A large storm system will bring early season snow, heavy rain and severe thunderstorms to the US this weekend and early next week.
The storm will begin moving across the western US this weekend, bringing the first significant snowfall of the season to the Intermountain West.
“The stretch of unusually warm and dry October conditions will end abruptly today as a strong cold front will bring much colder temperatures with wind, rain, significant mountain snow and hard freezing,” the National Weather Service in Salt Lake City said. Saturday.
Winter storm warnings and winter weather advisories are in place for eight western states Saturday, where 1 to 2 feet of snow is expected at elevations above 7,000 feet. This heavy, wet snow will result in hazardous driving conditions and reduced visibility.
This system has already brought cold air, rain and higher-elevation snow to the Pacific Northwest since Friday, which has significantly improved air quality and fire containment in that region.
On Thursday, Portland, Ore., and Seattle ranked No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, for worst air quality among major cities in the world, according to the IQAIR website.
Air quality has improved significantly in the Pacific Northwest thanks to recent rain and wind changes over the past 24 hours, thanks to a strong cold front.
In Seattle, more rain fell on Friday (0.32″) than in all of August and September.
While October averages more rain in Seattle than August and September, this summer has been particularly dry with less than half an inch from July to September, the driest period on record.
A second system will move into the Pacific Northwest starting Monday, bringing even more rain to the region.
In the last 24 hours, several fires have stopped throughout the region. The number of active and large fires in the US was over 50 on Thursday, but that number has dropped to 30 as of Saturday morning.
High winds in the western US will also be a concern as this large storm system moves eastward. This means that before rain or snow arrives, winds can increase the chance of fire spreading and dusting.
“Mild, dry conditions combined with high winds will also create a fire weather concern,” the National Weather Service in Denver said. “Dust added to forecast grids east and south of a line from Denver to Sterling, [Colorado]”.
Ten states are under a high wind watch and warning for Saturday, where winds could gust to 75 mph.
Colliding air masses (cold air settling across the West and warm air over the East) will also provide the components of severe storms in the Midwest and Central Plains on Sunday.
More than 10 million people in the central and Midwestern US are under threat of severe storms Sunday. It is a Category 2 out of 5 severe storm and includes Omaha and Lincoln in Nebraska and Sioux City in Iowa. There is also a level 1 risk and includes Minneapolis, Kansas City and Des Moines.
These severe thunderstorms will be capable of producing large hail and damaging gusts Sunday evening through Monday morning. While tornadoes won’t be the main threat, there’s still a small chance of one or two in the region.
The rain, however, will be beneficial for central US states such as Oklahoma, Texas, Arkansas, Missouri and Kansas, where drought conditions have worsened in recent weeks.
“Beneficial rain is expected across the region Monday through Tuesday. Average amounts of 1 to 3 inches are expected today with locally higher amounts,” said the NWS office in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
One hundred percent of the state of Oklahoma is in drought conditions, Tulsa is currently in the extreme category.
An excessive rainfall risk rating of 2 to 4 was issued Monday for parts of Oklahoma, Arkansas, southwest Missouri and northeast Texas, where flash flooding is possible.
Because the area has been so dry, “precipitation is generally expected to be beneficial rather than problematic,” the Weather Prediction Center also noted.
Heavy rains will also be welcome in the Mississippi River Basin starting Monday, which has been dealing with historically low water levels in recent weeks.