Flooding rain for Eastern US, while Central US, Plains brace for possible freezing rain and light snow
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) — A slow moving frontal system is causing widespread hazardous weather concerns across much of the central and eastern U.S. On the warmer side of the system, the threat is heavy rain. On the colder side of the system the threat is freezing drizzle, light snow, and mixed precipitation.
Radar is estimating that nearly 2 to 3 inches of rain fell in the Nashville area on Saturday, with more falling early Sunday morning. Several road closures were reported in the region due to water covered roadways. Flooding caused problems in southwest Virginia and southeast Kentucky, as well. Dickenson County, Virginia reported road closures, mudslides and evacuations due to relentless heavy rain.
The Cumberland River in Baxter, Kentucky has risen nearly 18 feet since Saturday morning due to heavy rain and is now in major flood stage. Harlan County, Kentucky has declared a state of emergency due to the heavy rain and flooding.
On the cold side of this frontal system there are wintry impacts that will cause hazardous travel on roadways. There is a chance for some freezing drizzle and light freezing rain across parts of the plains Sunday morning, including parts of the Dallas, Texas, and Tulsa, Oklahoma areas. Light freezing drizzle and sleet has already been reported across eastern Kansas, and parts of Missouri. And another little round of snow is moving through parts of Iowa, Illinois and Michigan.
This can be a particularly dangerous situation. Area roadways will appear wet, but are actually coated in some ice and therefore drivers can be caught off guard. Winter weather advisories have been posted from parts of central Texas all the way to Michigan on Sunday morning. Some of this mixed precipitation arrives into parts of the northeast during the day on Sunday.
On the warmer side of this frontal boundary, several rounds of heavy rain are moving in from the south with widespread flooding concerns from the Florida Panhandle to southern Massachusetts. Rainfall rates on Sunday morning in parts of southern Alabama and Florida are nearing 1.5 inches per hour. Flash flooding has already been reported in parts of West Virginia and eastern Kentucky Sunday morning. Flood watches have been posted from Dothan, Georgia all the way Trenton, New Jersey.
Along the Gulf coast, a couple of strong thunderstorms could develop Sunday morning. Some intense thunderstorms were already been reported in the Florida Panhandle on Sunday morning.
Around 7 a.m. on Sunday, heavy rain will be falling across the I-95 corridor from Washington, D.C. to Boston. Light snow and some mixing will be moving through parts of the Midwest, including Chicago and Indianapolis. By 7 p.m. Sunday, the system will start to dry out and move east, but some locally heavy downpours can be expected across parts of the Southeast, and into parts of the New York and Boston metro areas.
Some locations will pick up 2 to 4 inches of rain through Sunday night, including much of the Appalachians from northern Georgia to western Maryland. While some of this region needs rainfall due to a prolonged dry stretch, this rain is coming to fast and too heavy. Urban and street flooding will be possible today in cities including, Atlanta, Philadelphia, New York, and Hartford.
On the colder side of the front, patchy ice will develop from Paducah, Kentucky all the way to Portland, Maine. Only 1 to 3 inches of additional snowfall is expected in Midwest, with the exception of central and northern Michigan, where locally 4-plus inches is possible.
There is a sharp temperature gradient in front of and behind this system- Nearly a 20-25 degree temperature difference in some cases! This colder air will attempt to make it to the eastern shore line, but loses its punch to some degree. While it will feel notably colder on Tuesday morning along the east coast, temperatures quickly rebound as more mild air quickly fills in behind it. By midweek, temperatures are looking to be nearly 10 to 15 degrees above average for much of the eastern US.
On the West Coast, a quick hit of strong winds will bring potential for rapid fire growth in the Los Angeles region Sunday morning. Gusts to 45 mph will be likely in the valleys, with local gusts to 60 mph in the mountains.
Relative humidity will be as low as 8 percent in Los Angeles Sunday. Any fire that starts could spread very rapidly.
The good news is there is a disturbance that is moving into the Northwest later on Sunday. This disturbance should move quick enough to bring just a little bit of rain to Southern California on Monday and Tuesday.
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