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National Weather at 530am February 19 2005


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Pounding thunderstorms rumble through Los Angeles early this morning

5:30 A.M. ET 2/19/2005


Tim Ballisty, Meteorologist, The Weather Channel




Bouts of rain and high mountain snow will continue to fall across much of California and the Southwest well into the holiday weekend. This morning, training thunderstorms (some severe) were producing rainfall rates of 1 to 2 inches per hour over downtown Los Angeles. Widespread flooding over the downtown streets of L.A. was being reported. Some of the thunderstorms that rolled through contained small hail and constant lightning. Several impulses ejecting out of a stalled storm system off the California Coast will continue to push eastward through the Southwest. Those in Arizona and New Mexico can expect more batches of showers with embedded heavier pockets of rain and isolated thunderstorms. Several cities in northern Arizona received record amounts of rainfall yesterday including Cottonwood and Prescott with both collecting more than a half an inch. Phoenix continues to have a very wet February with just under a quarter of an inch falling on Friday. Flood watches are in effect for parts of Arizona that picked up so much rain in the last event. Flash flood watches have also been issued for coastal Southern California leading to the mountains. Look for heavy snow in the higher elevations of southern Utah, northern Arizona, northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. Winter storm warnings and heavy snow warnings are in effect for the mountains of southern Colorado and southern Utah respectively. Meanwhile, back in California, another area of low pressure will position itself off the California Coast by late Sunday and will keep things quite wet. Elsewhere, much of the Pacific Northwest and northern Rockies will stay dry and these are areas that badly need the rain.



The story in the South plays out like this; some folks will have to deal with clouds and showers while others will enjoy yet another day full of sunshine and dry conditions. Today, look for light rain to move eastward out of Texas and Oklahoma into Kentucky and Tennessee and along the Gulf Coast through Louisiana. However, if you slide towards the east getting into Georgia, the Carolinas, and Florida, sunshine will be easy to come by and high temperatures will rise to typical mid-February values. The dry weather is not necessarily good news for all, however. Fire weather watches and red flag warnings have been posted today fro northern Florida, and portions of central Florida. Low relative humidities and a recent dry spell have produced this wildfire and brush fire danger. By tomorrow, look for the wet weather to finally make a move towards the northern sections of Alabama, Georgia, and the western Carolinas. Some of the higher elevations of the southern Appalachians should be aware that the precipitation that moves in may begin as a mix of wet snow and sleet before changing over to rain during the afternoon. Most of Florida should stay dry.



Most of the Northeast has seen wintry conditions return as temperatures have returned to more February-like numbers. Lake-effect snow has wound down across Upstate New York. That being said, an upper disturbance will swing southeastward through Lake Ontario this afternoon. This disturbance along with a wind direction out of the southwest may spell out one last gasp of lake-effect snow impacting locations such as Buffalo and Watertown. Otherwise, most of the region will experience a dry beginning to the weekend with temperatures about 5 to 10 degrees below average. Conditions will change in a hurry and go downhill by tomorrow as a storm system moves into the region. Look for snow changing to rain and mixed precipitation in the Middle Atlantic region while snow will accumulate across Pennsylvania, New York and New England on Sunday night and Monday. Stay with TWC and weather.com for updates on this holiday winter storm.



Look for rapidly changing conditions across the Midwest this weekend as the current California storm system affects the Midwest. Yesterday, rain developed across north Texas and Oklahoma. The coverage of precipitation will expand today and press into Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Iowa, and southern Illinois. The northern edge of this precipitation will be meeting up with cold enough air to allow for some snow and sleet to fall during the onset. Cities like St. Louis and Des Moines will see precipitation begin as a light wet snow but will then change to rain by Saturday night as warmer arrives from the south. Tomorrow, look for snow to develop across parts of central and southern Minnesota, Wisconsin, northeastern Iowa, and northern Illinois. This outlined area will likely be involved in an all-snow event so that is why a winter storm is in place for cities such as Milwaukee & Madison, Wis., Rochester, Minn., and Dubuque, Iowa. A bit further south, the situation on precipitation type along the I-90 corridor is still questionable at this time. For instance, the northern suburbs of Chicago may remain all snow while the southern half may experience a changeover. All in all it will be a real mess so be very careful if you must travel.

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