Severe storms to impact Eastern United States

Severe storms to impact Eastern United States

A significant weather event is set to impact the Eastern United States this weekend, as a strong storm originating from the Gulf of Mexico moves across Florida and then up the East Coast. The storm is predicted to bring heavy to excessive rain, gusty winds, and moderate coastal flooding to much of the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic regions. Additionally, snow is expected over the Great Lakes and central Appalachians following this system on Monday.

A wave of low pressure over Texas is forecast to move northeastward to the Upper Great Lakes by Sunday, December 17, 2023. This system will produce showers and thunderstorms across parts of the Southern Plains on Friday, reaching the Lower Mississippi Valley by Saturday. Concurrently, light rain is expected to develop over parts of the Central Plains on Friday, moving towards the Middle Mississippi Valley by Saturday.

Another wave of low pressure over the Northern Plains will move eastward to the Upper Great Lakes by Sunday, bringing light rain and snow to parts of the Upper Midwest on Friday. This precipitation is expected to extend into the Upper Great Lakes by Sunday.

In Florida, an easterly flow off the Atlantic will result in light rain along the east coast on Friday.

A third wave of low pressure developing along a stationary front over the Gulf of Mexico is forecast to move onshore over the west coast of Florida on Saturday afternoon, December 16.

This system will stream moisture over parts of Florida on Saturday into Sunday, resulting in showers and thunderstorms with heavy rain, particularly over southern Georgia and Florida. Consequently, the Weather Prediction Center has issued a Slight Risk of excessive rainfall for these areas from Saturday into Sunday morning.

The heavy rain is expected to cause localized flash flooding, with urban areas, roads, and small streams being most vulnerable. Additionally, the showers and thunderstorms are anticipated to be intense enough to produce severe weather.

The Storm Prediction Center has issued a Slight Risk of severe thunderstorms over parts of the Florida Peninsula for Saturday into Sunday morning. These thunderstorms may bring hazards like frequent lightning, severe thunderstorm wind gusts, a few tornadoes, and a minimal threat of hail.

“Weather models remain divided on the specific track of the storm, but virtually all agree on one thing: The storm — which will organize in the eastern Gulf of Mexico on Saturday — will be unusually strong,” Matthew Cappucci of The Washington Post said.

“A storm of this strength in December would ordinarily dump a swath of heavy snow, but there’s hardly any cold air to be found in the eastern United States. That means the storm will be primarily wet, rather than white. Flooding is a distinct concern, however, especially along Florida’s Gulf Coast, where more than 100 mm (4 inches) of rain are possible.”


1 Powerful storm to lash East Coast with wind-swept rain this weekend – The Washington Post – December 14, 2023

2 Short Range Forecast Discussion – NWS Weather Prediction Center College Park MD – 300 AM EST Fri Dec 15 2023

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