A new storm that has been gradually developing near the Gulf Coast has already begun to impact the region and surrounding areas with heavy rain and even some wintry precipitation. By the weekend, we’ll watch the low pressure track toward the East Coast while strengthening, however little to no snow is expected.
With a stationary front draped across the southern Plains and Southeast, that will allow for recurring rounds of precipitation to track across the region. The first disturbance currently affecting the area will continue to bring rain, some of which will be heavy, through Thursday to most of the Gulf Coast states, Southeast, Tennessee River Valley, and the southern Appalachian Mountains. The best chance for any heavy rain as well as the most persistent rain will be from eastern Texas through much of Mississippi, where rainfall rates may exceed 1 inch per hour at times. This rainfall intensity combined with saturated soil may lead to localized flash flooding.
Meanwhile across parts of the southern Plains, there will be a wintry aspect to this disturbance. As moist air drawn in from the Gulf of Mexico combines with cold air flowing in from the northern Plains, that will lead to snow and freezing rain. This evening and into tonight, activity will be more scattered in nature as our first of two disturbances affects the region. Generally light to moderate freezing rain at times can be expected central Texas and Oklahoma. By sunrise the next storm system will take over.
This next system will feature a well-developed low pressure, making for a more organized area of precipitation. By sunrise, a widespread area of snow will break out in the western Red River Valley, affecting cities like Wichita Falls, TX. Snow will be heavy in some areas, so travel is not advised as the snow may accumulate quickly, especially if it’s on top of the freezing rain from Wednesday/Wednesday night. As the day progresses Thursday, the snow will gradually push to the north and east, allowing for north-central Texas to dry out by the late-afternoon. Now in central Oklahoma, the wintry weather will last all day. An all-snow event can be expected in the Wichita Falls area while in Oklahoma City the temperature will be right around the freezing mark. This may lead to rapidly-changing conditions with snow, freezing rain, and rain all possible. Because of this potentially dangerous and somewhat unpredictable weather, travel is not advised Thursday into Thursday night. At least this winter storm will begin to wind down overnight Thursday as the moisture tracks eastward. By the time you wake up Friday, the entire southern Plains will be dry.
In terms of the rain on Thursday, there will be another round of heavy rain and possibly thunderstorms that will affect much of Louisiana and Mississippi through the day while showers and a lighter rain impacts the southeastern Plains, Gulf Coast states, and Southeast. In a state like Alabama, Georgia, and the Carolinas, expect generally dry conditions. Then overnight, the heavy rain will track into the Mid-Mississippi River Valley, Alabama, and Georgia. Again, flash flooding will be possible given the very damp ground already in place.
Friday morning, there could be a rather nasty line of heavy rain and thunderstorms moving east across Georgia, the Florida Peninsula, and the western Carolinas before it gradually weakens during the afternoon as it reaches the Southeast coast. Elsewhere on Friday, showers will remain in place across the Tennessee River Valley while also moving into the southern Mid-Atlantic. A city like Washington, DC may experience the rain beginning around Friday evening.
Friday night, the low pressure will strengthen as it reaches the Mid-Atlantic coast. Now typically in the middle of winter, when we watch a storm move off the East Coast, we need to monitor for the risk for snow in the Northeast. In this particular setup, however, cold air will be limited, making for a rain event for most — if not all — people. Therefore, rain, and sometime heavy rain, is in the forecast for Friday night across the Mid-Atlantic and into southern New England. At the highest of peaks in the southern Appalachian Mountains, a period of light snow cannot be ruled out.
By Saturday, the Mid-Atlantic coast and southern and central New England will be in the midst of the rain impacts from this storm. There may also be an area of snow and/or freezing rain in parts of the mountains in central New England before all of the precipitation exits the Northeast Saturday night. Behind this storm across not only the Northeast but in the South as well winds will gust up to 20-40+ mph, so isolated power outages will be possible.
Through this weekend, a widespread 1-2 inches can be expected from eastern Texas through the Southeast, with a pocket of 2-4+ inches from parts of southeastern Texas through northern Georgia. In the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic, totals will generally be less than 1 inch. In terms of the snow and freezing rain, ice accretion will be less than 0.10 inches in most areas while snow may add up to around half a foot in the Wichita Falls area.