Severe storms brewing in Midwest as Northeast prepares for rain, snow

Beginning late Wednesday evening, the action will mostly be focused from the central Plains to the Midwest, where the potential will exist for thunderstorms capable of producing hail larger than quarter-sized, along with dangerous lightning, the FOX Forecast Center said.

Our next storm is quickly beginning to take shape over the Rockies on Wednesday and will move across the eastern half of the U.S. through the end of the week.

This storm, working with somewhat limited ingredients, will not likely be a big rain- or snow-producer for most, but it's expected to be a nuisance for millions as rain will put a damper on plans from Thursday into Saturday. 

"The exact same system that is impacting California, it's going to continue to evolve as it works its way eastward," FOX Weather Meteorologist Kendall Smith said. "So diving out of the Rockies into the Plains, and it's going to be met up with a lot of warm, moist, unstable air, and so that's why we could see this severe potential kind of playing out for us, especially as we head into the overnight hours."


A look at the East storm overview through Friday.
(FOX Weather)


Beginning late Wednesday evening, the action will mostly be focused from the central Plains to the Midwest, where the potential will exist for thunderstorms capable of producing hail larger than quarter-sized, along with dangerous lightning, the FOX Forecast Center said.


A look at the severe storm threat in the central Plains and mid-Mississippi Valley on Wednesday night.
(FOX Weather)


The most likely area for this will be across northeastern Oklahoma, southeastern Kansas and southwestern Missouri, with a separate risk area centered across central Illinois and far western Indiana.

NOAA's Storm Prediction Center has highlighted these regions with a Level 1 out of 5 threat of severe weather from late Wednesday into early Thursday morning.

A look at the severe storm threat in the Midwest on Wednesday night.
(FOX Weather)


The overall threat is on the lower end, and tornadoes are unlikely with this activity, the FOX Forecast Center said.

By Thursday, the now-developing area of low pressure will begin to slide east across the heartland and Upper Midwest. While rain is expected along the path of the low-pressure system, amounts will remain light, favoring about 1 inch or less for most places.

A lack of cold air will limit the snow potential.


Rain is in the forecast through Friday in the East.
(FOX Weather)


A slower commute is expected both Thursday morning and evening, including millions in Chicago, St. Louis, Cleveland and Cincinnati.

There is also a risk of flooding rainfall from Thursday into Friday in parts of the Ohio Valley. NOAA's Weather Prediction Center said thunderstorms may cause heavy rain with an intensity of up to 1 inch per hour. The risk level is 1 out of 4, meaning there is a low to moderate concern for possible flash flooding.


A look at the flash flood threat in the Ohio Valley on Thursday.
(FOX Weather)


By Friday morning, this system will stretch across nearly the entire East Coast as a cold front acts to amplify showers and thunderstorms along it. 

A lack of cold air will make this primarily an all-rain event, except in northern New England, where the FOX Forecast Center said snow is possible. Snowfall amounts between 1 and 3 inches are expected, with higher totals possible in the higher elevations.

"This area of low pressure is not going to be a big snow generator, even as it moves into the Northeast," FOX Weather Meteorologist Stephen Morgan said. "More of a pesky nuisance. We might see, initially, some of this start off as snow. If we do, maybe it'll be more so for higher elevations."

An area of low pressure moves over the eastern half of the U.S. from Thursday into Friday.
(FOX Weather)


As the low-pressure system moves offshore Friday night into Saturday, computer forecast models differ on the exact evolution of the system, the FOX Forecast Center said.

Should the system strengthen quickly, an area of higher snow totals would be favored along Maine's coastline, enough to constitute a winter storm. 

The confidence in this occurring is low at this time, but the FOX Forecast Center will continue to monitor the forecast and provide updates as needed.

If not this week, when will we see the next big storm? 

Arctic outbreaks look highly unlikely as we wrap up meteorological winter at the end of the month, the FOX Forecast Center said.

The collision of cold and warm air masses helps spawn big, sprawling systems. While it is likely that we will still be tracking something next week, there will be few ingredients for any storm with which to work. This is unlikely to bring significant winter weather to most of the country.

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