Central US: Powerful storm could bring tornadoes, blizzard conditions

 Friday, December 9, 2022 

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An extreme weather pattern will take hold of the United States next week and produce a “doozy” of a storm that could produce widespread severe thunderstorms and an all-out blizzard.

A much more dynamic and volatile weather pattern is looming for the United States as the atmosphere begins to shift gears following a quieter start to December. By early next week, numerous small, weak disturbances will be replaced by one massive storm that could wreak havoc on cross-country travel as well as pose a significant threat to lives and property.

AccuWeather Chief On-Air Meteorologist Bernie Rayno said that  the stage is being set for extreme weather conditions over the U.S. next week, especially for the middle of the nation.

This week’s weather will feature impacts from a series of weak storms that will deliver drenching rain from the south-central region to the Atlantic coast and stripes of snow from the Rockies to the Upper Midwest and interior Northeast.

From this weekend to next week, the jet stream will change from its current nearly west-to-east configuration to a very convoluted setup that favors at least one major storm.

The first phase of that storm will unfold this weekend, as it brings a substantial amount of rain to coastal areas and lower elevations and mountain snow to the Pacific coast. As the storm then moves across the Rockies, it will remain potent before it eventually reorganizes into a monstrous system by early next week over the Great Plains and Mississippi Valley.

As warm and moist air begins to flow northward from the Gulf of Mexico, shifting and strengthening winds above the ground to the jet stream level of the atmosphere will spark powerful thunderstorms over portions of the South Central states during the first part of next week.

“Not only is there likely to be an outbreak of severe thunderstorms with this [weather pattern], but multiple tornadoes are possible,” Rayno said. “The setup could bring a greater number of tornadoes, compared to last week’s outbreak in the Southern states as it seems there will be just too much energy available in the atmosphere for that not to occur.”

There is a significant chance of tornadoes to be on the ground from Tuesday afternoon to Tuesday night over portions of the interstate 20, 30, 40 and 55 corridors, Rayno added.

Severe thunderstorms could occur west of the I-55 corridor late Monday and may extend well to the east from the Great Lakes to the Tennessee Valley on Wednesday.

Outside of severe thunderstorms, the surging moisture can produce locally heavy rain in parts of the same area. While the downpours are likely to bring yet another boost to river levels on the Mississippi and Ohio rivers, too much rain may fall too fast for small streams and artificial drainage systems to handle, which could result in some flooding around urban areas.

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