Submitted by ub on Sat, 12/21/2013 - 12:11

Over the past couple of weeks, I have traveled thousands of miles over land (train and automobile) as well as by the air (propeller airplanes and jets) and I have experienced first hand, along with fellow travelers all sorts of freezing rain, strong winds, snow drifts and thunderstorms, as I joined millions who are going home for the Christmas holidays.

Forecasters are warning those who are still on the road to brace for fiercely foul weather on one of the busiest travel weekends of the year. Meteorologist also say the worst of the storm will hit the Midwest today, though the weather also took a toll on travelers yesterday with significant delays from New Mexico, Colorado and Illinois.

The weather pattern over the Southern Plains to the Midwest states will be
quite active for the weekend. A strong frontal boundary will separate a
maritime tropical airmass from a polar continental airmass. This boundary
is expected to extend from northern Texas northeastward to the northern
Ohio Valley and into central New England. Multiple waves of low pressure
along the front will help to generate periods of mainly light
precipitation. There will be a very big difference in temperature across
this boundary.

An upper level trough approaching from the Southern Rockies will move
eastward and energize the frontal boundary and associated surface trough
on Saturday. These systems are in the process of merging over the
Southern Plains and this will allow for a major surge of moisture from the
Gulf of Mexico ahead of the main cold front. Widespread heavy rainfall is
expected from Arkansas to Ohio where numerous flood watches are in effect.
Winter storm warnings are in effect from eastern Kansas to southern
Wisconsin where significant snowfall and sleet can be expected. Farther
to the south, a severe weather threat exists for Saturday and Saturday
night over the Deep South and Central Gulf Coast with increasing wind
shear aloft and greater instability.

Elsewhere across the United States, a major warm-up will be enjoyed by
many from the Deep South to the Northeast U.S. before the cold front
arrives by Monday morning. Strong southerly flow around a surface high
off the Atlantic coast will bring temperatures up well into the 60s and
70s for many areas, along with increasing humidity. Record high
temperatures are possible in some areas. Over the Pacific Northwest,
another shortwave moving inland from the Pacific Ocean will bring another
round of steady precipitation to Western Canada, Washington, Oregon, and
the Northern Rockies.