Last day of 80s, then late fall weather moves in – and a note on Hurricane Sandy

At mid-day Thursday, a cold front that promises significantly cooler weather was moving towards the Mid-South from the Plains.  Ahead of the front, temperatures in the 80s will be widespread this afternoon throughout the lower Mississippi Valley into the southeastern part of the country.  Meanwhile behind the front, temperatures behind the front fall off sharply into the 40s.

Temperatures behind the cold front are in the 30s and 40s, while they are in the 70s and 80s ahead of it.

The front will pass through the Mid-South overnight, dropping temperatures into the mid 50s by dawn.  Showers are expected to follow the front and could linger into the afternoon Friday, though most rain would fall during the morning.  Not a lot of rain is expected however and thunderstorms are not a big concern. During the day, temperatures will not recover behind the front and we expect to see readings in the 50s all day long – some 25-30 degrees colder than today!  A gusty north wind will add to the “shock value,” making it feel even cooler.

Position of the cold front at 7am Friday.  Cold Canadian air will pour in behind the front.

Plot of temp (red), dewpoint (green), wind speed (purple), sky cover (blue), precip chance (brown), and rain/thunder chances (green/red bars) for the next 48 hours at Memphis.

The cool weather (highs in the 50s to near 60) look to stick with us well into next week as a major upper-level trough encompasses the eastern portion of the country.  The trough will merge with Hurricane Sandy early next week as the storm likely makes landfall somewhere in the northeastern U.S. early next week.

The GFS model (GFS wind forecast below) agrees fairly well with the Hurricane Center track which shows landfall in New England, perhaps as far south as New Jersey/New York City on Tuesday.  If this happens and the storms is anywhere close to minimal hurricane strength, widespread disruptions will result in the form of high wind or a large swath of the Northeast, torrential rain, coastal flooding and beach erosion, and significant waves just offshore.

Near-surface wind forecast from GFS model for Tuesday morning.
Widespread high wind will impact a large portion of the region is this track holds.

While it will not directly impact our weather, it will certainly be the weather story of the fall across all major media outlets and likely deservedly so.  If you have travel plans in or out of the Northeast late in the weekend into next week, plan accordingly.  Air travel will likely be significantly disrupted and even surface travel could be hazarous for a large area, especially within 100 miles or so of the coast.
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