1:45 PM | **Amazing weather across the western 2/3 of the nation; two chances for wintry precipitation in the Mid-Atlantic region this weekend**
Quite an incredible weather pattern across the western two-thirds of the nation during the past couple of days and some of the fun will spread to the eastern states this weekend. From California to Texas to the Great Lakes, there has already been an influx of brutal Arctic air and some of these areas have received a boat load of snow to go along with it. In addition, one of the worst ice storms in years is now unfolding in the region between Texas and Kentucky and icing problems are likely to hit the Mid-Atlantic I-95 big cities later this weekend…more on that threat below. Here are a few of the highlights of this amazing winter weather across the nation in the last 48 hours or so:
1) West Yellowstone, Montana reached 31 degrees below zero 2) Denver set a record low on Wednesday of 13 degrees below zero which shattered the old record by a whopping 8 degrees. Denver bottomed out at 15 degrees below zero this morning which is the coldest ever this early in the season. All of this bitter cold was accompanied by several inches of snow in the metro region. 3) Record low temperatures, frost and hard freezes hit California this morning and will again early tomorrow. Also, significant snow will fall in some of the California higher elevations later today and tonight. 4) More than 30 inches of snow fell in some areas between the Colorado Rockies and upstate Minnesota.
There are two shots at wintry precipitation in the I-95 corridor between DC and NYC during the upcoming weekend. The first shot will come late Friday night/early Saturday morning as rain winds down from one low pressure system. Temperatures will likely peak tomorrow morning and then will drop during the afternoon and evening hours on Friday in this region. By late tomorrow night, just as the precipitation is ending, it is possible that the rain mixes with or changes to sleet and/or snow in the northern and western suburbs of the big cities.
The second threat comes on Sunday and this one is a more significant threat than the first one. This appears to be setting up as a classic "cold air damming" event with very strong Arctic high pressure system situated in the Northeast US by Sunday that will act as an anchor for dense, cold low-level air which will be able to penetrate southward on the eastern side of the Appalachian Mountains. Snow, sleet and freezing rain is likely to reach the DC metro region on Sunday morning, and then Philly by Sunday afternoon, and New York City by Sunday evening. The snow will likely not be a big player in these areas during this upcoming event; however, the icing could last for an extended period as temperatures will only grudgingly rise above the freezing mark. By late Sunday night or early Monday, enough milder air should move into the big cities to change the precipitation to plain rain, but it is still a close call, and areas just to the N and W of I-95 may hold onto frozen precipitation for awhile longer on Monday. More Arctic air moves into the Mid-Atlantic region for Tuesday and Wednesday.
Finally, it is not often one sees a 6-10 day temperature forecast by NOAA (above) with colder-than-normal weather (blue) expected from coast-to-coast.