Travel & RV Weather Extended Outlook through Tuesday 21 March

Extended outlooks are more general in nature and higher level than the daily short term forecasts. Beyond a week, there is often significant uncertainty in the location and intensity of specific weather events. I will note where there is less, or greater, confidence than normal in these extended outlooks.

Click here for animations of the coming week’s weather, updated daily.

Big Picture this weekend and into early next week:

  • Two significant storms this period
    • First storm comes out of the Rockies and onto the Plains on Thursday, then moves into the Great Lakes on Friday.
      • Snow for the Upper Midwest
      • Some severe weather likely for parts of the ARK-LA-TEX on Thursday.
      • Strong winds Thursday from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Abilene and El Paso.
    • Second storm impacts the Southwest and Four-Corners States this weekend, then across Texas on Monday and strengthens over the northern Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, before moving across the Southeast and off Cape Hatteras by Tuesday night. Whether or not this storm becomes another nor’easter is a low confidence forecast.
      • Rain and snow, some heavy for the Four-Corner States this weekend.
      • Snow probable for the Texas Panhandle Sunday into Monday.
      • Heavy rain likely for the Gulf Coast and Southeast.
    • Travel on I-40 through Arizona, New Mexico and the Texas Panhandle will be problematic Saturday through Monday.
  • Outlook for California:
    • Some rain in central and southern California on Friday
    • Bigger storm with heavy rain and mountain snow moves into central and northern California and southern Oregon on Tuesday.
  • Briefly warmer than average for parts of the East on Friday, otherwise normal or below normal temperatures for the nation this period.
  • Much wetter than normal for southern California, Arizona and the Four-Corners region. Wet too along the Gulf Coast, Southeast and Florida.
  • Drier than normal for Washington, the Plains, Midwest and Mid-Atlantic.

Outlook for late March and early April (a 2-4 week outlook is by definition low confidence!):

  • Slowly drying out across the West, but occasional days of rain and snow continue.
  • Some hints that the Southeast will have a wet end to March.
  • The beginning of April could be wetter than normal for the Ohio and lower Mississippi Valleys; close to normal elsewhere.
  • Stubbornly cool temperatures remain locked in over the US through the end of the month (yes, the Groundhog is laughing at us).
  • Perhaps April will start off warmer than average across the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Northeast.
  • But the West remains cooler than average. Given the snowpack, no one wants a hot spring and the flooding that would create.

Details (courtesy of the National Weather Service):

  • Heavy precipitation across portions of California, Tue, Mar 21.
  • Heavy rain across portions of the Southeast, the Lower Mississippi Valley, and the Tennessee
    Valley, Fri, Mar 17.
  • Heavy snow across portions of the Great Lakes, Fri, Mar 17.
  • Flooding occurring or imminent across portions of the Lower Mississippi Valley.
  • Much below normal temperatures across portions of the Southern Plains, and the Southwest,
    Sat-Sun, Mar 18-Mar 19.

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