Showers and thunderstorms remain in the Southwest today, with a slight risk for severe weather. Meanwhile, snow can be expected in the Central Plains tonight into tomorrow. The same polar air out west is quickly making its way to the Northeast, causing a significant chill and bouts of lake effect rain and snow until the end of the week.

This is the Wednesday edition of your Morning Briefing. Let’s begin.

Showers and Storms in Southwest Today:

  1. A weak surface low pressure center currently sits over eastern Central TX, and will make its way eastward across the Gulf coast, bringing a cold front with it.
  2. Ahead and along this cold front, showers and storms will develop, with showers expected further ahead in the warm center. Surface thunderstorms expected closer along and just ahead of the frontal boundary.
  3. There is a marginal risk over the Gulf coast for these storms to develop severe weather. In these severe storms, damaging winds and small hail could be hazards.

As fog over the Gulf coast dissipates in the morning sun, more unsettled weather will move in to add to yesterday’s rain. The longwave trough aloft that currently spans the length of the country is the culprit behind most of the rain and cooling we’ll see by the end of the week. Within this feature will be several low pressure centers at the surface. One of these is a weak low that’s currently over eastern central TX. As with most surface cyclones, it has developed a cold front that currently extends from its center out further west. As the low pressure center follows flow eastward, the cold front will trail behind it, sweeping across the southeast Gulf coast states. As it moves across, it will be the cause of showers and thunderstorms along and out ahead of its leading edge. Much of the TX/LA/MS region is also under marginal risk of these storms producing severe weather. Some of these storms are expected to be gusty, however, winds in stronger storms can be damaging and dangerous. Hail could also be produced if enough destabilization occurs before frontal passage.

Snow and Winter Weather Advisories for Central Plains Tonight and Thursday:

  1. A fast-moving trough will pass over the Central Plains tonight into Thursday, while its associated cold front lifts air and provides ingredients for precip.
  2. Precip will be mostly rain tonight, but as this system passes, colder air will move in and precip is expected to switch to snow by early Thursday, remaining snowy until the weather settles.
  3. Accumulations of 2-4 inches can be expected for parts of CO, KS, and NE by the end of the day tomorrow. A winter weather advisory is expected to remain in effect until then.

With the polar jet set to hover just above the 40th parallel until the end of the week, areas of divergence at the jet entrance and exit will be the cause of rising motion. This rising motion is what will influence precip to move over the Central Plains tonight and tomorrow. Rain will move into the area tonight. As a quick-moving trough passes, it will usher in colder air overnight, switching most of the precip for Thursday to snow. There is expected to be accumulations of 2-4 inches of snow for CO, KS, and NE late tonight into Thursday. A winter weather advisory is in effect over these areas until tomorrow due to snowy conditions. Despite light to moderate snowfall, wind is not expected to be particularly high, lowering dangerous driving conditions. After the snow has passed, below-freezing temperatures are expected to remain, hovering near or below 30 until the weekend.

Chilly Temps and Light Bouts of Lake Effect Rain and Snow for Northeast:

  1. Cold air from Canada has a direct route right into the Northeast as flow remains essentially locked into place until the end of the week. This cold air will lower temperatures 5-10 degrees, causing dips below freezing overnight.
  2. Cool shots moving over the Great Lakes are expected to cause light bouts of lake effect precip. Mostly rain is expected, but a switch to snow is possible, especially over Lake Ontario.
  3. Another significant chill will move into the area Friday, increasing chances for lake effect snow as the cool air moves over.

As we mentioned before, the large-scale features over the country will be the main driver behind the weather this week. Flow across the US will cause cold, polar air to make its way into the Northeast until the end of the week. Each surface low brings a bout of cooling with it, and we saw several of these in the beginning of the week. While temperatures will mostly remain above freezing, lows at night can reach down into the lower 30s and upper 20s. Parts of upstate NY, PA, and New England could see frost tomorrow or Friday morning. For the most part, temperatures will remain in the low to mid 40s across the region. Cold air coming in from Canada off the Great Lakes have a fair chance of creating small bouts of light lake effect precip this afternoon into tomorrow. Rain could become light snow if temperatures become cool enough, especially for upstate NY over Lake Ontario and Erie. Another shot of cold air coming Friday will increase the chances of lake effect precip, with even more snow likely as temperatures continue to cool off.

Make sure to subscribe to The Morning Briefing on the right-hand side of this article so we can send the Wednesday and Friday editions straight to your inbox.

If you haven’t yet, make sure you check out our Winter Weather Forecast for 2018-2019Also remember to lookout for The Sunday Storm this upcoming Sunday evening as well as Five Things to Watch This Week on 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.

Comments are closed.