The main event of this weekend will be the storm system currently developing in the desert southwest. As it makes its way eastward, it will bring two main threats to the areas in its path: heavy snow with slippery freezing rain, and flooding from excessive rainfall. Luckily, the rest of the country remains quiet, but cold, with some lake-effect snow likely for MI and NY this weekend.

Welcome to the Friday edition of your Morning Briefing. Let’s dive right in.

Snow and Freezing Rain from NM to VA:

  1. Beginning late tonight/ early Saturday, snow and freezing rain will threaten a swath of the US from NM to the Southern Appalachians.
  2. The heaviest snowfall will be centered around these two regions, with up to 6″ expected near the TX panhandle, and up to 16″ expected in the Southern Appalachians. Around one tenth of an inch of ice accumulation from freezing rain can also be expected across the affected region.
  3. Slippery roads and low visibility will cause hazardous travel conditions within this storm, and travel is not advised. Some power outages are also likely, due to high wind gusts and freezing rain.

Following upward motion from the right jet entrance region, this cross-country storm is currently developing over the southern tip of TX. This storm system will move eastward across the Southern Plains and into the Southeast by Sunday. Further north from it’s center, bands of precipitation will interact with cold polar air that has been funneled into the country throughout the week. This cold air will be the cause of snow fall centered around and between two main areas: the TX panhandle/OK/NM and the southern Appalachians. Around the TX panhandle, snow is expected to begin late Friday into early Saturday, likely only dropping 3-6″, with locally higher amounts possible. The main concern in this area with this storm will likely be freezing rain, caused by a warm pool of air just above the surface. Ice accumulations are expected to be near one tenth of an inch, but locally higher amounts could mean extremely slippery conditions on roads that have already accumulated a few inches of snow.

As the storm moves eastward into Sunday, frozen precipitation will be more widespread due to colder temperatures across the East. Snow in the Southern Appalachians could reach up to 16″, with almost two feet possible locally. Freezing rain also remains a threat for this area, however snow will likely be the main mode of precip in this area. Travel in the areas affected by this system will likely be very dangerous, with icy roads and low visibility expected. Power outages are also possible, as high winds and accumulating ice can knock down power lines. This system will have moved off the coast by midday Monday, after likely ruining many people’s weekend. Warnings and advisories with this storm should be heeded and taken seriously as we head into the weekend.

Excessive Rainfall and Possible Flooding for the Gulf Coast and Southeast:

  1. SE TX is already under flood warning and flash flood watch today as precipitation likely begins this morning.
  2. Up to 6″ of rain can be expected to parts of SE TX, with locally higher amounts possible. Rainfall will be less as the storm moves eastward, but 3″ is still likely to fall along the Gulf Coast.
  3. A marginal risk for severe thunderstorms exists today and tomorrow. Severe thunderstorms could increase local rainfall totals by an inch or two.

Another threat for this storm comes for the warm sector this weekend: excessive rain chances which could lead to flooding and flash flooding. Deep layers of moisture from the Gulf will be the cause of a heavy/excessive rainfall threat for SE TX tonight into Saturday. Flash flood watches are already in effect for this area, due to expected high rainfall rates. Up to 6 inches can be expected for SE TX, with locally higher amounts possible. By Saturday evening, only a slight risk for excessive rainfall is in effect, but bands of higher precip could bring this risk to reality and cause dangerous flooding for the Gulf Coast and Southeast. Bands of thunderstorms, some possibly severe, can also increase local rainfall amounts, but up to 3″ along the Gulf coast is likely. 

Lake-Effect Snow Likely For MI and NY:

  1. Light to moderate lake-effect snow is likely for Upstate NY today. 1-3″ is expected throughout the region, with up to 6″ possible just off of Lake Erie.
  2. Moderate to heavy lake-effect snow can be expected today for NW MI. A winter weather advisory is already in affect for the area as up to 8″ can be expected just off of Lake Superior.
  3. Lake-effect snow will likely come to an end by early tomorrow, leaving the rest of the weekend dry and cold for the Northeast.

While most of the weekend will likely be dry for the Northeast, some lake-effect snow showers could keep a few inches on the ground for Upstate NY and NW MI. Every cold shot of air across the relatively warm Great Lakes gives way for the possibility of lake-effect snow showers. For NY, these showers will likely persist today and early tomorrow, only dropping 1-3″ for most of the area, with 5-6″ possible along the coast of Lake Erie. For NW MI, heavier snow is expected with 6-8″ expected off of Lake Superior. A winter weather advisory has already been issued for NW MI, and similar is possible for parts of NY along Lake Erie later today. The rest of the weekend is expected to be quiet, dry, and cold for the rest of Northeast, as well as the beginning of next week.

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Also 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.

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