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One Nation, Three Seasons: Depending Where You Live, It Could Feel Like Winter, Spring or Summer This Weekend
Published: May 12, 2018
A battle of the seasons looks to be shaping up this weekend, and depending on where you live, it may feel like the middle of summer or that winter has returned while others will experience the wet and mild conditions of spring.
The contrast in temperature and weather is associated with a frontal system that will be draped from the Northeast through the Midwest and into the West. This system will be the boundary between cooler-than-average temperatures north of the front and warmer-than-average temperatures to the south.
Below, we take a closer look at what this setup means for different areas of the U.S.
Spring Storms and Big Temperature Differences
An active weather pattern is expected from parts of the northern and central Plains into the Midwest and Northeast into the upcoming week.
Showers, along with the risk of strong to severe thunderstorms, will be found along the frontal system draped from the Great Basin and central Rockies through the Midwest into the Northeast into early next week.
The chance of severe storms will be on the low side compared to what we would expect this time of the year.
Areas of heavy rainfall are possible, which could lead to flooding concerns this weekend into next week.
This system will also result in a sharp contrast in temperature.
Cool to mild conditions will exist north of the boundary, from the northern Plains into the Great Lakes and New England. Highs there will generally range from the 60s and 70s Sunday. These temperatures are near to slightly above average. At least a pocket of cooler temperatures will continue in Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey where temperatures may not make it into the 60s. For the upper Midwest, warmer temperatures will begin to return on Sunday.
Meanwhile, just a few miles south of the front, highs will be up to 20 degrees above average. Temperatures will climb into the 80s and 90s into the weekend from the mid-Atlantic into the Ohio Valley and mid-Mississippi Valley.
More Like Summer Across the South
An upper-level ridge, or northward bulge of the jet stream, along with surface high pressure, will remain over the South through this weekend, resulting in increasing heat and humidity.
Temperatures will be 10 to 20 degrees above average from the Texas Panhandle into the Southeast, as well as northward into the Ohio Valley and mid-Atlantic.
This will correspond to several days with widespread highs in the 90s across the South. Given that it is still early to mid-May, several record highs may be broken through early next week. A few record highs were tied or broken on Friday, including Lubbock, Texas, which set a new record high of 102 degrees and Amarillo which tied its record of 99 degrees.
The following cities will be close to setting new records (current record is in parentheses):
- Sunday: New Orleans (90 degrees); Atlanta (90 degrees); Charlotte (93 degrees)
- Monday: Memphis (91 degrees); New Orleans (91 degrees); Atlanta (91 degrees)
The area of high pressure over the South will also keep the frontal system to the north, continuing the stretch of mainly dry conditions, with the exception of Florida.
Areas from the Southwest into New Mexico and Colorado will see temperatures cool back to closer to average over the weekend. This will bring an end to the stretch of 100-degree temperatures in places like Phoenix.
Some relief may arrive in the Southeast by midweek as rainfall from an upper-level low that will bring rain to Florida spreads across the region.
Back to Winter in the Rockies
Much of the West, including the Rockies, experienced warmer-than-average temperatures last week, making it feel more like late spring or early summer.
A cooler pocket of air will stay in place across the Intermountain West on Sunday, but it will moderate some.
In the higher elevations, highs will only reach the 30s and 40s while lows will be in the 20s in a few spots. Most will climb into the 50s and 60s, which is near to slightly below average this time of year.
(MAPS: Weekly Planner)
In addition to the chilly temperatures, the low-pressure system and its moisture will result in weather conditions that are more like winter in the higher elevations.
Rain and Snow Forecast
The result will be numerous rain showers and high-elevation snow into Sunday. Late-season snow is expected to accumulate in the higher elevations of Montana, Wyoming, Idaho and Utah, as well as parts of the Sierra Nevada mountains.
Some locations may receive more than a foot of snowfall through the weekend, with up to 2 feet of snow possible in western Wyoming and northern Utah.
The National Weather Service has issued winter weather advisories and winter storm warnings for some higher elevation areas in western/northern Wyoming, including Yellowstone National Park.
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