Heavy rain, flash flooding, and severe weather will ramp up on Friday in the central U.S. ahead of a developing low pressure system
Light snow and freezing rain are possible for portions of the Plains, Mississippi Valley, and Great Lakes
Colder than average for the West Coast to Northern Plains and much warmer than average in the eastern half of the nation
Heavy snow once again possible in higher elevations of the Northwest Friday into Saturday
An upper-level trough over the western half of the contiguous U.S. will strengthen tonight and Friday as additional energy comes in. A frontal system at the surface will move slowly through Friday as the trough develops, before both features move eastward this weekend. Moisture from the Gulf of Mexico will flow into the vicinity of the fronts, leading to increasing rain chances today and especially on Friday for the Southern Plains into much of the Mississippi and Ohio Valleys. After rainfall of up to an inch in those areas today into tonight, rainfall totals are forecast to be 3 to 5 inches on Friday and Friday night in a swath from far northeastern Texas to eastern Oklahoma, northwestern Arkansas, and southwestern Missouri. Thus, there is a Moderate Risk of flash flooding in those areas for Friday. Flood and Flash Flood Watches are in effect across much of Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana ahead of the rainfall. Additionally, the Storm Prediction Center has outlooked an Enhanced Risk of severe weather on Friday for parts of the Southern Plains to Lower Mississippi Valley.
On the backside of this system, light to moderate snow is expected in the Intermountain West and Rockies today, spreading eastward tonight and Friday. A wintry mix of snow, sleet, and freezing rain is possible in portions of the Southern/Central Plains into the Middle Mississippi Valley and northeastward into the Great Lakes region Friday into Saturday after the cold front drops the temperatures. Freezing rain amounts of over a tenth of an inch are currently forecast for parts of Missouri into southeastern Iowa.
The strong front will also lead to significant temperature anomalies across the country. Ahead of the front, high temperatures will be 15 to 25 degrees above average from the Plains into the Mississippi, Ohio, and Tennessee Valleys today, with low temperatures Friday morning more than 30 degrees above normal over a large part of that area–widespread record high minimum temperatures are expected to be set over the next couple of days. The Eastern Seaboard will join in on the warmth on Friday. Colder than average temperatures are forecast for the western half of them country, however, due to the first front and a secondary cold front which is expected to reinforce the cold air. By Friday, high temperatures in the single digits are forecast for the north-central tier of the nation.
Another low pressure system is forecast to approach the Northwest on Friday, which combined with more upper-level energy will lead to heavy precipitation. Rain is forecast for lower elevations of the Pacific Northwest, with snow elsewhere from the Cascades to the Northern Great Basin and Northern Rockies. Through Friday night, heavy snow of over 2 feet is expected in higher elevations of the Cascades, with the Northern Rockies expecting snow totals in excess of a foot.
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