Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Strong Storm Pounds U.S.

A massive storm system is plaguing the United States this week causing everything from severe weather and tornadoes along the Gulf Coast to blizzard conditions in the Great Plains. A strong area of low pressure is developing on the lee side of the Rockies and will produce a large swath of snow from southern California to the Great Lakes. Many areas will receive of 12” of snow across the Plains.

Temperatures this morning range greatly across the country from -34°F (wind chill -52°F) in Havre, MT to 82°F in Miami, FL.

A second area of low pressure is developing along a northward moving warm front along the Gulf Coast. It is this area of low pressure that has the possibility to produce severe weather across southeast Texas through most of Louisiana into Central and southern Mississippi. South of the warm front the atmosphere is conducive for the development of severe thunderstorms that could produce gusty winds and isolated tornadoes, mainly across Louisiana. To the north of this warm front in East Texas and Northern Louisiana, there could be a few strong to severe storms producing hail and high winds. The tornado threat in these areas is very low due to the cooler stable air near the surface.

This massive storm system will leave very few areas of the country untouched. By Thursday the area of low pressure will be over southeast Canada produce a very strong northwest flow across the Great Lake and Northeast. This will provide very windy conditions, cold temperatures, and the possibility of lake effect snows.

In the wake of this low pressure a strong area of high pressure over the Ohio Valley could provide the necessary cold air for an icy situation across parts of the southern plains by Friday. Right now the return of moisture will be in question but, the forecast position of the area of high pressure is enough to spark my interest.

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