LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) – The forecast for the next 24 to 48 hours will bring us a wide range of weather conditions, including record heat, extremely high winds, thunderstorms, severe storms, and snow and snow areas. Needless to say, there is a lot to unpack with this forecast.
The weather should remain fairly calm across the state through Tuesday, with milder weather. Look for more clouds with partly to mostly cloudy skies as the day progresses. These clouds will likely limit our temperatures by a few degrees, but we will still be nearly 20 Â° above normal by Tuesday afternoon.
Temperatures will stay a few degrees cooler into northeast Nebraska, where we will continue to melt some of last week’s snow, but most of the state should hit mid-to-upper-50s in the afternoon with southerly winds of 10 to 20 mph.
Things get interesting as we walk into the day on Wednesday as a powerful low pressure system flies through the state. Winds will likely be the main effect of this system as high winds are expected to be widespread throughout the day. High Wind Watches are in use across the state on Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. as sustained winds between 20 and 40 mph are expected, with peak gusts that can approach 70 mph at times.
While we won’t always see these high-end gusts, most states will likely see gusts of between 30 and 50 mph for most of the day. Initially, these winds will come from the south, driving unusually warm air into the state. However, on Wednesday evening, when this low pressure system swings through the state, the winds will swiftly sway west and northwest. The wind should then subside by late Wednesday evening as the system is quickly pulling out of the area. Strong winds blow around Christmas decorations, garbage cans, garden furniture and anything that is not tied down all day. High winds can also cause tree damage, as well as power outages in some areas. And then, in addition to the strong winds, extremely dry conditions on Wednesday will lead to a high risk of fire, so that a potentially ignited fire could very quickly become uncontrollable.
As noted, the strong south winds will draw unusually warm air into the state, with afternoon highs reaching the low 60s to 70s over central and eastern Nebraska. Those numbers will come close to breaking records for central Nebraska while breaking records for the Lincoln and Omaha metros.
In addition to warmth and wind, thunderstorms and occasional severe storms are possible until Wednesday afternoon and evening. The SPC has described the far eastern parts of the state as having a low risk of severe weather, as thunderstorms could create harmful gusts of wind and perhaps an isolated tornado or two.
Storms on the leading edge of the frontal border are expected to develop over central Nebraska by Wednesday afternoon. Storms are expected to move east over eastern Nebraska VERY FAST by Wednesday evening. Harmful winds are already possible without the thunderstorms, but harmful wind gusts associated with these thunderstorms are also possible. There will also be some tornado threat given the shear in the atmosphere.
Additionally, at the far end of this system, parts of west and north Nebraska will be able to experience windblown snow and perhaps even some near-blizzard conditions around Wednesday night. The buildup should be very small, but visibility could be severely affected by the combination of strong winds and light snow.
Since the low pressure system is finally slipping away from us and the wind is easing, we will experience cooler temperatures until Thursday – but still above average for mid-December. Look out for highs that drop to around 50 Â° on Thursday in the 1940s and back again on Friday.
The expanded forecast generally keeps temperatures above average, with our coldest day coming on Saturday, with temperatures dropping into the teens early in the day and mid-30s in the afternoon.
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