Through the end of the week, the East will see a glimpse of Spring, while the Central US remains in turmoil. Severe weather, excessive rainfall, flooding, and blizzard conditions will wreak havoc well into Thursday, and even possibly into Friday.

Welcome to the Wednesday 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.

Severe Weather Risk Remains Heightened Today and Tomorrow:

  1. This one powerful, cut-off low will be the culprit behind all the trouble we’re experiencing this week across the country. To the south of this system’s center will be heavy, possibly excessive rainfall and a moderate risk for scattered severe thunderstorms today and tomorrow.
  2. The heaviest rain and greatest possibility for severe weather will be centered around the Lower Mississippi Valley, Wednesday evening into Thursday morning. Here, rainfall totals of 1-2″ could flood roads, rivers, and urban areas. Flash flooding remains a distinct possibility for parts of the area, especially where severe storms may develop.
  3. Damaging straight line winds and small hail are possible within developing severe storms, as well as a slight risk for tornado development, similar to yesterday. Tornado development will be most likely further west than the center of highest severe development, near the KS/OK border. Here, destabilization from daytime heating and low-level vorticity will be the biggest factors in possible tornado formation early this afternoon.

Blizzard Conditions to be Followed by Flash Flooding:

  1. To the north of the pouring rain and rumbling thunder, colder temperatures will keep snow as the main precipitation type with high wind gusts causing blizzard conditions through tomorrow night. After a transition to rain, parts of the Northern Plains and Upper Great Lakes can expect some flash flooding, not so much from rain, but from snow melt.
  2. Where cold air remains over the Northern and Central Plains, a dangerous trio of heavy snow, ice accretion, and high winds will cause very hazardous travel and outdoor conditions well into Thursday. Parts of the region can still expect well over a foot of snow, even close to 2′.
  3. Slightly to the east, snowfall totals will be slightly less, up to 6-8″, but dangerous ice accumulations up to 0.5″ will ensure a thick glaze over any untreated hard surfaces. In addition to making roads and walkways slippery, the added weight on branches and power lines could cause some scattered power outages across the region.
  4. With warmer weather just ahead of the storm a little further east, heavy rain will aid in melting snow already on the ground through parts of the Northern Plains and Upper Great Lakes. Flash flooding watches are already in effect over a large part of the region, especially in urban and flood-prone areas.

Northeast Remains Warm Ahead of Rain this Friday:

  1. While flooding and snow reigns to the West, the Northeast will continue to warm over the next two days, giving a glimpse of incoming Spring weather. Before rain drops temperatures back down to average Friday evening, the whole region can enjoy temperatures well above average for this time of year, with daytime highs reaching as high as the 60s.
  2. High pressure will continue to build today and tomorrow, with partly sunny skies helping to warm during the day, while clouds help keep heat in overnight. Highs will likely reach 60 tomorrow across most of the region, with only Northern New England remaining in the 50s.
  3. Our Spring Preview will come to an end Friday, after the storm raging to the west finally swings its cold front our way. Friday evening, the region can expect light to moderate rain, in addition to a drop in temperatures, bringing them back down to what’s much more characteristic of mid-March.

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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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