Rain, wind and wild temperature swings highlight the final weekend of February

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A WILD WEEKEND RIDE

We enter the final weekend of February on the quiet side but a powerhouse storm will shake things up starting Saturday morning. The storm is far-reaching and will impact several states with a variety of weather. It will have a huge spectrum of weather with it from blizzard conditions in the cold sector of the storm to possibly the largest severe weather outbreak of the year, including tornadoes.

RAIN HERE WITH A FEW STORMS

Daybreak Saturday and rain showers are on the increase but most likely many areas are rain-free but the threat for rain rises quickly. Plan for more numerous showers in a "first wave" by late morning. Downpours are to become quite numerous as a warm front lifts north Saturday evening. Here is where the largest coverage, heaviest rainfall and potential for a few gusty/strong storms will occur. We will monitor trends as these move up Saturday evening. The window of rain closes as a strong jet stream roars overhead by midnight, increasing winds and temperatures here at the surface.

WARMER - WINDY-THEN TEMPS TUMBLE

Those drier hours will signal the surge of much milder air for a time late Saturday, moving near 60-degrees after dark and before 12 a.m. The parent storm is then over Wisconsin heading northeast with lowering barometer readings. The low pressure and the sudden drop in pressure lead to a void of air rushing upward. The attempt to “even” out this drop creates the winds that are funneling into that low and creating a field of powerful winds that will begin gusting late at night. Barometer readings that are dropping this quickly are called "bombs" - referring to the rapid lowering of the barometer of 24 millibars in 24 hours. The central pressure lowers rapidly as the storm tracks into Canada, its web of pressure lines will tighten and signal that gusty winds are roaring around the low. For several hours into early Sunday, winds will be strong - gusting to as much as 60 mph! A high wind watch posted through Sunday evening. Get ready for the gusts!

Colder air will roar into the state behind the passing cold front shortly after 1 to 2 a.m. Sunday. Combined with the strong winds, it will get cold fast! Temperatures will fall rapidly and winter comes roaring back falling into the 20s by afternoon. Snow showers will be likely by daybreak Sunday and continue in scattered fashion into the evening. We are forecasting a low of 16-degrees by early Monday morning a full 45° change!

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