Severe Winter Storm Forecast for the Central United States

Bryan Dijkhuizen

A very active weather pattern will usher in the New Year over broad swaths of the United States' surface.

First Storm System of the Year on the Southern Plains

For the first weekend of 2022, a building storm system along a strong frontal boundary ranging from the Southern Plains into the Ohio Valley will generate a broad range of weather.

Heavy snows will be spreading northeastward from the Central Plains into the Mid Mississippi Valley and Lower Great Lakes on the northern side of this storm, causing major travel disruptions from northeast Kansas to the Chicago metro area.

Accumulations of 6 to 12 inches are expected from northeast Kansas to the Chicago metro area on the northern side of this storm.

Significant freezing rain and sleet are expected to the south of the heavy snow region, extending from eastern Kansas through central to northern Missouri and west-central Illinois, among other places.

Heavy Rain and Severe Thunderstorms in the Southeast

The storm is expected to bring heavy rain, flash flooding, and severe thunderstorms to areas farther to the south of its widespread winter weather effects.

These areas include portions of the Lower Mississippi Valley, northeastward into the Tennessee and Ohio Valley, and portions of the Upper Mississippi Valley.

Flash floods, tornadoes, severe winds, and massive hail are all possible over these locations on Saturday and into Saturday night, with the potential for life-threatening consequences.

After developing along this strong front through north Georgia late Sunday, a second storm system is expected to form and move offshore of eastern North Carolina by early Monday.

This developing storm has the potential to bring accumulating heavy snows to parts of the Southern Appalachians, including eastern Tennessee and western North Carolina, as well as eastward through areas of the Southern Mid-Atlantic, including northern North Carolina and southern Virginia.

Above Average Temperatures in the East

The strong frontal boundary along which these storms are projected to form will be responsible for separating well above normal temperatures over the eastern United States this weekend from much below average temperatures surging southward across the Plains this weekend.

Record The prediction for Saturday is for high temperatures from South and Eastern Texas through most of the Gulf Coast, the Southeast, and Florida, with temperatures continuing to rise from Florida into the Mid-Atlantic on Sunday.

While record-breaking low temperatures do not forecast this weekend, significantly colder air will be pushing southward over the Plains on Saturday and eastward into the eastern United States on Sunday and into the first part of Monday morning.

Cold Front in Texas

As a result of the powerful cold front moving across the region, temperatures in many regions from South and Eastern Texas to the Gulf Coast that are on track to set new highs this weekend will be 30 to 35 degrees cooler than they were before.

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