for severe weather today reaches from western parts of TX all the way up and eastward to the southern Great Lakes. The deepening shortwave trough over the western half of the country will provide lift for thunderstorms to develop across the Central and Southern Plains. Plumes of higher CAPE and shear across OK and KS will add this increased slight risk of severe thunderstorms. The main concern with these storms is the ability to produce hail and damaging wind gusts. Moderate risk for severe storms will remain in effect across much of the Plains into this weekend. As long as we continue to have these clashing temperatures, severe weather is sure to follow.

Tropical Development Possible Next Week:

  1. A cluster of showers and thunderstorms in the Caribbean Sea have the potential to organize into a tropical depression within the next 5 days.
  2. Within 2 days, this potential for tropical formation is 30%, however potential for tropical formation increases to 50% within the next 5 days.
  3. If these storms do organize, heavy tropical rains and winds could be brought to Southern Florida. Regardless of formation, heavy downpours will be seen in parts of Central America and the Yucatan peninsula as this system moves northwestward over the next few days.

A cluster of storms, currently located over the east coasts of Honduras and Nicaragua, continues to become more concentrated as it moves northwestward towards the Yucatan peninsula. Although the 2-day outlook on this cluster of storms has a marginal 30% chance of organizing, the 5-day outlook shows a 60% chance. This has doubled over the last two days, making it an area of interest. Sea surface temperatures are at their highest this time of year, especially in the Tropics. While strong wind shear is expected to keep tropical development at bay for the next day or two, conditions in the upper atmosphere are expected to become much more favorable within the coming week. A tropical depression is possible late this weekend or early next week. If organization does occur, eyes will turn to Florida, as research has shown that South Florida is hit by more hurricanes during the month of October than any other month. Although there is no cause for alarm yet, it is certainly an area of interest that we must keep an eye on. Whether or not tropical development occurs, these storms are still expected to bring heavy downpours to parts of Central America within the coming days.

Read more about this possible tropical development here.


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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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