An upper trough extends across the western half of the U.S. while an expansive ridge is forecast to build east of the Mississippi River. Energy aloft will move across the Southern/Central Plains on Saturday, triggering showers and thunderstorms. A strong south-southeasterly flow out of the Gulf of Mexico will provide adequate moisture to the middle of the country.
The Storm Prediction Center is forecasting a significant severe weather outbreak likely from north-central Texas through Oklahoma/Kansas and into the Mid-Mississippi Valley, especially on Saturday. Over the western U.S., precipitation will continue to be widespread. Plenty of cold air aloft is supporting snow across most of the mountain locales with the Sierra Nevada, Wasatch, and Central Rockies expecting the heaviest snowfall. Over a foot of snow is possible through Sunday morning across these mountain ranges, with 2 feet across portions of the Sierra Nevada.
There is a slight risk of severe thunderstorms late Friday afternoon through Friday night across the south central Plains into the lower Missouri Valley. Yesterday, over 30 reports of severe weather were received including one tornado near Trenton (Hitchcock County), Nebraska. Wind and hail reports were primarily from Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado and California.
Thursday’s critical fire weather area is in south-central to east-central New Mexico. This is due to light winds and cool/dry conditions.
Heavy snowfall is expected at/above 6000FT MSL today and tonight across southern California, south central Nevada, southern Utah, and northern Arizona. Saturday and Saturday night, thermal profiles suggest the San Juans, southern Wasatch, and Colorado Divide above 7000FT MSL should be receiving the larger amounts of snowfall. Over a foot of snow is possible through Sunday morning across these mountain ranges, with 2 feet across portions of the Sierra Nevada.