Today's Weather Outlook
UPDATED 8:15 AM EST, February 29, 2012
By WeatherBug Meteorologist, Fred Allen
Leap day will be full of high impact weather for the two U.S. Coasts. A major winter storm will bring the full gauntlet of winter weather from the Midwest to southern New England, while severe thunderstorms rumble from the Tennessee Valley to Mid-Atlantic. Even the West won`t escape winter`s fury, while the Plains play host to the best weather in the Lower 48 states.
WeatherBug Meteorologist Todd Nelson has the latest in his exclusive WeatherBug National Outlook.
Heavy snow, blizzard conditions and high winds will slowly loosen the noose across the Upper Midwest and Great Lakes today. Still, several inches of wet snow combined with howling winds is making travel extremely hazardous in the Upper Mississippi Valley this morning. The snow threat won`t end there, as a stripe of heavy snow and sleet slide from Upstate New York to southern New England coinciding with the evening commute. Interstate 90 will see dicey travel from New York to Massachusetts with cities like Albany, N.Y., Springfield, Mass., and Boston all picking up a few inches of wet snow.
The weather story will be entirely different from the Tennessee and Ohio valleys into the southern Mid-Atlantic and Carolinas. Despite widespread cloud cover, warm, moist Gulf of Mexico air will squeeze out torrential downpours and a few powerful thunderstorms throughout the day. The most intense storms will produce damaging wind gusts and an isolated tornado. Birmingham, Ala., Atlanta, Nashville, Tenn., Louisville, Ky., Cincinnati, Charlotte, N.C., Norfolk, Va., and even Pittsburgh will want to keep an eye to the sky for threatening weather.
Not to be left out, the West Coast into the Great Basin and northern Rockies will be contending with its own fair share of snow, gusty winds and valley rain. The northern Sierra Nevada and Oregon Cascades will take the brunt of the winter storm head-on, measuring snow in feet. Even the valley floors won`t escape accumulating snow, with western Oregon picking up several inches of heavy, wet snow. Travel along Interstate 5 will be a difficult task, as gusty winds creating blowing and drifting snow and reduced visibility.
Those looking for "calm" weather will find it across the Plains, Desert Southwest and Florida, where bright sunshine will fill the sky.
Nearly a carbon copy of Tuesday, the chilliest readings will be found along the Rockies and Northern-Tier with the mercury topping out in the 20s and 30s. Seasonable 40s and 50s will stretch from the West Coast to Lower Great Lakes and northern Mid-Atlantic. The warmest temperatures will be found from the Desert Southwest to Ohio Valley and Carolinas, where 60s, 70s and 80s will serve as a reminder that spring is right around the corner.
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