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National Weather at 5am on December 22 2004


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Snow and severe for the first full day of winter

5:04 A.M. ET 12/22/2004


Matthew Newman, Senior Meteorologist, The Weather Channel





The Ohio Valley is bracing for snow as a winter storm targets the region. The arctic air spilling southward across the region will interact with moisture returning northward out of the Gulf of Mexico to produce the first round of snow today across areas north of the Ohio River. Southern Missouri, southern Illinois, southern Indiana and much of Ohio will all see snow, while mainly rain (some mixed precipitation) will fall today south of the Ohio River. The second round will develop later this evening into Thursday as low pressure deepens and races through the region. This will also allow the colder air to spill south of the Ohio River where the rain will change over to snow for northern and western Kentucky and western Tennessee. Once the snow comes to and end for many by late Thursday, storm totals will range between 6 and 12 inches in a swath from southern Missouri and northern Arkansas, across southern Illinois, and into Indiana and Ohio. Areas downwind of the Great Lakes will likely see the snow continue as the lake-effect snow kicks in behind the storm. Meanwhile, areas from the Upper Midwest to the central Plains will be dealing head on with the arctic air today where highs will run 15 degrees or more below average.



Mild air flowing northward ahead of the developing storm system will result in a warm day across the Deep South. This will also result in the potential for stormy weather along the central Gulf Coast and Florida Panhandle today into tonight. Meanwhile, colder air will continue spilling southward across the Southern Plains where some wintry precipitation is possible. Highs will fall through the 30s today for places like Dallas while highs will top out into the 70s across central and southern Florida. Some moisture may combine with cold air to produce some light frozen precipitation on Christmas Eve near the Gulf Coast and this situatuion will be closely monitored.



Today will not feel like the fist full day of winter across the Northeast as the arctic air that chilled the region the past few days has departed. Much of the Eastern Seaboard will be dry today as high pressure remains in control. Some rain and snow will spread into western New York and western Pennsylvania during the day. Highs will range from the 40s across New England to the 50s across the Mid-Atlantic, although highs will hold in the 30s across the eastern Great Lakes. Rain will overspread the region on Thursday with colder air arriving for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.



Only light snow across expected across the Rockies today as an upslope flow of air and upper-level disturbances impact the region. Dry weather will again prevail from California through the Great Basin, although offshore winds will be gusty across Southern California. Highs will range from the 40s across the Pacific Northwest to the 60s across Southern California and the Southwest.The weather pattern will change next week to favor more precipitation around the West Coast and the Intermountain West.

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