The eastern U.S. is experiencing a wild weather week as a powerful winter storm system moves across the country, bringing arctic air, snow, wind and a Southeast severe threat. The storm system is influenced by a hyper-juiced El Niño that is flexing its muscle with not one but two almost identical low-pressure systems.
The first storm system tracked Tuesday from Oklahoma to Michigan, producing heavy rain and strong winds in parts of the Midwest and Northeast. The second storm system followed suit on Friday, perhaps 150 miles or so east of the first storm’s track, with very similar widespread impacts. For Cardinal News’ country from the tip of Southwest Virginia to Buggs Island Lake and everything north to Interstate 64, it was another all-day soaking rain that might begin as brief wintry mix or ice in higher elevations.
But each one of these lows is tugging extremely cold Arctic air moving out of Canada into the western and central U.S., and Friday’s storm is likely to bring a blast of moderate chill — 30s and 40s highs, teens and 20s lows — by the weekend. Next week may bring a couple mornings of single-digit and teens lows toward midweek. The deepest chill, with below-zero lows, is likely to stay a few states to our west and northwest.
The combination of cold air and moisture has created favorable conditions for severe storms to develop across parts of the Southeast on Friday night into Saturday morning. A line of strong thunderstorms capable of producing large hail, damaging winds and isolated tornadoes was expected to move eastward from Georgia into South Carolina and North Carolina. Some areas could see up to an inch per hour of rainfall along with frequent lightning.
The winter weather pattern is expected to continue for at least another week or more as more low-pressure systems move through the region. These systems could bring more rain or snow depending on their location and strength. Some areas could see up to 12 inches of snow in some parts of Maine as another winter blast approaches from Canada.
The weather forecasters are urging people to stay alert for any signs of severe weather such as damaging winds, large hail or isolated tornadoes. They also advise people to dress warmly for the cold temperatures that are expected in many areas.