02/16 — Brantly’s “Record Cold” Fat Tuesday Forecast

It may be the coldest Mardi Gras on record, with temperatures running about 25 degrees below normal. The system that moved through yesterday is exiting stage right into New England, while the next system is already moving through the Great Basin into the southern Rockies.

Most of the area should see a good bit of sunshine today, which will be needed to melt the ice and sleet across the northwest half of the area. Most of the area won’t get out of the 30s today, and areas that got a good coating of ice/sleet yesterday will probably struggle to get much more than a degree or two above freezing. After sunset, we may get into a situation where temperatures drop off several degrees shortly after sunset, then level off or rise for the rest of the night, as the cold air departs and warm air begins moving in.

Showers and thunderstorms are expected Wednesday, mainly in the afternoon and evening. With ample forcing and moisture in place, fairly widespread rainfall (1 to 2 inches on average) is expected to develop across the entire forecast area by Wednesday afternoon and then persist into Wednesday evening. Tornadoes, strong winds, and hail will all be a concern to the south of the warm front Wednesday afternoon and evening.

The low is expected to sweep to the east of the area Wednesday night and the threat of severe thunderstorms will also shift more toward Alabama and Florida. A cold front will begin to sweep into the area, and colder temperatures will follow suit. Once again, this will be a very shallow pool of colder air that moves into the area, and lingering showers will persist through Thursday morning. Temperatures will drop into the lower to middle 30s over the northwest with upper 30s and lower 40s expected across the remainder of the area.

High pressure will build into the region on Thursday with clearing skies and cooler temperatures taking hold for the latter part of the week.

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