Lake-effect snow will dominate the Great Lakes into this coming weekend while the Polar Vortex continues to bring very dangerous cold to the Northern Tier, especially in the Midwest. We’ll also be keeping tabs on the next storm system to impact the West.

This is the Thursday edition of your Morning Briefing, where we’ll give you a quick rundown on everything you need to know weather-wise, every weekday morning.

Heavy, Lake-Effect Snow:

  1. An Arctic front that swept across the Northeast Wednesday brought in a very cold air mass. With a wind direction coming from the west or northwest, that will fuel lake-effect snow from the Great Lakes.
  2. All five Great Lakes are expected to produce snow, with the heaviest of snow taking place this Thursday.
  3. Snowfall totals will vary depending on the exact location of these snow bands. Some towns may receive over 1 foot of snow while a widespread 1-3 inches falls near the lakes.

Polar Vortex Brings Dangerous Cold:

  1. Undulations in the jet stream are allowing for a lobe of the Polar Vortex, an area of very cold air normally over the North Pole, to migrate so far south and into parts of the US.
  2. We’ll begin to see temperatures “warm up” across the Midwest Thursday. Highs for a large area of the region will range from -5 degrees to the 30s, but wind chills will still be brutal. The persistent winds will keep the feels-like temperature below 0 for most.
  3. In the Northeast, the worst of the cold will arrive as temperatures only get up to single-digits and teens for highs, with wind chills around 0 on Thursday.
  4. Overnight Thursday into Friday, temperatures will drop down to the single-digits and sub-zero from the upper Midwest through the interior Northeast before temperatures gradually rise into the weekend as the Polar Vortex pulls away and returns back to home in the Arctic Circle.

New West Coast Storm:

  1. A disturbance ahead of this weekend’s storm will bring an area of light to moderate rain to Southern and central California this Thursday, with limited mountain snow in the southern Sierra Nevada mountain range.
  2. The main event will take place this weekend as low pressure tracks into the coast, bringing rain, snow, and winds to most of the West.
  3. Widespread, much-needed rain is forecast to fall, especially in California where several inches will add up in various areas.
  4. Inches to feet of snowfall is expected across most of the western US mountains, with the highest of totals in the Sierra Nevada due to its relatively close proximity to the moisture from the Pacific Ocean.

Be sure to subscribe to the Morning Briefing on the right-hand side of this article so we can send you what you need to know every weekday morning straight to your inbox.


Jackson is Head of Content at WeatherOptics and produces several forecasts and manages all social media platforms. Previously, Jackson forecasted local weather for southwestern Connecticut, founding his website, Jackson's Weather, in the March of 2015. He is currently studying Meteorology and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Miami.

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