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Flooding Rain and Plummeting Temperatures as Cold Front Pushes East

13 Jan 2013, 1:19 pm

Cold Front Tracks East

Satellite imagery of the frontal boundary from CIMSS today as it stretched across the Eastern US from Canada to Mexico.

Throughout this past weekend, a major storm system has been tracking across the country generating dramatic temperature changes, widespread rain, and even blizzard conditions.

The heaviest rain has been over Arkansas, Missouri, and Kentucky.  Picture above shows standing water in Paducah as more than 4 inches have fallen in the past 24 hours.  Flooding concerns extend from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast.  To make matters worse, the cold air on the backside of this line of showers is turning the precipitation over to sleet and freezing rain in some of the same areas where the flooding is occurring.


A look at the bigger picture shows the jet dipping down to the Mexican border across the Western US.  That allows that chilly arctic air to plunge southward out of Canada.  Warm, moist Gulf air is rising northward out ahead of this dip in the jet generating record highs across the Southeast yesterday.  In this clash of air masses, thunderstorms fired up yesterday and this morning from Indiana to Arkansas.  Some of those storms produce strong wind gusts along with all that heavy rain.


With colder air spilling into the Upper Midwest, precipitation came in the form of snow.   A few locations reported up to a foot in North Dakota with strong winds creating huge drifts and blizzard conditions.  Blizzard Warnings were in effect across the state for most of the day.

Some of the snow totals from North Dakota:

Before the front moved through the Midwest, it was still very mild for this time of the year.  Feeling a little shocking this morning in St. Louis and Chicago as it is over 25 degrees cooler there than yesterday at this same time.

A slight breeze sent wind chills well below zero this morning and will likely stay below zero in those locations throughout most of the day.

The northeast will be up next to feel the effects of this system.  Still staying mild at least today and tomorrow but then the chilly air finally makes it way to the coast by Tuesday.

On Monday highs begin to drop in the Southeast (from 71 today in Atlanta to only 58 on Monday). And it continues to remain cool  across most of the rest of the country.

Have a great week!

Gretchen Mishek


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