As the Northeast seems to be entering a brief Spring-like period this week, the rest of the country will have no such luck. Today and tomorrow, the Southern Plains and Lower Mississippi Valley will be under the threat of more severe weather, while the Central and Northern Plains grapple with blizzard conditions and winter weather into Thursday.

Welcome to the Tuesday 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 jump right in.

Hints of Spring in the Northeast:

  1. As high pressure builds aloft, warmer temperatures and drier weather will dominate over the Northeast for the latter half of the week, giving the illusion of Spring. In stark contrast to last week’s wave of arctic air, most of the region can enjoy wearing a slightly lighter coat until Friday’s storm brings another round of chillier air in this weekend.
  2. Today, most of the region can expect sunny skies, and light breezes, allowing for a warm day and a chilly night tonight. Wednesday morning, clouds will begin to build, trapping the warm air being advected into the region, and allowing temperatures to rise to much milder temperatures.
  3. Into Friday, highs during the day will likely reach in the low to mid 50s, while lows at night will likely remain above freezing. This warming trend will come to an end with a cold frontal passage Friday evening, bringing rain that’s followed by colder winter air into the region.

Flash Flooding and Severe Weather Risk in Southern Plains:

  1. A very strong low pressure system will develop over the Rockies today, and as its cold front sweeps over unstable air in the Southern Plains, significant lift will provide prime conditions for severe thunderstorms, including a possible squall line.
  2. The greatest severe risk will be this afternoon, continuing into late tonight when damaging wind gusts, excessive rainfall, and hail are possible within developing convective storms. The area at the highest risk this evening will be Central and Western TX, as well as parts of SE AZ and OK.
  3. Moving into tomorrow, the area of risk will shift to the East, now centered around the Lower Mississippi Valley extending down into the Gulf Coast. Risk Wednesday will be lower than today, but still, the potential for isolated damaging winds and even a tornado or two will exist for most of the day.

Blizzard Conditions to Perpetuate Brutal Winter for Central and Northern Plains:

  1. Just north of the heavy rain and severe thunderstorms, colder temperatures will change precipitation to snow. Mixed with high wind gusts, blizzard conditions across much of the Central and Northern Plains are likely into Thursday.
  2. Over a foot of snow can be expected to fall this week over the region as this powerful system moves further east. Paired with wind gusts up to 55 mph will result in blizzard conditions as visibility drops near zero and roads become near impossible to drive on. Closures and power outages are possible through Thursday evening as this system moves across the region.
  3. The highest risk for dangerous blizzard conditions will be Wednesday evening into Thursday morning across parts of WY, CO, NE, and SD. Further east, snow accumulations will likely be less, but warming will cause some mixed precipitation to fall, adding an additional risk of icing over roads and walkways.
  4. Also in this part of the region, exists the risk for flooding towards the tail end of the storm. A switch to heavy rain could mean 1+” of rain, accompanied by additional water from snowmelt. This will cause a risk of flooding, and flash flooding, Thursday afternoon and evening.

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Kathleen is a writer and meteorological consultant at WeatherOptics. A recent graduate from Stony Brook University, Kathleen has earned her B.S. in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. Previously, she has done research on the role of Atmospheric Rivers on Arctic Amplification and forecasted for local pages like SBU Weather.

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