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Cold air to take over in the Northeast

January 08, 2019; 10:15 AM

The surface map shows a low pressure area over the Great Lakes with a cold front extending southwestward through the Ohio Valley. With a strong jet stream approaching the system from the northwest, it is likely to become more active as we go through the day and into tonight. The main impact most people will notice will be some sudden showers as the front goes through following by increasing wind and falling temperatures. The strongest cooling will occur across the Great Lakes region tonight and tomorrow and in the I-95 corridor tomorrow and tomorrow night into Thursday. As a cold air mass becomes established, snow showers will break out downwind from the Great Lakes into the Appalachians. This morning, the temperature went past 50° in Pittsburgh and Erie, Pennsylvania. In contrast, the temperature may stay at below freezing day and night in those areas Thursday and Friday.

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One unusual occurrence has been the breakout of thunderstorms ahead of the cold front in Ohio this morning. Thunderstorms are quite rare in January in this part of the country. The following map shows where the Storm Prediction Center sees the greatest risk for severe thunderstorms. The map that follows shows a record of lightning strikes this morning.

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The source of great uncertainty concerns the nature and extent of a storm coming out of the Southwest states at the end of the week. Models have varied quite a bit on the extent of the storm and where its greatest impact will be. This is discussed in my video blog and will be handled extensively on AccuWeather.com as we go through the week.

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of AccuWeather, Inc. or AccuWeather.com

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