The next three days are three of the busiest travel days in the US every year. Before the week’s end, the Northeast will experience a deep freeze, with temperatures 10-25 degrees below normal. Along with this shot of cold air comes lake effect snow for the next day or two over Upstate NY and parts of VT. On the West coast, heavy rain will hopefully bring some relief from the Camp Fires and hazardous air quality.

Welcome to this week’s Wednesday edition of your Morning Briefing. Let’s begin.

Sub-freezing Thanksgiving Temps for the Northeast:

  1. A cold front will pass over the Northeast tonight and tomorrow, bringing with it sub-freezing temperatures of 10-25 degrees below average for this time of year.
  2. Even during the day, temperatures will struggle to get above freezing, likely prompting freeze and frost advisories later this evening for most of the region.
  3. Low temperatures will be in the single digits tonight and Thanksgiving night further north in VT, NH, and ME. Southern New England and Central NY and PA can expect lows in the teens, with highs barely making it out of the 20s.
  4. Some snow can be expected with this cold frontal passage today. Snow will be generally light and concentrated far north in VT and NH.

As a low pressure system moves across southern Quebec today, its associated cold front currently drapes from the Great Lakes all the way to the mid-Mississippi Valley. This is a strong, arctic cold front, opening up flow into the Northeast right from Canada. After it moves off the east coast Thursday night, temperatures will struggle to get above freezing. Further north, low temperatures are expected to hang out in the single digits. With this cold frontal passage, some snow can also be expected for areas further north, such as northern NY, northern and central VT, and NH. High wind gusts of 30+ mph will bring wind chill values for these areas of up to -10 degrees Thanksgiving day. Further south near NYC and NJ, low temperatures will remain in the teens for the next two nights, likely begging for a frost advisory as evening settles in. Temperatures will warm slightly as the week comes to an end, with Friday night lows being much more seasonable.

Lake Effect Snow for Upstate NY Today:

  1. Lake effect snow can be expected with incoming cold air like we’ll see today and Thursday.
  2. Most snow will be associated with the low pressure system’s cold front, but places like Buffalo and Rochester will see additional light snow into tomorrow morning.
  3. Snow accumulations will likely be less than an inch in most areas. Places further north may get more, due to snow associated with the arctic cold front.

With cold air generally comes lake effect snow. Snow has already been associated with this passing low pressure system, but it’s mostly concentrated along the cold front. What will add additional snow for places like Buffalo will be the several rounds of lighter lake effect snow. Total accumulation should be less than an inch by the end of the day. Tomorrow, there’s a slight chance for a white Thanksgiving as light snow showers are also possible in the morning. By noon, skies should be clear, but temperatures will still be below freezing, likely barely rising into the 20s.

Heavy, Possibly Excessive Rain for California:

  1. Rain developing along the coast and making its way eastward tonight into tomorrow will provide some much-needed relief for many.
  2. Rain will help extinguish the devastating fires that have plagues Northern CA for 2 weeks now. There is also a small chance for excessive rain, however. This would be dangerous as well, as flooding would cause murky, debris-filled waters to rush into homes.
  3. Rain will also help clean the air just in time for Thanksgiving. Smoke from the fires has put ash and soot in the air, prompting an air quality alert for the last week. Even light rain will thankfully help flush this out.

An upper level trough will make its way over the west coast tonight, relieving CA of its oppressive hot and dry weather. By tonight, rain will develop along the coast, hopefully helping to extinguish some of the devastating Camp Fire that has killed nearly 100 people so far. Rain may become heavy at times, which could cause more problems for people in the area. Any flooding would mean murky, debris-filled water rushing. Homes and buildings destroyed in the fires would be easily damaged further, with entire pieces of the structure likely falling off and following flow. Still, many people in the area believe this is a small price to pay for helping to extinguish the most damaging and deadly fire CA has seen on record. Rain, even light, will also help clean the air of soot, smoke, and other pollutants from the fires.

Make sure to subscribe to The Morning Briefing on the right-hand side of this article so we can send the Wednesday and Friday editions straight to your inbox.

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 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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