Shaun Tanner has been a meteorologist at Weather Underground since 2004.
By: shauntanner, 6:13 PM GMT on May 29, 2012
A fairly strong cold front draped itself from the Mississippi Valley through the Northeast Tuesday, causing multiple pronounced effects.
First, the cold front itself is triggering very strong severe thunderstorms from Kentucky through New York.
A look at the severe map will show you were the strongest of these thunderstorms are currently. You can see much of the Northeast is blanketed with Severe Thunderstorm Watches, while Vermont and adjacent areas of New York and Massachusetts are under Tornado Watches. In addition, Severe Thunderstorm Warnings also dot the area from Pennsylvania through Vermont.
This long line of thunderstorms is moving very slowly northeastward so it would be wise for residents to monitor its motion.
The bottom line is that any of these severe thunderstorms will have the capability of producing heavy rain, strong wind gusts greater than 50 mph, large hail up to or greater than 3/4 inch, and even a tornado. Residents throughout the Northeast should monitor their local weather conditions and be prepared to take precaution to protect life and property. As always, we will be covering any tornadic activity via our website and our Twitter account.
Second second affect the cold front is having is the cooler that it is bringing down from Canada. The Ohio Valley warmed into the 90s over the weekend and Memorial Day, yet is currently experiencing temperatures in the 70s and 80s. Even more dramatic is Minnesota where temperatures are only in the 40s and 50s in the afternoon.
By: shauntanner, 5:42 AM GMT on May 25, 2012
Over the course of my lifetime, I have watched countless storms and heat waves move across the country. There is one rule that I rely on most when forecasting today. When there is a strong low pressure trough in one part of the country, chances are very high that there is a strong high pressure ridge somewhere else in the country. Nature enjoys balance, and this is the atmosphere's way of obeying this natural edict.
Cool Weather Along West Coast
Of course, I bring this forecasting rule up for a reason. An unseasonably deep low pressure trough will move down the West Coast today and Saturday, bringing cool May temperatures to the Northwest and California. This trough is strong enough that the NWS has issued numerous Special Weather Statements that warn of well below average temperatures. Normally this time of year, areas of the Central Valley of California experience maximum temperatures well into the 80s. Instead, temperatures on Friday will struggle to reach 70 for many areas from Sacramento to Bakersfield. In addition, some moisture associated with this low pressure trof may trigger scattered thunderstorms, especially over higher elevations. While any rain is welcomed after a dry Winter, any lightning associated with these thunderstorms could instigate fires. So residents should monitor local weather conditions, as usual.
Heat Wave for Plains and Midwest
So, here is the where the rule holds true. Since there is a low pressure trough along the West Coast, you would expect a strong high pressure ridge farther to the east. In fact, a strong high pressure system will amplify significant during the period from Friday through Sunday. This high pressure system will allow very warm air from Mexico to flow northward into the Plains. As a result, areas of Texas will warm well into the triple digits with results likely to be set.
The warm air will then move eastward into the Midwest Saturday and Sunday, where residents should prepare for an extremely warm Memorial Day Weekend. We have been watching areas of Ohio all week as forecasts have been well into the 90s. Records will certainly be set for many areas from the Central Plains through the Ohio Valley with numerous areas approaching the triple digit mark.
Warm temperatures are likely to remain into Memorial Day as warm air will continue moving into the Northeast.
And if you don't want to read all of the words in this blog, the image below wraps up the story quite nicely. As you can see, extremely warm temperatures are expected east of the Rockies, with the Northeast experiencing slightly more moderate daytime temperatures.
Tracking the Heat Wave
As always, you can track the heat wave using our exclusive Record Extremes section. This section will update each day, telling you where records have been set. It will be interesting to watch the heat wave move from West to East from Friday through Sunday.
Tips To Remain Comfortable
Remember to remain hydrated throughout the day as your body will lose moisture very quickly as the Mercury rises. While I always encourage being outside and activity, please be aware of your time outside. It is perfectly fine to be outside in the shade, but it is dangerous to remain in the sunshine for an extended period of time when temperatures rise as high as expected for this Holiday weekend. Also, check on the elderly several times a day and make sure they are safe. In addition, your pets are not invulnerable to the heat and should have a constant supply of water. They might even enjoy a spray down with water.
By: shauntanner, 6:26 PM GMT on May 02, 2012
It seems like the threat of severe weather has gone unabated recently, and today will be no different. The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Oklahoma has issued a moderate risk of severe weather in eastern Nebraska, southeastern South Dakota, and northwestern Iowa. This means there is a decent chance of severe thunderstorms in this area. Severe thunderstorms could bring about a variety of damaging weather conditions such as heavy rain, large hail, damaging winds, and tornadoes. This moderate risk is the highest we have seen all week so residents in the area should be watching local weather conditions very closely.
In addition, there is a large area under the slight risk of severe weather category. This area stretches from Nebraska through parts of the Upper Midwest and the Ohio Valley and into the Mid-Atlantic.
All of this severe weather threat is due to a front moving through the Plains.
The severe weather map is a good resource to stay informed of where severe weather is popping up. This map will show you where severe thunderstorms are, and if any are potentially tornadic.
How to Prepare For Severe Weather
We realize there has been several days of severe threat in the Plains and Ohio Valley. It would be very easy to let your guard down or to become fatigued with the constant preparations. This type of attitude is very dangerous.
You should always prepare yourself for the eventuality of severe weather so you and your family can be safe should unfortunate weather make its way into your neighborhood.
NOAA Weather Radio is probably the best way you can keep yourself informed of severe weather. Go out and buy a weather radio. Weather Underground has also assembled a list of NOAA Weather Radio providers you can stream. But, if the power goes out in your town, you won't be able to utilize this resource. So it is still recommended that you get yourself a weather radio.
Have a plan for family safety. This includes notifying all of your family members of what they should do in case of a severe weather emergency. When your city is in a tornado warned area, seek shelter in your basement or storm cellar. An interior, first story bathroom or closet away from windows and doors is also suitable if you do not have a basement.
Mobile homes do not make suitable severe weather shelters. If you know someone who lives in a mobile home and is in a tornado warned area, please make sure they know of the dangers and assist them in getting them to safety preemptively.
As always, we will be covering any severe weather outbreak on Twitter. All you have to do is follow Weather Underground's Twitter feed. We try to tweet the most up-to-date information from a variety of sources, including the NWS, trained spotters, and local media outlets.
The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.