Four seasons of weather and some of their most acute extremes may divide the nation next week.
Between late Monday and Wednesday, computer models show the potential for a powerhouse storm in the middle of the nation that could unleash a dangerous outbreak of severe weather and flooding.
The nation will become split by temperature contrasts as the storm draws unseasonably warm and humid air into the South while pulling abnormally cold air on its backside into the Rockies and western Plains.
The specifics of how this all plays out will take a few days to come into focus, but the storm has the potential to intensify rapidly.
Depending on where you live, you could face record cold and snow, record heat, or severe thunderstorms.
This storm expected to form will be the third in a series, following initial waves between Friday and the weekend, and perhaps the most intense. While models differ on how strong it will become, the European model shows the potential for a blockbuster.
In broad strokes, here is what different regions could face in the early to middle part of next week:
- Severe thunderstorms from the Southern Plains to the Midwest, from Texas to Missouri: This storm could very well unleash an outbreak of violent storms, including damaging winds, large hail, tornadoes and flash flooding.
- Flooding from Missouri to the Upper Midwest: Following the potential for heavy rain and flooding over the weekend, additional downpours Tuesday and Wednesday are likely to fall on saturated soils and rivers already near or above flood stage.
- Cold and snow in the western Dakotas and northeast Rockies: Temperatures could plunge 20 to 35 degrees below normal on the storm’s cold side. Wet snow is possible, especially at night and higher elevations where amounts could be substantial.
- Excessive heat in the South and Southeast: Temperatures could be 20 to 30 degrees above normal as a large heat dome builds out ahead of the storm. While subject to change, on Wednesday the European model projects high temperatures in the mid-90s from central Georgia to central North Carolina, with a zone of triple digit heat from southeast Georgia to eastern South Carolina.
Even before next week’s storm develops, volatile and sometimes violent weather will hammer both the West Coast and the middle of the nation. This period of stormy weather, spurred by an unusually strong and energetic jet stream for the time of year, promises to be long-lived and potentially quite disruptive.