Short Range Forecast Discussion
NWS Weather Prediction Center College Park MD
353 AM EDT Fri Mar 31 2023
Valid 12Z Fri Mar 31 2023 - 12Z Sun Apr 02 2023
...Severe thunderstorms likely and flash flooding possible from the
Midwest to the Lower Mississippi Valley today...
...Heavy snow and blizzard conditions forecast from the northern Plains to
the Upper Great Lakes through early Saturday...
...Critical Fire Weather concerns and high winds across the Southern High
Plains over the next several days...
...High winds and severe thunderstorms possible on Saturday across the
Appalachians and Interior Northeast...
March is not going "out like a lamb" this year as a major storm system is
set to spread a plethora of weather hazards across the central and eastern
U.S. over the next few days. The deepening low pressure system responsible
for much of the anticipated active weather is forecast to push northeast
from the central Plains today and enter the Great Lakes region by tonight.
A strong cold front attached to this system will clash with warm and humid
air surging into the Lower/Mid-Mississippi Valley, sparking numerous
thunderstorms from the Midwest to eastern Texas. These storms are then
forecast to swing eastward tonight through the Ohio and Tennessee valleys
before weakening early Saturday across the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast.
Severe weather in the form of damaging wind gusts, large hail, and several
tornadoes (some strong) are expected today and tonight between the Midwest
and Lower Mississippi Valley. In order to further highlight the concern,
the Storm Prediction Center has issued a Moderate Risk (level 4/5) of
severe thunderstorms across parts of southeast Iowa, northwest Illinois,
and northeast Missouri, as well as a separate area from northeast Arkansas
to far western Kentucky. Residents are advised to remain weather-aware and
have multiple ways to receive weather alerts. Along with the severe
weather threat, storms may also contain intense rainfall rates that could
last long enough to produce isolated-to-scattered areas of flash flooding.
The greatest risk for flooding resides across the Ohio, Tennessee, and
Lower Mississippi valleys through tonight. By Saturday, a trailing
secondary cold front could lead to forming thunderstorms capable of
containing damaging wind gusts across the northern Appalachians and
Speaking of winds, high winds are also expected a impact a widespread area
of the country as the deep low pressure system creates a tight pressure
gradient and large wind field across the central and eastern United
States. Damaging winds are possible across much of the Great Plains,
Middle/Lower Mississippi Valley, Tennessee and Ohio valleys through
tonight. The strong winds combined with low relative humidity will create
conditions ripe for extreme fire behavior across the southern and central
Plains. Otherwise, wind gusts up to 60 mph could lead to tree damage and
power outages across this region. Wind gusts up to 45 mph are expected
farther east into the Mississippi and Tennessee valleys. Farther east, a
punch of strong winds are also expected to impact the Upper Ohio Valley
and central Appalachians on Saturday, where High Wind Watches have been
issued due to the threat of 60 mph wind gusts.
On the cold side of this system, heavy snow and patches of freezing rain
are likely from South Dakota to the U.P. of Michigan through Saturday
morning. Heavy snowfall rates and gusty winds as high as 50 mph are
expected to create blizzard conditions for parts of South Dakota and
southwestern Minnesota, which will lead to snow covered roads and near
zero visibility at times. Tree damage and power outages are also possible
throughout the Great Lakes as heavy and wet snow combine with high winds
to strain vulnerable infrastructure. Additionally, a stripe of
light-to-moderate ice accretion from eastern South Dakota to northern
Wisconsin could add to the treacherous conditions. The wintry weather
threat should greatly diminish on Saturday as the system rapidly slides
eastward this weekend.
Elsewhere, the next system to impact the West Coast is forecast to spread
heavy mountain snow and lower elevation rain to the Pacific Northwest
between tonight and the first day of April. Several feet of snow are
anticipated throughout the Cascades, making travel very difficult. Periods
of heavy snow are also forecast to spread inland across the mountainous
terrain of the northern Great Basin and northern Rockies, adding more snow
to the already anomalous snowpack throughout the West.
Lastly, as the aforementioned Pacific Northwest system ejects into the
Plains on Sunday, returning moisture out of the Gulf of Mexico will aid in
the potential for scattered thunderstorms across the southern Plains and
lower Mississippi Valley. Some of these storms could produce heavy rain
capable of producing scattered instances of flash flooding from the
Arklatex to central Mississippi.
Graphics available at