- Another classic stormy spring setup is in the cards late this week.
- Severe thunderstorms are probable in the Plains Friday, and could last into the weekend.
- Another snowstorm may hammer parts of the northern High Plains with heavy snow and strong winds.
There’s growing confidence in yet another strong spring storm this week into the weekend.
This spring storm includes severe thunderstorms and yet another snowstorm in parts of the Plains.
This scenario should sound familiar.
The outbreak of severe thunderstorms, including at least 55 confirmed tornadoes, tore through areas from Texas to Minnesota to Kentucky last week. That included the Salado, Texas, EF3 tornado and the Taopi, Minnesota, EF2 tornado.
While that happened, a crippling blizzard – named Winter Storm Silas by The Weather Channel – hammered parts of the northern Rockies and northern Plains with feet of snow and high winds.
As the weather is going to be several days in advance, the weather pattern is usually out of a meteorology 101 textbook and gives us more confidence in this overall scenario.
The jet stream will take a large, southward plunge into the western US That will strengthen low pressure and pull warm and humid air north of the Gulf of Mexico while also pulling some colder air south of Canada.
The expansive spring storm with both severe thunderstorms and heavy snow will likely result from this amplified jet-stream pattern.
Severe Weather Outlook
While there may be severe thunderstorms in parts of the Plains starting Tuesday, severe thunderstorms could become more numerous and widespread in the Plains beginning Friday.
Friday stretches from parts of Kansas northward into Nebraska, western Iowa and southern South Dakota, as the contour below from NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center shows.
Beyond that, at some point in the spring, the central location of the Mississippi Valley into the southern Plains, the exact location of that weekend threat is uncertain .
It’s too soon to determine the magnitude of the severe weather threat, but at least some tornadoes, damaging winds, large hail and locally flooding rain are possible in these areas.
Like last week, the spring storm will also generate strong, dry southeast over New Mexico and the High Plains from eastern Colorado southward. These conditions could lead to the rapid spread of existing or new wildfires in this drought-ridden area.
Make sure you have a plan in the event of severe weather, including where to take shelter. National Weather Service watches and warnings that can also wake you up at night, via smartphone wireless emergency alerts, The Weather Channel app and NOAA weather radio.
The calendar might say late April, but there will be a cold side of this coming storm once again.
The storm will first produce much-needed snowfall in California’s Sierra Nevada by Wednesday night and Thursday. Higher elevations of this mountain chain could see a foot or more of snow.
Snow will spread east across the Rockies on Thursday night into Friday.
By Friday night and Saturday, snow or rain changing to snow could overshadow parts of Wyoming, Montana, western North Dakota and western South Dakota. Rainfall change to snow farther eastward across North Dakota and northern South Dakota Saturday night into Sunday.
The purple areas in the map below show where the heaviest snow from the storm is most likely, including higher elevations of Wyoming, eastern Montana and western and northern North Dakota. At least 6 inches of wet, heavy snow possible in these areas.
Strong winds could accompany the storm in the northern High Plains, contributing to poor visibility and possibly dangerous travel.
Keep this all in mind if you have travel plans in this area next week. You may need to delay or cancel your plans.
Check back for important updates over the next several days as the details of this spring storm come into focus.
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