Central US to feel the bitter bite of weather whiplash

·4 min read

It's time to go find those winter jackets. A major cooldown is in store for the central United States, and as overnight temperatures will dive into the 40s to end the week, residents may find their feet hitting some cold floors to start the morning.

As if that isn't enough of a deterrent to plans, the risk of severe weather is also in play for the end of the week.

"A slow-moving cold front, which has been hung up across the central U.S. the past few days, will finally get the green light to move east through this weekend," said AccuWeather Meteorologist Matt Benz.

That cold front yanked temperatures down across the country's midsection on Thursday, especially as Tropical Rainstorm Pamela rode the front and dumped heavy rain across parts of the region.

After a very warm Wednesday, which featured temperatures in the upper 80s F in Dallas, conditions will began to cool, and brought temperatures closer to average on Thursday. In Louisiana, Shreveport recorded temperatures in the lower 90s on Wednesday, about 10 degrees above normal. On Thursday, temperatures peaked in the mid-80s instead, which was just a few degrees above average.

The cold front is forecast to continue moving eastward as the week ends to sweep up Pamela, expanding the breadth of lowering temperatures. This will also significantly dent nighttime temperatures across the region.

Low temperatures in Dallas are typically in the upper 50s in mid-October but could drop into the 40s on Friday night and Saturday night. Daytime highs in the city may only scrape the 70s into the weekend.

Shreveport, with similar averages, will have its lowest temperatures on Saturday, with highs in the lower to middle 70s and lows in the upper 40s.

However, farther east, a deep, southerly flow ahead of this front will continue to make it feel more like late summer in the Ohio and Tennesse valleys. There, temperatures will run well above average with high dew points for mid-October, Benz said.

Cooler conditions will also expand into locations like Oklahoma City on Friday and Saturday, where highs are usually in the lower to middle 70s but are forecast to be in the upper 60s. Low temperatures are typically in the lower 50s this time of year at OKC, but Friday and Saturday night will both feature lows in the lower 40s.

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Some of the biggest drops are expected to occur as the front crosses the Great Lakes and the Ohio and Tennessee valleys late in the week and early weekend. Cities like Little Rock, Arkansas, and Memphis, Tennessee, for example, can have drastic drops in temperatures.

In Nashville, Tennessee, temperatures will drop from the middle 80s on Wednesday and Thursday to the middle 60s on Saturday.

While temperatures in Indianapolis peaked around 80 F on Thursday, they will dive into the lower 40s on Saturday night, over 30 degrees of difference. Even daytime highs will reach only the upper 50s on Saturday. Typically, Indianapolis has high temperatures in the upper 60s and lows in the upper 40s this time of year.

Behind the front, the Plains could even have temperatures 4 to 8 degrees below normal on Friday and Saturday, while temperatures into the Northeast will likely drop to near normal after summerlike warmth challenges longstanding records, according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Tyler Roys.

Accompanying this cold front will be a plethora of drenching showers, rain and thunderstorms across the region, which could lead to localized flooding. Severe thunderstorms will even erupt if the right conditions come together. In the Northeast, strong winds with and without thunderstorms may cause trouble in the form of sporadic power outages and falling trees from Friday night to Saturday night.

Heavy thunderstorms across parts of Oklahoma, Indiana, southern Illinois and southeastern Missouri into Thursday night can have gusty winds associated with them, while the risk for severe weather increases on Friday. Gusty winds, hail, downpours and even a tornado are possible in cities like Cincinnati, Ohio; Louisville, Kentucky; and Jackson, Tennessee; as storms blow through the region.

AccuWeather forecasters urge residents in these areas to have a reliable way to receive warnings and an emergency kit ready.

Temperatures are likely to rebound shortly after this cool spell, even by the end of the weekend and into early next week. This will mean above-average temperatures returning to the Central states.

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