A veritable weather roller coaster the next few days:
As I emphasized in Mon's post & will probably update each day this week, the U.S. weather pattern has become very stormy & unsettled. Anyone with travel plans -- just about anywhere in the country should stay abreast of the latest forecast. The Northern, Central & Western U.S. will be hammered by ice & snow while the Southern & Eastern U.S. will be hit by heavy rain & severe storms. Travel impacts will likely be widespread & significant. 2 storms to track:
First....a storm that will move into the midwest Wed. Heavy snow & wind will spread from Colorado to Iowa to Wisconsin & Michigan. While the heaviest snow with this storm should stay a little north & west of Chicago, the "Windy City" will be whipped by winds that could approach hurricane strength Thu. In the southern & eastern quadrants of the storm, heavy & a few severe storms will move across the Gulf Coast, Tennessee & Ohio Valley's. A period of heavy rain & storms will affect the First Coast late Thu. & especially Thu. night. This system will be followed by a quick but sharp drop in temps. for the First Coast Fri. through the weekend with an early morning inland freeze &/or frost likely Sat. & Sun.
An interesting & strongly worded forecast discussion from the Quad Cities (Ia./Il.) N.W.S.:
AREA FORECAST DISCUSSION
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE QUAD CITIES IA IL
954 PM CST TUE DEC 18 2012
DPROG/DT OF 00Z NAM SHOWS MODEL TRENDING SLOWER...STRONGER AND FURTHER SOUTHWEST WITH MAJOR STORM WED NGT-THU. THIS MAY HAVE IMPACTS ON SLOWING A BIT THE CHANGE OVER TO SNOW ESPECIALLY FROM
QUAD CITIES S/E ON THU. IN ADDITION... PCPN MAY WELL CONTINUE FOR MUCH OF THE DAY THU. STILL LOOKS LIKE HEAVIEST SNOW ACCUMS (8-12 INCHES) WILL OCCUR W/NW OF QUAD CITIES... ESPECIALLY NEAR/NORTH OF KCID [Cedar Rapids]-KDBQ [Dubuque] AXIS. VERY CONCERNED ABOUT THE WINDS... WITH LATEST NAM SHOWING A TIGHT MSLP GRADIENT OF ABOUT
26 MILLIBARS ACROSS THE STATE OF IA BY 18Z THU... WITH 925 MILLIBAR WINDS PROGGED AROUND 50 KTS. SHOULD SEE SFC WINDS SUSTAINED AT 25-35 MPH WITH GUSTS TO AROUND 50+ MPH. 18Z GEFS WIND MAGNITUDE ANOMALIES FROM 1000-850 MILLIBARS ARE A WHOPPING 3 TO 4 STANDARD DEVIATIONS ABOVE THE MEAN. BOTTOM LINE... IF
THESE WINDS WERE TO VERIFY WE WOULD BE LOOKING POTENTIALLY AT A PARALYZING STORM.
The second storm will develop over the Southern Rockies & Southern Plains near Christmas Day. This storm could even bring heavy rain & snow to parts of California, Nevada & Arizona early next week before moving east. Forecast models are at odds with timing of the storm -- as much as 2 days apart -- but models are in good agreement on a powerful storm developing. This storm could affect virtually all of the country from the Rockies to the east coast anywhere from Christmas Day to Fri. snarling traffic for wide parts of the nation. I personally favor a slower scenario given the strength of the storm, strong upper level winds diving down the backside of the system & pretty strong upper level ridging east of the storm behind the departing storm that moves across the U.S. this week.
If I were to really dust off the ol' weather crystal ball, there are indications (so-called weather telleconnections) that the U.S. is not only moving into a stormier pattern but also a colder pattern. The result for the First Coast could be frequent bouts of significant rain through at least the end of the month & -- while generally warm now -- a trend towards colder temps. There could be snow edging into parts of the South (Northern Mississippi, Alabama,
Northern Ga., N. Carolina) in about 10 days to 2 weeks.
So keep an eye on the weather the next couple of weeks.......
In the Southern Hemisphere, the tropics are active. From NASA:
Northern and western Fiji is under a state of emergency after Cyclone Evan ravaged the island nation. NASA's Aqua satellite captured a view of Evan as it was leaving Fiji and heading south in the South Pacific Ocean. Evan was a category 4 cyclone (hurricane) when it hit Fiji's main island of Viti Levu. Evan's maximum sustained winds at the time of landfall were near 135 mph (217 kph). Click here for more info. & forecasts & some excellent 3-D satellite images.