As snow moves out of the Northern Plains today, heavy rain and thunderstorms push into the Midwest and Northeast, lasting well into Saturday. As skies clear to the north, the Southeast will likely experience a severe weather outbreak Saturday and Sunday as hail, straight-line winds, and tornadoes all pose significant threats.

Welcome to the Friday edition of your Morning Briefing, where we’ll give you a quick rundown on everything you need to know weather-wise, every weekday morning. Let’s begin.

Heavy Snow Finally Lightens Up This Morning:

  1. Blizzard warnings will remain in effect through this evening over much of the region, but snow will begin to taper off as early as this morning. Despite snow moving out of the area, we can expect to see power outages and poor road conditions persist throughout the day as the last few inches of snow fall.
  2. Over 2 ft of snow has already fallen over parts of the Northern Plains since the storm’s beginning late Wednesday night. Snow will begin to taper off today from west to east. Winds will also die down, relieving many areas of blowing snow and blizzard conditions by the late afternoon/early evening.
  3. By tonight, it is still expected that the highest accumulations will stay centered over South Dakota, where there’s still more to go. As this system continues eastward, snow will transition to rain and it’s low pressure center will move northeast into Canada this weekend.

Rain to Move East; Soaking the Coast Through Saturday:

  1. As our record-breaking cyclone moves into Canada this weekend, its cold front will drape down to the south, swinging across the East Coast of the US. With much warmer temperature profiles, we can expect all rain up and down the coast as we prepare for a wet start to the weekend.
  2. Rain will move into the Great Lakes this afternoon before spreading eastward and reaching the coast early Saturday morning. Moist Gulf air will be lifted by the incoming cold front, causing moderate to heavy rain closer to the coast.
  3. The Mid-Atlantic can expect some of the heaviest rain, along with some pop-up thunderstorms throughout this afternoon and Saturday. There is a marginal chance for thunderstorms becoming severe, especially over Western PA and Northern WV.
  4. Rain will continue into Saturday night before finally moving offshore Sunday morning. Respite from rain will be short though, as the next rainy system will be right on it’s heels.

Severe Weather Outbreak Likely For Southeast:

  1. As a new round of energy aloft moves west to east over the Southern US this weekend, a developing surface low will drag its warm and cold fronts across the Southeast. This cold frontal passage over the warm, moist air mass ahead of it will provide enough lift for a possible severe weather outbreak this weekend.
  2. Moderate buoyancy, backing low-level winds, and deep shear will be the ingredients needed for a significant risk of severe weather, especially tornadoes and straight-line winds. Hail is also likely, but weaker updrafts in each storm will mean large hail is less likely.
  3. The greatest risk for these storms to develop will be at the peak of daytime heating, about 2-3 PM. During this time, air will be warmed enough to “pop” inversions, letting convection take air up high into the atmosphere. This risk will then continue into the evening, well after the sun has set.
  4. There is a chance for some significant tornadoes Saturday afternoon and evening. It is very important to heed local warnings and advisories, and be sure to take necessary precautions for any severe weather event.

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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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