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It’s been very dry this winter is Southern California as a drought continues to impact much of the region. The winter season is supposed to be their wet season, but the wet weather has been scarce so far. A pattern change will likely allow for rain to fall as we look ahead to next week, however. The models the past several days have now been hinting at the development of a very potent, upper-level low that will position itself just off the California coast. This low will draw in tons of moisture off from the Pacific Ocean and into Southern California starting mid-next week, and will possibly continue all the way through next weekend as the upper-low drifts toward the Southwest US. Low pressure spins counter-clockwise, so that strong flow will allow for very anomalous moisture to stream into the Southwest, as shown by the European model below. This is…

A drought continues to affect much of the Southeast U.S. following a relatively dry fall and winter so far, but another round of heavy rain will help alleviate those drought conditions this weekend as inches of rain come down. A developing surface low pressure will be the main instigator for this organized rain event as warm, moist air flows north from the Gulf of Mexico. This Friday, showers and a few thunderstorms will develop and from into a line in a west to east orientation, spanning from the ArkLaTex through the Carolinas. That line of moderate to heavy rain will gradually move northward into the evening toward the Tennessee Valley before it turns into a widespread rain overnight. Meanwhile to the south, a new area of rain will begin to develop in south Texas by the evening. This area of rain will be the main culprit for the heavy rain…

We’re tracking yet another winter storm that is beginning to take shape, bringing rain, snow, sleet, and freezing rain–all four types of precipitation–this weekend. Two separate disturbances associated with the northern jet stream will combine with a surface low forming near the Gulf Coast. The result: a very messy weekend. In this article, we’re going to focus on the wintry precipitation associated with this storm. On Friday, one of the pieces of energy that will aid in the development of snow will move east from the Northwest. This energy will bring a light snow to portions of the Northern Plains and Northern Rockies. To be more specific, portions of Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, and Nebraska. Then overnight, that light snow will expand to the east, impacting parts of Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois, including Chicago once again. The snow will also continue across much of Nebraska and the southern half of…

On the heels of the snowstorm that impacted portions of the Midwest region on Tuesday, another winter storm will move through Thursday into Friday as a new wave of energy associated with an active northern jet stream arrives. The impacts will begin Thursday morning where we look towards the Northwest and Northern Plains. From Montana into western portions of the Dakotas, a light to moderate snow is expected as it overspreads into these areas. It’s not until the latter half of the day when the storm will become more organized resulting in heavier snowfall rates. During the afternoon and evening on Thursday, snow is forecast to fall from northern Montana and portions of the Dakotas through southern Minnesota, northern Iowa, and into the Chicago area, including southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Chicago and areas to the west will be in the sweet spot with this storm. The reason is that’s…

We warned you about the major winter storm that will impact millions across portions of the Midwest and Northeast Tuesday night into Wednesday, and that forecast still holds. In this article, we have a final update on what you can expect from this multi-faceted storm, which will bring snow, freezing rain, and/or rain to a large area. During the overnight hours of Tuesday, a light area of snow will move through the Great Lakes region, including the Chicago area. To the south just north of the Ohio River from central Indiana through Ohio, several hours of heavy snow is likely. Meanwhile along the Ohio River, significant icing is possible. Some locations may exceed a tenth of inch of ice as hours of freezing rain comes down. This is due to freezing air at the surface while there is a thick layer of warm air aloft. This will allow for rain…

As the drought worsens across much of the Central and Eastern US, some good news is in the forecast. Rain is finally ahead midweek to help the drought. We’re going to be tracking two pieces of energy that will come together: one from the northern stream, and one from the south. These two disturbances will aid in a widespread, moderate to potentially heavy rain across portions of the East. This storm will also be responsible for snow from the Midwest into the Northeast. Stay tuned for an article on that snowstorm. It all starts this Tuesday with showers and thunderstorms breaking out in the afternoon across portions of the Southern Plains and toward the Gulf Coast and Southeast. This area spans from eastern Texas and southeastern Oklahoma through northern Georgia and the southern Appalachian Mountains. There is even the chance for a glaze of freezing rain in southeastern Oklahoma, depending…

A quick-moving disturbance originating from the Northwest U.S. will sweep through the Northern Tier of the US this Monday, bringing a light to moderate swath of snow to a large area. This Monday, snow will move through, lasting up to ten hours in each location affected, from the interior Northwest and Northern Plains, including South Dakota and Nebraska, then through the Midwest. That includes all of Iowa into southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois, so Chicago will have to deal with snow during the evening hours. Overnight, the light to moderate snow will move through portions of the Great Lakes region and the interior Northeast as the storm weakens and the intensity tapers off. Therefore, little to no accumulation is expected in the Northeast sector. Snowfall totals will be heaviest in the Northern Plains and Midwest.  This is where some towns may receive as much as half a foot of snow.

Since the start of fall in early-September, portions of the United States began to dry up due to a lack of water. The summer was harsh for portions of the Northern Plains and Northwest while there were only patches of abnormally dry conditions in the Southern Tier. As the season of fall progressed, however, many areas in the South weren’t receiving as much rain as they would typically receive, therefore getting them into abnormally dry conditions and eventually a moderate to severe to even extreme drought. Every new week as a new drought monitor update gets released, it shows a worsening to most of the drought affecting the nation because it’s been so dry relative to average. The animation below shows the comparison in drought conditions between September 5th, 2017 and the most recent map update on January 20th, 2018. Again, the main reason for the worsening drought is the…

We’ve made it to February. The WeatherOptics team continues to track several winter storms that will affect portions of the Northern Tier this week while the South is on the warmer side with rain and thunderstorms midweek. We compiled a list of the top five weather stories we’re watching for you this week below. Midweek Winter Storm: After one winter storm on Super Bowl Sunday, another one will developing, following a fairly similar track Tuesday into Wednesday. This storm will bring snow from the Central Plains through the Ohio Valley and Great Lakes and into the Northeast. Some locations will receive over half a foot of snow on top of the half foot plus that fell during the weekend. Stay tuned for this story. Severe Storm Threat: The same storm that will bring wintry weather to the North midweek may be responsible for some severe storms across the South Plains, especially eastern Texas and Oklahoma,…

As two storms organize and bring precipitation into freezing air at the surface, that makes us concerned about the threat for freezing rain from Saturday night into Sunday. One of the ingredients that will allow for the low-level cold is this phenomenon called, cold air damming. In a typical setup of cold air damming, you have winds coming at a direction that contains a northerly vector due to high pressure either north or overhead of the Appalachian Mountains. Cold air will therefore flow southward along the eastern side of the Appalachians, and that cold air associated with this cold air damming can get as far south as northern Georgia in typical situations. So from northeastern Georgia through central Pennsylvania. Notice how all of these locations are just east of the Appalachians. Meanwhile in the Appalachians, they will receive snow. So late-Saturday night or really early Sunday morning, freezing rain is…