We’re keeping tabs on a blizzard that has brought unusually heavy snow for this time of the year to the Midwest, which is now on track to impact the Great Lakes and parts of the Northeast through midweek. We’ll also discuss the relief from the wildfires in California and more in this week’s 5 Things to Watch.
Several cities in the Midwest received a top 5 snowfall total this past Sunday as a blizzard roared through the area, leaving numerous drivers stranded on the roads, knocking out power to thousands, and leading to hundreds of flight delays and cancellations. The storm has since moved to the north and east and will impact parts of the Great Lakes and Northeast through midweek.
Despite blizzard conditions not being expected across these areas, there will still be heavy snow. Upwards of a foot will be possible across interior sections of the Northeast as the snow falls for a rather long duration at a moderate to heavy clip, allowing for accumulations to pile up quickly. This Monday, snow will be found anywhere from the lower Great Lakes and the Ohio River Valley to the higher elevations of the Northeast while rain triggers flood alerts across the megalopolis. As that rain clears out of the I-95 corridor on Tuesday, there will still be leftover moisture mixed with the cold air across the interior, keeping the snow around especially in Maine. Back toward the eastern Great Lakes, this snow will actually transition from a synoptic scale to mesoscale in the form of lake-effect snow, which may persist all the way through Thursday until a new storm system arrives for the weekend.
There are still a couple wildfires burning in California, but the firefighters have achieved a much better containment of these fires. That includes the Camp Fire in Northern California. This specific fire has gone down as the most destructive and deadly in state history, but thankfully recent rainfall has allowed for containment to reach nearly 100 percent. Additional rainfall in the coming weeks will hopefully help prevent additional wildfires from sparking in the West.
A powerful cold front is pushing through the Southeast, and this one will even sweep through South Florida, which is not as common. Beginning to move across northern parts of the state, it will reach the Keys by late-day Tuesday. Widespread dew points ranging from the 20s to the 40s are expected, indicating very dry air. With this dry air in place, temperatures will drop to well below average levels, with low temperatures Wednesday morning in the 30s, 40s, and 50s in the mainland. They will only peak into 50s and 60s during the afternoon, which may break daily record cold high temperatures in several cities. By the weekend, however, warmer and more humid air will return as summer tries to take control.
As the arrival of winter comes closer, signs of the season are already on display in the West as the weather pattern becomes much more winter-like. The summer across the West tends to be warm and dry while the winter is temperate and wet. That looks to be the case for at least these next few weeks as numerous storm systems track right into the coast, bringing rain to many of the lower elevations while heavy snow falls in the mountains regions. As mentioned before, this will help prevent additional wildfires from starting, but it will also help start the snow pack, which is important for the water supply in the summer.
Much of the eastern US can expect below average temperatures for the work week. This comes as several troughs of low pressure dominate the mid-level weather pattern, allowing for cool air to ooze in from the north. Widespread temperatures ranging from 5 to as much as 30 degrees below normal will be the story, making for high temperatures generally in the 30s, 40s, and 50s. At least warmer weather will return just in time for the weekend.