Every now and then, a potpourri of wild weather affects the U.S. Today and tomorrow will be among those days.
Tropical Storm Karen is the most significant story, forcing states of emergency in parts of the central and eastern upper Gulf coast. The good news is that the storm has weakened due to the presence of dry air to its west and strong upper level wind shear. Sustained winds in the storm are only at 60 miles per hour this Friday morning. Still an array of watches and warnings cover the Gulf coast from Louisiana to the western Florida panhandle. Even if the storm is weaker than expected, heavy rainfall and a storm surge (influenced by the presence of a new moon early on Oct. 5, 2013) is anticipated to the east of the landfalling center.
Across the northern and east-central Rockies out into the High Plains of South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas, winter storm conditions are on tap. National Weather Service (NWS) forecasters are advising people in these areas of the combined effects of strong winds; falling, blowing and drifting snow; and cold temperatures. Some areas have already experienced blizzard conditions and more areas will be feeling this wintry weather punch during the next two days.
Ahead of this winter storm, warm and humid air has raced into the northern Plains. Severe thunderstorms are anticipated across Iowa as this Friday unfolds. Over the weekend, the severe storm risk heads to the east, reaching the Ohio Valley by Sunday.
Behind the storm system, a strong high-pressure system has arrived. The pressure gradient associated with this high will generate strong easterly, Santa Ana, winds across southern California. This will lead to a higher fire danger (red flag warnings) and blowing dust.
For now, the eastern seaboard has escaped the wild weather. Based on the eventual track of Karen and her remnants, wet and windy weather could replace a fairly nice late summer-like period by early next week.
© 2013 H. Michael Mogil
For the latest information on Karen (including safety actions) and any of these other extreme weather events, please check local National Weather Service, local media and other reliable sources.
Here is a link to the main NWS web page. From here, you can click on any location to drill down to local forecast offices.