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HOME> Expert Assessments>Hazards Outlook

U.S. Hazards Outlook - Made February 08, 2016

 Days 3-7Days 8-14Prob. Days 8-14
Precipitation No HazardsNot Available
TemperatureNo HazardsNo Hazards
SoilsNot Available

Categorical Outlooks
Probabilistic Outlooks (Description)

Valid Thursday February 11, 2016 to Monday February 22, 2016

US Hazards Outlook
NWS Climate Prediction Center College Park MD
300 PM EST February 08 2016

Synopsis: A strong area of upper-level low pressure is expected to remain over the eastern U.S. through the next week. Arctic surface high pressure is forecast to shift south from Canada this weekend. The well-established area of upper-level high pressure across the western U.S. is expected to remain strong through Thursday and then gradually weaken when a low pressure system moves inland from the Pacific. An area of upper-level low pressure is forecast to persist across the Aleutians during the next two weeks.

Hazards Detailed Summary

For Thursday February 11 - Monday February 15: A highly amplified upper-level trough across eastern North America is likely to result in a 1044-hpa surface high shifting south from Canada into the eastern U.S. this weekend. Deterministic 6Z GFS and 0Z ECMWF model runs are in good agreement that 850-hpa temperatures below -24 degrees C shift from the Great Lakes on Friday to the mid-Atlantic this weekend. The most extreme anomalous cold across the upper Mississippi Valley, Great Lakes, and Midwest is forecast on Saturday morning when minimum temperatures of 0 to -20 degrees F can be expected. On Sunday morning, subzero minimum temperatures are forecast across the Northeast with single digits above zero across the mid-Atlantic. These minimum temperatures are 20 to 25 degrees F below-normal for mid-February. Although wind speeds are likely to remain below hazards criteria, gusty winds of 15 to 25 mph this weekend are likely to create dangerous wind chill values across the Northeast and mid-Atlantic. Preceding this arctic outbreak, much-below normal temperatures (negative anomalies of more than 12 degrees F) are also expected to prevail across parts of the eastern U.S. on Thursday and Friday.

On Friday, strong cold air advection is expected to promote locally heavy lake-effect snow (6 inches or more in 24 hours) downwind of the Great Lakes. Also, heavy snow (near 4 inches) is expected across parts of the central and southern Appalachians due to strong cold air advection coupled with upslope flow. The deterministic 0Z ECMWF model indicates that the amplifying trough promotes surface low development across the mid-Atlantic on Friday night. This low pressure system poses a risk of moderate to heavy snow from the mid-Atlantic north to New England. However, the deterministic 6Z/12Z GFS and 0Z/12Z Canadian models favor offshore development of this surface low with little or no snow across the mid-Atlantic and Northeast. Due to these large model differences, a heavy snow hazard is not depicted on the map for these areas at this time.

The upper-level ridge over western North America is forecast to weaken and allow the return of onshore flow to the Pacific Northwest later in the week. Precipitation amounts are not expected to reach hazards criteria across coastal Washington on Friday and Saturday.

Heavy rainfall during the past few weeks triggered minor to moderate flooding along the following rivers: Altamaha and Savannah Rivers in Georgia, Cape Fear River in North Carolina, Edisto River in South Carolina, Choctawhatchee River in the Florida Panhandle, and Pearl River in Mississippi.

A persistent area of low pressure and onshore flow are expected to bring periods of increased winds and precipitation to coastal southern Alaska and the Alaska Panhandle during this period. However, hazardous precipitation amounts and wind speeds are not forecast across these areas.

For Tuesday February 16 - Monday February 22: The 0Z/6Z GFS ensemble mean maintains a longwave pattern featuring an upper-level ridge (trough) over western (eastern) North America during Week-2. However, large spread exists among the 0Z Canadian and 0Z ECMWF ensemble members across North America with these model solutions suggesting more zonal flow. Model guidance indicates the potential for an impactful winter weather event across the eastern U.S. early in Week-2. However, due to large model spread, no hazards are designated on the map at this time.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor valid on February 2, the coverage of severe to exceptional (D2-D4) drought across the 50 U.S. states and Puerto Rico decreased slightly from 7.13 percent to 7.06 percent. Severe to exceptional drought is limited to the western third of the contiguous U.S. and Puerto Rico.

Forecaster: Brad Pugh

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Click here to see a display of the GFS Ensemble Forecasts

Please consult local NWS Forecast Offices for short range forecasts and region-specific information.