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National Weather at 6am on December 17 2004


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A cold change is in store

6:00 A.M. ET 12/17/2004


Tim Ballisty, Meteorologist, The Weather Channel




A feeble cold front will slide through the Northeast today producing a few snow showers across the interior sections of the Northeast (western Pa., N.Y.) and along the Canadian border. However behind the cold front, gusty winds (15 – 30 mph) out of the northwest will definitely remind you that yes, this is December. Temperatures will be seasonable for the most part through Saturday but on Sunday, some major changes will occur. A strong cold front will allow temperatures to tumble and bring some mainly light snow to the region. Low pressure will develop off the East Coast on Monday but the forecast is trending towards an intense storm that will be too far out to sea to bring a snowstorm to the Mid-Atlantic or New England. This possible event is still a few days away so stay tuned to weather.com and The Weather Channel for any changes to the current forecast.



When it comes to weather in the Midwest, today will be very quiet. A warm front may trigger some light snow or sleet over parts of North Dakota but precipitation amounts will be light. Behind that same warm front, downsloping westerly winds (which have become quite common this autumn) will enable temperatures to soar to values of 10 to 25 degrees above average. Cities such as Denver and Rapid City will once again feel quite mild for this time of year. Although the weather may currently be calm, a dramatic change is on the horizon. A powerful cold front will quickly dive southward across the northern Plains and into the Great Lakes on Saturday and early Sunday resulting in wicked north to northwest winds. Dangerous overnight lows in the single digits and sub-zero values will consume the Upper Midwest, mid-Mississippi Valley, Great Lakes, and Ohio Valley on both Sunday and Monday morning. Please prepare for this Arctic outbreak. Along with the vigorous winds and plummeting temperatures look for some lake-effect snow by late Saturday and light snow will increase over the central and eastern Ohio Valley. Temperatures will be 10 to 20 degrees below average from the Plains to the Appalachians by Sunday.



Just as the case is with the Midwestern region, quiet weather days will unfold over the next few days before a dramatic change takes place. A few showers will greet the Atlantic coast of Florida again today but for the most part, the South will be dominated by partly cloudy to mostly sunny skies and temperatures quite comfortable for mid-December. Saturday will play out the same way before the change. A powerful cold front will plunge deep into the region Sunday, especially from the lower Mississippi Valley eastward. Look for accumulating snow on Sunday from Kentucky and Tennessee through the southern Appalachians. Residents of the South will have to dress and prepare for this dramatic Arctic blast as morning temperatures on Monday will fall to values of 15 to 25 degrees below average east of the Mississippi River. The cold spell will be a short one, however, as a return flow from the Gulf will help to warm the South back up.



The current weather pattern favors dry conditions across most of the West. The Northwest may see a few scattered showers and light snow showers but no significant precipitation is expected. Fierce and damaging Santa Ana winds will continue today through the mountains, passes, and canyons of Southern California. High wind warnings and wind advisories are still in effect. The westerly winds are yet again streaming down the Northern Rockies so look for very mild temperatures (10 – 25 degrees above average) in the Northern Rockies and Front Range locations.

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