The weather will significantly impact for those in the Rocky Mountains and the Central and Southern Plains this Thanksgiving weekend. A strong storm system will slowly move out of the Four Corners Region on Thanksgiving and into Friday. In addition, a cold front which extends northeast from this low to another low in central Canada will progress south and east over the next few days. Behind the front, cold air is surging out of the Northern Plains and Intermountain West. With the precipitation continuing on the backside of the front, the stage is being set for an Ice and Snow storm in parts of the central and southern Plain States. Ahead of the front, in the Mississippi, Lower Arkansas and Red (of the South) River Valley, heavy rainfall will occur.
Snow will continue in the Rockies where Blizzard and Winter Storm Warnings as well as Winter Weather Advisories are in effect into Thursday. Most locations will see an additional 2 – 6 inches with localized higher amounts, especially in the higher terrain. The graphic below shows the probability of at least 4 inches of snow this evening through Thursday evening. The areas of blues and oranges indicated a 40% or higher confidence for these amounts in the next 24 hours.
The graphic below shows the current Warnings, Watches and Advisories in effect for this storm.
In the High Central Plains, Snow and freezing rain will develop tonight. Winter Weather advisories are in effect for this region for Ice accumulation of up to 0.20 inches and a couple of inches of snow.
In the Southern Plains and eastern Central Plains, the precipitation will mainly be rain on Thursday.
For Thursday Night and into Friday, the precipitation will spread south and east and transition to ice and snow in Oklahoma and Texas, Thursday Night. Ice storm warnings and winter storm warnings are in effect into Saturday for the Texas and Oklahoma Panhandles. Winter storm watches are in effect farther south and East. The areas of blues show a 40% and higher chance for 4 or more inches of snow, Thursday night and into Friday.
The following graphic highlights potential ice accumulations from Thursday morning through Saturday morning for at least 0.25 inches of ice, which is enough to cause tree branches to break and downpowerlines.
In addition to the ice, winds behind the front across Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas will increase to between 20 and 25 mph with higher gusts. These breezy conditions could cause additional problems for the potential of downed trees and powerlines.
For areas from Central Texas north and east into Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri, temperatures will remain above freezing. Rainfall amounts will be heavy with widespread 2 to 4 inches of rain and pockets of 5+ across most of this area through Friday evening.
The precipitation will continue into Saturday with the potential of additional snow and Ice accumulations from Northwest Texas into central Kansas and parts of Nebraska. Farther east, heavy rain will continue across much of the Southern Plains and Mississippi River Valley resulting in widespread 5- day totals of 3 to 6 inches with localized 8+inches.
The forecast becomes even more complex later into the weekend, as moisture from Hurricane Sandra, currently in the western Pacific, is pulled into the front. The connection of pacific tropical moisture will likely increase the heavy rainfall potential.
With the heavy rainfall, localized flooding is likely. Thus Flash flood watches are in effect. In addition, river flooding is becoming of increased concern. NWS River Forecast Centers have identified areas in the axis of heavier rainfall with the potential risk of river flooding.
If you are traveling this holiday, ensure you have a stocked emergency kit in your vehicle. Ready.gov has some suggestions of what you should have in your car for winter weather preparedness. In addition, let people know when you leave, the route you are traveling and updates along your drive. So if you become stranded, someone will know where you might be for assistance.
The team at WxIntegrations will continue to provide relevant information and resources to help you better understand and prepare by incorporating weather impacts into your planning and response.