Developing weather pattern has forecasters on early alert for potentially significant storm

Developing weather pattern has forecasters on early alert for potentially significant stormAs a stormy pattern resumes in the eastern United States during the second week of December, meteorologists are pondering the path and impact of a storm around the middle of the month. Forecasters are considering a range of scenarios that include a major disruptive storm with high winds, heavy rain and back-breaking snow to less severe impacts ranging from beneficial rain and nuisance snow to cold and mainly dry conditions.Americans with travel plans for Saturday, Dec. 14, to Sunday, Dec. 15, should keep tabs on the latest forecasts as this storm could potentially have crippling effects on travel and daily activities.At this point, there is a wide range of possibilities."In the more extreme scenario, a storm will strengthen rapidly while moving northward from the Gulf of Mexico and take a path inland of the Atlantic coast or perhaps over the spine of the Appalachians," Randy Adkins, AccuWeather senior meteorologist, said.Such a dynamic storm may bring coastal flooding and flash flooding along the Eastern Seaboard as strong winds would pump moisture from the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of Mexico inland. The weather system could be volatile enough to spawn some severe thunderstorms along its eastern side.In this extreme scenario, the storm may unleash very heavy snow from parts of the Tennessee Valley to a portion of the Ohio Valley and central Great Lakes. Under a scenario like this, weather would cause significant impacts to travel and shipping at a busy time of the year and could cause delays or full cancellations of schools for students in these regions."On a more toned-down scenario, a much weaker storm would travel from the northeastern Gulf of Mexico then off the Carolina coast before heading out to sea," Adkins said. If the storm takes a track along the Southeast coast, it might cause minor disruptions and delays, but conditions would be manageable.A narrow swath of accumulating snow and/or a wintry mix would occur from the southern Appalachians to the mid-Atlantic coast and eastern New England in this scenario.On the southern side of a weaker storm, drenching rain would arrive in areas of the Southeast, which could use some precipitation."The realm of scenarios are in the dozens this far out, including an even more eastward track out to sea or even farther to the west," Adkins said.Should the storm track out to sea, it would spare much of the Northeast any precipitation whatsoever, Adkins observed.But if the storm takes a track toward the Mississippi Valley, it might allow a cold wedge of air to set up an ice storm for the Carolinas and the Virginia Piedmont region, as well as the central Appalachians and interior Northeast. No matter what the outcome ends up being for the eastern U.S. next weekend, it does appear that part of the Southeast in need of rain will get some precipitation."Areas from South Florida to northern Georgia and upstate South Carolina are experiencing abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions," AccuWeather forecaster Dave Bowers pointed out."Most scenarios with the storm next weekend should offer some rainfall in the Southeast," he added. AccuWeather's global headquarters in State College, Pa., where forecasters will be keeping a watchful eye on storm potential for the East Coast next weekend. AccuWeather meteorologists are confident there will be a storm that travels northeastward from the Gulf of Mexico next weekend and they will be monitoring this developing weather pattern nonstop in the coming days.There are storms and weather whiplash ahead of this emerging weather system prior to next weekend for the Central and Eastern states. If one storm does not have a significant impact for your area, another one just might. Download the free AccuWeather app to check the forecast in your area. Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier and Verizon Fios.



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