A strong area of low pressure associated with the latest winter storm impacting the Great Lakes region will advance into southeast Canada tonight and through the weekend.
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However, strong winds and much colder air surging south around the departing low center will keep a threat of heavy lake-effect snow going across the U.P. of Michigan where snowfall totals of as much as 1 to 2 feet can be expected by early Saturday.
Heavy lake-effect snow will also develop and impact areas of northwest and southwest Lower Michigan tonight and Saturday downwind of Lake Michigan, and as much as 6 to 12 inches may accumulate here.
The exiting low center will also drive a strong cold front through the eastern U.S., and this coupled with a secondary surge of Arctic air dropping south from Canada will transport a large area of below to much below normal temperatures across the Plains, Midwest and gradually into much of the East heading into the weekend.
The cold air and strong winds crossing the remainder of the Great Lakes region will also set the stage for heavy lake-effect snow to develop downwind of Lake Erie and Lake Ontario, and portions of northwest Pennsylvania and especially western New York will see heavy accumulations.
Areas near the Tug Hill Plateau will likely see as much as 12 to 18 inches of snow by Sunday.
As this secondary surge of cold air and the associated front arrives across the Ohio Valley and into the Northeast on Saturday, there will concerns for multiple bands of intense snow squalls which will likely produce areas of low visibility, blowing snow, and thus hazardous travel conditions.
Prior to the arrival of cold air across the South, there will still be some mild air lingering across the Gulf Coast states and the Southeast going through this evening and into early Saturday.
Locally heavy showers and thunderstorms are expected along and ahead of the cold front as it crosses the region.
A few severe thunderstorms will be possible this evening across areas of the northeast Gulf Coast region with damaging winds and possibly a tornado possible with the stronger storms.
Areas of heavy rain may lead to an isolated concern for some runoff problems, and these rains will spread into the Florida Peninsula this weekend as the front settles southward.
Drier air and tranquil weather will remain in place across much of the West through Saturday with temperatures near to slightly below normal, except for the Pacific Northwest where temperatures will be slightly above normal.
However, a new storm system will be approaching the West Coast on Sunday, and this will bring a new round of locally heavy rains into central and northern California, and southwest Oregon.
This storm will be bringing more heavy snow to the higher elevations of the Sierra Nevada. ■
A very strong low pressure system currently just offshore of San Francisco Bay will continue to bring high winds, heavy rain, and heavy mountain snow for California and adjacent areas of the Southwest through tonight and Wednesday as the latest in a series of atmospheric rivers impacts the West.