Changes are coming for parts of the nation as we watch multiple storm systems track across the US, bringing snow to some while rain affects others, a common occurrence for much of the East so far this winter season. This comes as we keep eyes on what will likely be a significant pattern change later this month. We’ll discuss all of this in this week’s 5 Things to Watch.

Northern Tier Heavy Snow:

A clipper system will track across the Northern Tier early-week, bringing a round of snow from the Upper Midwest through northern New England. Originally, this storm showed signs of bringing snow to major cities like New York and Boston, but since then those chances have dwindled to near-zero.

On Monday, snow will affect northern Minnesota, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and northern Lower Michigan. Even some snow showers could sneak into the lakefronts of New York. By Tuesday, we’ll see a second round of energy eject out from the west, bringing moderate to heavy wind-driven snow into much of New England, parts of Upstate New York, and Pennsylvania. Energy will transfer to the coast and allow this system to briefly explode, throwing even more snow back towards northern New England. Higher elevations should expect to see a foot or more of snowfall, while surrounding lower elevation regions can still see anywhere from 4-8 inches of wet snowfall. Now while a brief round of light snow may kick-off precipitation with the first round across southern New England, it won’t last long and shouldn’t accumulate very much. Instead, we can expect cold rainy weather across the southern tier of the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, with the exception of the highest elevations which should turn over to snow Wednesday and Thursday as our system exits.

Western Mountain Snow:

Despite rounds of storms expected to slam into the West Coast this week, most of that precipitation will stay limited to the coast today. The storm will continue to affect the West throughout the start of the week though, bringing heavy snow to all of the mountain ranges between now and Tuesday night. Multiple feet of snow will pile up in some areas, especially in the Sierra Nevada, adding water to the much-needed water supply for the upcoming summer while pleasing skiers.

Cold Spell:

A cold spell will settle into the East by mid-week as troughing at the jet stream level becomes dominant. This dip in the jet stream will allow for cooler air to spill in from Canada, lowering temperatures to levels of generally 5 to 15 degrees below average. Once it begins Thursday, the next chance for any warmer than average air may not return until about a week later, so get ready for highs in the teens, 20s, and 30s for many cities.

Sunnier Southeast:

It’s been a rainy past few weeks in the Southeast. In a city like Atlanta, they have had 6 consecutive wet weeks now, which began back in November 2018. In fact, dozens of cities in the region have recorded a top 10 wet year during this most recent year.

Mother Nature will finally give the Southeast a break from the rain as high pressure generally takes control during the work week, leading to mostly dry and sunny conditions while temperatures cool down late-week until a new storm takes shape this upcoming weekend.

Pattern Change:

All signs are pointing to a large scale pattern change beginning in mid-January, favoring cold and snow risks across the eastern US. Our Chief Meteorologist Joshua Feldman discussed this in-depth in this week’s Sunday Storm:

The Polar Vortex breakdown will provide long-term cold for the Eastern US, cold which could last from the end of January through most of February, possibly through early March. The continuous activity of the Pacific jet will mean that unsettled weather will likely continue on the West Coast and the Eastern US, but matched with perpetual cold air, there will be greater chances for snow all the way to the coastal Northeast.


Jackson is Head of Content and Social Media at WeatherOptics. He is currently a student at the University of Miami, studying Meteorology and Broadcast Journalism. Dill produces forecast articles for the website and helps to manage the content schedule. He has also led the growth of WeatherOptics’ social media accounts, working to keep them aligned with the company’s evolving vision.

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