The coldest air many places have seen in years (and even decades) will descend upon the eastern U.S. this evening, producing dangerous and record-breaking low temperatures on Thursday and Friday stretching from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast. Lows close to zero will reach as far south as South Carolina.
This year's dry, warm winter in the western United States will continue virtually unchallenged for the foreseeable future, with little beneficial precipitation expected over the next week. The conditions will only serve to worsen the exceptional drought, leading the way to a potentially devastating wildfire season.
Much of the eastern U.S. is about to plunge into the coldest wave of Arctic air we've seen this winter, and for many, it could feature more sustained cold temperatures than we saw during the Great Polar Vortex Panic of 2014. If that isn't bad enough, the east could see a couple of disruptive winter storms next week.
As we make our way into the sixth weekend of the year, the weather is getting pretty active on either end of the United States. The west is basking in some much-needed rain, while the northeast is getting ready for yet another snowstorm this weekend, all while residents of Denver are wearing shorts.
As we approach the end of this godforsaken year, people around the country will flock outside watch their fellow citizens lower some trinket from a rope to signal the arrival of the new year. How cold will it be when you watch the ball, Moon Pie, or big red high heel drop? Let's take a look at your midnight forecast.
Are you enjoying the (sort of) warm weather we've seen for the past day or two? Don't get used to it. A surge of Arctic air will deliver subfreezing highs for most of the country early next week. It won't be anywhere near as bad as last winter's "polar vortex" panic, but it'll be a miserable cold spell just in time for the new year.
Remember all that snow Chicago was supposed to get today? It's 41°F and raining right now. Forecasts were always honest that it might not snow, but seeing the potential for up to six inches of snow on Christmas Eve vanish in a cold, dreary rain is still a shock to the system. Here's why that happened.
Earlier this year, the Storm Prediction Center announced that they're adding two new categories to their severe weather maps in an attempt to better convey the threat for severe weather to the public. They recently announced a date for the transition, sounding the death knell for ridiculous maps like we have today.
When the forecast calls for a 30% chance of rain, it's reasonable to think that the chances of seeing rain are 3 out of 10. But when the forecast calls for a 30% chance of tornadoes, the risk is much higher and much more dangerous. Why is there such a discrepancy between severe weather and rain forecasts?
The Storm Prediction Center's moderate risk for severe weather fell flat today, with most of the severe weather occurring all around the area at highest risk but not much inside of it. Busts happen. They're good for residents but bad for forecaster verification. When it comes to the "crying wolf effect," though, we're actually lucky this kind of bust isn't commonplace.
That's not necessarily a bad thing, mind you. This week is a particularly bad week in weather history, with May 20 of last year seeing the horrific tornado in Moore, and May 22 featuring the even worse tornado that struck Joplin in 2011. Thankfully, the weather looks pretty quiet across most of the United States this week.