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Upcoming cross-country storm packs new winter punch

As one storm system exits the U.S., another event is on its heels later this week, likely producing another round of heavy snow and severe weather in parts of the country that just wrapped up seeing their share of weather.

The Fox Forecast Center expects a band of heavy snow will fall from Missouri to Michigan, with severe thunderstorms possible from Texas through the Carolinas in the mid-Atlantic.

Similar to the past two storm systems, major cities in the Northeast will miss out on seeing accumulating snow, with temperatures simply too warm to support frozen precipitation along the coast.

The storm system has already triggered Blizzard Warnings in higher elevations in the Pacific Northwest, and wind gusts have topped 100 mph on some ridges.

Major impacts are expected to begin late on Thursday across the Plains and last until the storm system pushes into Canada and off the Eastern Seaboard on Saturday.

“We’ve already been through the weekend nor’easter that impacted the East Coast and this storm that we’re still kind of clearing out of,” said FOX Weather Meteorologist Britta Merwin. “But the next one, it’s interesting.”

Fox Forecast Center expects a band of heavy snow will fall from Missouri to Michigan, with possible severe thunderstorms possible in other parts of the country later this week. Fox Weather
Behind the frontal boundary will be the coldest air of the season, dropping temperatures to around 0 degrees as far south as Missouri.
AP

That’s because the track of the storm is similar to previous ones, though perhaps not exactly the same.

“A difference of a track between 50 and 100 miles makes a big difference to certain cities,” she said.

For example, Chicago didn’t see much snow from the previous system this week.

But that may change with this next storm later this week.

Major impacts are expected to begin late on Thursday across the Plains and last until Saturday.
Fox Weather

“The suburbs had much better totals,” Merwin said. “But this next storm at the end of the week, the positioning is better for Chicago to see more snow than what they just had.”

Winter weather impacts

The snowfall is expected to be the lightest over the Plains and increase in coverage and intensity throughout the Great Lakes.

The first flakes are expected to start flying on Thursday, with Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Indianapolis all seeing accumulating snow by Friday.

Forecast models show some communities in the Great Lakes could pick up snowfall accumulations in the double digits with wind gusts of more than 30 mph.

The first flakes are expected to start flying on Thursday, with Chicago, Detroit, Milwaukee, and Indianapolis seeing major snow by Friday. AP

The areas that will see the heaviest snow likely won’t be set in stone until around Thursday morning, when more accurate computer model runs will be able to determine where the storm system’s center will travel and how much cold air will be available.

The combination of the heavy snow and gusty winds could make travel impossible along the I-80 corridor, with frozen precipitation making it as far south as Interstate 40.

Cities such as Chicago and Detroit sit ready to at least double their snowfall accumulations for the season.

The Windy City has only reported around 6″ of snowfall since Dec. 1, and Detroit has only seen a measly 1.1″ of snow.

Where warm air will be dominant, south of Interstate 40, communities have the chance of seeing strong to severe storms.

Severe weather impacts

NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has highlighted areas in the South days in advance of the actual storm system arriving, meaning that certainty is high for threats of damaging winds and tornadoes on Thursday and Friday.

Thursday’s highest threat zone is centered over East Texas, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. The SPC has placed this region at a level 2 out of 5 on its thunderstorm risk scale.

On Friday, the threat zone is expected to progress eastward and stretch from Mississippi through North Carolina.

Forecasters warn that due to the available instability, the atmosphere could be conducive for more supercell thunderstorm development than what was experienced earlier in the week, which featured more of a linear storm structure.

Cities such as Chicago and Detroit sit ready to at least double their snowfall accumulations for the season. AP

Discrete cells are known to produce stronger tornadoes than those associated with squall lines, which leads to more widespread wind damage.

“Discrete thunderstorms are always a huge concern because they can make powerful tornadoes,” Merwin said. “It’s like showing up to the buffet and you’ve got one person.  These discrete thunderstorms can eat up all the energy in the atmosphere.”

Communities such as Dothan, Alabama; Panama City, Florida; and Claremont, North Carolina, which were hit hard during a severe weather outbreak on Tuesday, are included in Friday’s threat zone.

States such as Arkansas, Mississippi, Texas, Louisiana, and the Carolinas are expected to receive severe thunderstorms, according to reports.
Fox Weather

However, the SPC placed areas of southeastern Alabama, central Georgia, including Atlanta, and the Carolinas in a level 3 out of 5 on its thunderstorm risk scale.

“But the subtropical jet, because of the El Niño phase, is allowing this to rip and roar and stay active down South,” said FOX Weather Meteorologist Steve Bender.

Arctic air follows

Behind the frontal boundary will be the coldest air of the season, dropping temperatures to around 0 degrees as far south as Missouri and values reaching at least -30 degrees along the U.S.-Canada border.

A person was seen walking his dog after a winter storm moved through Leawood, Kansas on Jan. 9. AP

As the next workweek progresses, the arctic air mass is expected to spread south and eastward, but questions remain on the staying pattern of the cold air.

Will the cold air be able to stick around for an extended period, or will the air mass moderate, providing just a glancing blow of winter?

These details will matter because if the cold air mass has staying power, chances increase that a future storm system will be able to take advantage and produce snowfall in locales that are running historic deficits.

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Written by SaleemBaloch

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