Drastically colder air to surge across the western U.S., culminating with a late-season wintry weather event

850 hpa temperature anomaly may 22 2022

Drastically colder air will surge across the western U.S., culminating with a late-season wintry weather event over the central Rockies/High Plains late Friday into Saturday, May 20 into 21, 2022.

An increasingly active weather pattern is expected to transpire as a significant surge of cold air moving through the western U.S. will collide with a large dome of heat that is forecast to shift from the South to the East Coast, NWS forecasters Kong and Kebede noted today.1

In the meantime, clusters of thunderstorms associated with a pair of frontal boundaries could become severe and result in locally heavy rain across the upper Midwest and into the Ohio Valley through tonight.

While these activities will tend to diminish as they move across the Northeast and the Mid-Atlantic on Friday, new rounds of heavy rain and severe thunderstorms are expected to develop across the upper Midwest on Friday as a low pressure system intensifies over the northern Plains ahead of the surge of cold air arriving from the western U.S.

The aforementioned surge of cold air associated with a digging upper trough will overspread much of the western U.S. with unseasonably cold temperatures together with a round of heavy mountain snows, first from the northern Rockies and then down to the Colorado Rockies by Friday.

15 – 25 cm (6-10 inches) of snow with locally higher amounts are possible for the aforementioned areas by Saturday morning.

Strong and gusty winds are also expected in these areas into the High Plains as the low pressure system intensifies.

By Friday into Saturday, the surge of cold air will bring a dramatic drop of temperatures from the 90’s (°F/~32 °C) down to freezing across the central High Plains where a late-season winter weather event is forecast to develop.


1 Short Range Forecast Discussion – NWS Weather Prediction Center College Park MD – 400 PM EDT Thu May 19 2022

Featured image credit: GFS/TropicalTidbits


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