Another powerful storm system will impact end of the week holiday travel today through Friday. Winter weather over the Plains will move to the Upper Great Lakes, while an elevated risk for severe weather contained for TX. Overnight Thursday, precipitation will move to the East as freezing rain for parts of the Northeast zand rain for the Southeast. By Friday morning, it will all change over into a heavy rain.

This is the Wednesday edition of your Morning Briefing. Let’s jump right in.

Winter Weather Advisories North to South over the Plains for Today and Tomorrow:

  1. A powerful winter storm will affect most of the Central US today through Friday, with strong wind gusts and elevated snowfall totals.
  2. Accumulations are expected to reach 18″ in some areas, with the highest expected for the Dakotas. Precip will vary from wintry mixes, to snow, rain, and ice. This slippery mess will exacerbate already dangerous travel conditions.
  3. By Friday morning, precip should have moved out of the area, with a few lingering snow showers for the Upper Great Lakes.

A strong winter storm will affect most of the Central US today, with snowfall totals of up to 18″ expected by Friday. Precip will start this morning over the Northern Rockies as snow, intensifying as it spreads over most of the Plains and even reaches into the Upper Great Lakes. High winds of 30 mph are expected, with gusts of 40 mph possible. Due to variant temperatures, precip will likely be mixed, or switch, often in this storm system. Many areas, especially in the Northern Plains, can expect mixes of snow and ice tonight. A combination of slippery roads, high winds, and heavy snowfall will be the most substantial danger during the storm, causing near impossible driving conditions for those going home after the holidays. By Friday, snow and rain should have mostly moved out of the area, with a few lingering showers over the Upper Great Lakes lasting into the weekend.

Elevated Severe Risk over TX Today:

  1. An enhanced risk for severe weather and a 10% chance of tornado development exists today over most of TX, reaching into the Southern Plains.
  2. Convection ahead of a developing strong cold front, and interaction with an existing dryline, will create strong lift, leading to a few super-cells and possibly a short-lived line of multicells.
  3. The greatest threat with these storms will be large hail and strong, damaging winds of up to 60 mph.
  4. Tornado development is most likely over Central TX, where an enhanced risk for severe weather also exists.

As cold winds blow over the Northern and Central Plains, TX prepares for severe weather today as this storm’s powerful cold front develops and plows through the state. Frontal convection will be the main source of lift for this afternoon’s storms, and multiple rounds of thunderstorms will increase the chances of them becoming severe. Parts of the affected area are already under a high wind warning, with gusts of up to 60 mph possible. Damaging straight line winds and large hail are the greatest threats today, aside from the possibility of a developing tornado. The greatest risk for tornadoes exists in the same region of enhanced severe weather risk, being that it is the place with the strongest upward motion and super-cell activity.

Rain and Possible Freezing Rain for Eastern Third of the Country Friday:

  1. This potent storm will have reached the East by late night Thursday, likely beginning as mixed precip.
  2. Less than a quarter inch of ice (sleet or freezing rain) is expected, but it could still could make travel difficult before the full switch to rain Friday morning.
  3. 1-3″ of rain over the region is expected by the end of the day Friday. Rain should mostly end by Saturday, with a few lingering showers through the weekend.

By Thursday night, this headlining storm system will have finally reached the East. Its onslaught for the Northeast will likely be a wintry mix of rain, freezing rain, and sleet due to a layer of warm air moving over a shallow layer of sub-freezing air. Accumulations aren’t expected to be high, but could still make for some difficulty driving Thursday night into Friday morning. By Friday morning, precip should switch to all rain as warmer air comes into the area. 1-3″ is expected to drop throughout the day Friday over the region, with higher local amounts possible. River and localized road flooding could be an issue by the Friday afternoon commute, but precip will likely clear up by Saturday, with a few lingering showers going into the weekend.

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 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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