A winter-like chill and unseasonably warm temperatures are clashing to create high winds in the northeastern US through Friday night while severe weather and flash flooding threaten the South this weekend.
One strengthening storm system is exiting the Northeast Friday, bringing rain, snow and winds to the region. Meanwhile in the South, a new storm will develop over southern Texas, tracking to the north and east through early-next week.
Parts of the South have already dealt with severe weather and flooding this week, and more is ahead this weekend.
High winds rush into Northeast
In the wake of the storm system exiting the Northeast, high winds will ramp up Friday afternoon into Friday night.
More than 60 million people are under wind alerts spanning from New Hampshire through North Carolina.
“This will be a very long duration high wind event, with potentially significant impacts to the area,” says the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Mount Holly, New Jersey.
Widespread wind gusts of 45-60 mph are expected, with sustained winds generally out of the northwest at 20-30 mph.
The greatest winds could be in portions of the Mid-Atlantic, including Philadelphia; Wilmington, Delaware and Baltimore, Maryland, where winds could gust to 60 mph.
New York City and Boston will also be windy with wind gusts up to 55 mph and 50 mph respectively.
These winds could cause scattered power outages, and the “potential exists for greater impacts than a typical solid Wind Advisory event owing to the green up and foliage on most trees in the area,” adds the Mount Holly NWS.
As those winds pass through, snow will make an unwelcome appearance as an area of moisture hits the cold air, resulting in periods of wintry precipitation.
Temperatures will drop from the 80s earlier this week to around freezing Friday night across the interior Northeast.
The best chance for several hours of snow will be central and Upstate New York and central portions of New England. A few snow showers could event reach coastal areas in southern New England, with Boston, Providence and Hartford all at risk for a brief bout of falling snow.
Up to 3 inches of snow is possible in the higher elevations of the Northeast while the lower elevation snow is not expected to accumulate.
Over a foot of rain possible in Texas
Another concern this weekend is the risk for flash flooding. Rounds of heavy showers and thunderstorms will persist Friday through Sunday in Texas.
The best risk for flash flooding Friday is in the area of the central Texas Gulf Coast where rainfall rates could exceed three inches per hour. This includes Houston, San Antonio and Corpus Christi.
More than 10 million people in this region are under a flash flood watch through Sunday.
“The heavy rain threat will increase throughout the day Saturday and with the heavy rainfall that will have already occurred the possibility of flooding will increase,” says the NWS office in Houston.
It’s not going to rain every hour of the weekend, but widespread, slow-moving thunderstorms are forecast, especially Friday into Saturday with the weather clearing out Sunday.
A widespread 2-5 inches of rainfall is forecast across central and southern Texas, with localized amounts over 10 inches possible.
Houston has only received about 6 inches of rain so far this year, which is about 7 inches below normal. The city could double its rainfall for the year after this weekend.
There is also a severe weather threat with these storms. Isolated severe storms could bring a couple tornadoes, damaging winds and large hail in southern of eastern portions of Texas Friday into Saturday.
Sunday, the threat will shift east as the storm system exits Texas. There is a level 2 out of 5 risk of severe weather for much of Mississippi and Louisiana, including Memphis, Jackson and New Orleans.
Lines of thunderstorms moving through this region will be “capable of producing severe hail, damaging surface gusts and perhaps a few tornadoes appear possible,” says the Storm Prediction Center.
Thankfully it does not look like the hail this weekend will be as large as the softball-sized stones experienced this week.