The calendar says fall, but it’s already winter! You’ll want to grab the jackets, hats and gloves because it’s getting cold across the central and eastern United States through the weekend.
A large ridge of high pressure is pulling in Canadian air that’s plummeting temperatures easily 10 to 15 degrees below average for this time of year all the way down to the South.
As low temperatures dipped into the 20s and 30s Thursday morning, Freeze Warnings were in effect for more than 32 million people early Thursday. Additionally, Frost Advisories were up for more than 30 million.
The National Weather Service issued those alerts from the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles and southern Kansas into parts of the mid-Mississippi Valley, mid-South, and lower Ohio Valley.
It is a cold start for your Thursday morning. There are several states with frost advisories and freeze warnings in effect. Chief meteorologist @kevansmithbnc also has your storm outlook for the west coast. More weather updates on #StartYourDay. pic.twitter.com/Pwn20NopUV
— Black News Channel (@BNCNews) November 4, 2021
Parts of the Northeast – including areas from northeastern New Jersey into the lower Hudson Valley, southern Connecticut and central and eastern Long Island – were also under frost and freeze alerts early Thursday.
On Thursday, the core of the colder-than-average temperatures will settle across the nation’s southern tier.
Highs will be 10 to 20 degrees below average from the Southern Plains to the Southeast, translating to temperatures mainly in the 50s, with any 60-plus-degree highs confined to areas along the Gulf Coast.
In the Midwest and Northeast, highs will mainly be in the 40s on Thursday, though a few spots along the coast or farther south into the mid-Atlantic may reach the lower 50s.
Additional frosts and freezes are likely Thursday night into Friday morning as far south as the mid-South. Lows near 32 degrees are forecast in Nashville, Tennessee, and Little Rock, Arkansas.
Most places will start to warm up this weekend. By Sunday, many locations will see high temperatures 5 to 15 degrees above average for early November.
First significant lake-effect snow in the Great Lakes
The first significant lake-effect snow of the season dropped nearly a foot of snow near the shores of the Great Lakes Tuesday into Wednesday. The snowfall was enough to transform parts of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula into a winter wonderland and break into the record books at one weather station in Michigan.
Snow totals topped 11 inches in northern parts of northern Michigan. Gaylord, Michigan, picked up 11.7 inches of snow on Tuesday, which set a record for the heaviest snowfall in a calendar day in November. That amount also ranked as the sixth highest single-day snowfall in any month. Records have been kept at the National Weather Service (NWS) office there since 1998.
Into Wednesday, temperatures remained in the low to mid-30s in Gaylord, as snow flurries continued to fall. The average high temperature there at this time of year is 47 degrees Fahrenheit, but temperatures couldn’t make it above the mid-30s Tuesday and Wednesday, though the area was poised for a rebound in the days ahead.
This is just the beginning of what could be a blockbuster lake-effect snow season. With few cold outbreaks in October, each of the Great Lakes has a fever, so to speak. With water temperatures several degrees above normal, most of the lakes have set new records for this time of year according to NOAA CoastWatch, which maintains records back to 1995.
In fact, NOAA reported the average temperature of all five Great Lakes has set a daily record each day since Sept. 29. The warmer the lakes, the more potential for snow records to fall as more cold air pours over the lakes in the upcoming weeks.
Snow also fell across parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania, Vermont and New York this week. As snowfall continued on Wednesday, Redfield, New York, reported a total of 9 inches.
But as the winter solstice approaches and the angle of the sun lowers along with temperatures dropping, untreated roads and surfaces are more likely to gather accumulation during these types of lake-effect snow events.
Major coastal flooding in South Carolina, Georgia, Florida
Major coastal flooding is expected along parts of the Southeast coast as a Florida soaking evolves into a weekend coastal storm.
High pressure will build into the Northeast the rest of this week as low pressure tracks from the Gulf of Mexico to off the Southeast coast by Saturday. This difference in pressure will drive northeast winds along the Southeast coast. The low pressure will also deliver a Friday soaking for much of the Sunshine State.
Tides will be higher than normal at the same time onshore winds are blowing due to the alignment of the new moon with the moon’s closest approach to Earth. These tides are known as the perigean spring tides.
Major coastal flooding at high tide is forecast at times into the weekend from parts of the South Carolina coast to Georgia. Significant coastal flooding is also forecast to occur as far south as northeast Florida, including the Jacksonville metro area.
Coastal flood alerts (warnings, watches and advisories) have been issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) for many of these areas.
Beach erosion, high surf and dangerous rip currents will also affect much of the Southeast coastline the next several days.
Charleston, South Carolina, is forecast to see major coastal flooding with the Friday morning and Saturday morning high tides.
At these levels, widespread flooding occurs in downtown Charleston leaving numerous roads flooded and impacting some structures, according to the National Weather Service.
At least minor to moderate flooding is forecast in Charleston with the Thursday morning high tide and multiple evening high tides into the weekend, as well.
Along the Georgia coast, flooding through the next few mornings may reach levels high enough to inundate some parts of Tybee Island.
Saturday morning’s high tide at Ft. Pulaski could reach levels measured during an October 1947 Category 2 hurricane, possibly inundate highway 80 between Tybee Island and Savannah and flood buildings on Tybee Island, according to the National Weather Service.
Significant coastal flooding is also forecast along the northeast Florida coast, including around the Jacksonville area. Moderate to major coastal flooding is expected along the Atlantic coast of northeast Florida with the Saturday morning high tide. These areas could see an inundation of 2.5 to 3.5 feet above normally dry ground, according to the NWS.
Additional coastal flooding is possible along the Southeast coast into Sunday, perhaps even Monday, along this part of the Southeast coast.
Rainfall could enhance the coastal flooding threat in some areas. For now, the best chance of at least 1 inch of rain from this system is in the Florida Peninsula.
The Southeast coast might be spared from the potential of heavy rainfall, but it’s too early to be certain.
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