‘Tis the season for packing your bags and hitting the road to see friends and family for the holidays. Along with the gloves and hats, you may need to pack a bit of patience if you’re heading north next week. The snowbirds who fly our direction this time of year may also need to be aware of some changeable weather. The next 10 days could be quite active across the eastern half of the nation, with the potential for a significant winter storm or two to hit. We will be tracking every move these systems take and keep you updated through the busy holiday travel season. Here’s what we’re watching:
Florida Drying Out
The front that has been responsible for record rainfall and even a few tornadoes will finally move out of the Sunshine State on Thursday. It may take a day longer for the sun to shine, but it promises to be out in full force this weekend with slowly warming temperatures. Great travel weather is in the forecast within a thousand miles of our backyard through Sunday.
Weekend Weakening Front
We will be shifting our view toward the center part of the country this weekend as a storm moves out of the southwest. The upper-level winds will likely steer this system far to our north, primarily affecting the central and northern Plains and Great Lakes states with a swath of measurable rain and snow. Snowfall with this system will likely occur in the same areas that got hit hard last weekend (Minnesota and South Dakota), but not be as significant. A brief episode of thunderstorm activity may accompany the front in the Mid-Mississippi River Valley on Sunday before it too weakens early next week and moves off the East Coast. Airports such as Minneapolis, Green Bay, and Chicago may experience minor delays over the weekend, but this system will likely be a manageable one for most travelers.
Potential Significant South/East Storm
Troublesome weather may be unfolding next week for a large portion of the country and travel plans may be impacted across many states and metropolitan centers. The flood gates to the Arctic will be open and some of the coldest air of the season thus far will be spilling into the central and northern Plains Monday. The bundle of energy helping to unleash this air mass is forecast to move across the Tennessee Valley on Tuesday. A sharp contrast will exist in temperature between the warmer air fighting to the south and the colder air on the move from the north. This is typically a breeding ground for stronger storms to develop, and model data suggests something may be developing along this boundary.
Early indications are that an area of accumulating snow could develop in or near the Ozarks of Missouri and Arkansas Tuesday, then spread east through the Tennessee Valley on Wednesday, eventually moving into New England by week’s end. There is also a potential for severe thunderstorms near the Gulf Coast States as the cold front swings through. At this time, we are still a bit uncertain in the exact track and strength of this storm and its potential impact on North-Central Florida. We will keep you updated as details become clearer. Your travel weather forecast can be seen on WRUF-TV at 20 minutes past every hour through the holiday season. Urgent weather alerts are always tweeted first @GatorWeather.