Sunday, December 21, 2014

West Coast Two Years Away From Early Earthquake Detection System

Eric Zerkel
Published: December 20,2014

West Coast states with the highest risk for earthquakes are just two years and additional funding away from an early earthquake warning system that would give the states' residents precious seconds to prepare for an earthquake's worst shaking.
Washington, Oregon and California would be the initial recipients of such a system, which uses a network of sensors to detect the initial, harmless waves of an earthquake to warn people of the advancing damaging waves.
The system works like this: Data from the initial waves is transmitted from sensors to an early warning command center to determine the estimated location and magnitude of the quake. That information is then relayed to your phone, computer or television to warn you  that potentially destructive shaking from surface waves is just seconds away, the USGS reports.
(MORE: A $50 Billion Disaster Waiting to Happen)
Scientists with the U.S. Geological survey say that it will take two years to roll out and test all of the sensors necessary to construct an accurate early warning system on the West Coast. However, before any of that can happen, funding issues need to be ironed-out.
“It’s our estimate that once the full funding arrives, we’ll be able to roll out to the public release in about two years,” Doug Given, earthquake early warning coordinator for the USGS, told the Los Angeles Times.
Officials estimate that it would cost $38.3 million to complete the early warning system and another $16.1 million a year to operate and maintain it, the USGS reports.
As the Los Angeles Times notes, the U.S. Congress just approved $5 million for the early warning system, which will keep progress on the system from halting in summer 2015. An additional $6 million in funding for the system came from a private grant.
Still, there's a considerable funding gap, and now federal government officials are hoping the $5 million federal pledge will help stimulate funding action from state officials and private companies,  too.
"We must get it done before the next major earthquake strikes," Senator Dianne Feinstein said in an a statement.
(MORE: NASA Satellites Spot Dramatic Change On Earth)
The USGS has been working on an earthquake early warning system since 2006 and successfully launched a test system to a select group of users in California known as ShakeAlert in 2012, the agency notes. ShakeAlert issued a warning 10 seconds ahead of northern California's magnitude-6.0 earthquake in August, warning of "light-shaking," the Los Angeles Daily News reports.
Shaking from the quake ended up being much more severe, causing considerable damage across northern California, particularly in Napa, where the total price tag of the quake reached an estimated $1 billion, the Napa Valley Register reports.
The funding would help improve the accuracy and timeliness of the ShakeAlert system and would warn Washington and Oregon, too.
Other countries with a propensity for earthquakes, like Japan, have long since had early earthquake warning systems. Japan's system, implemented in 2007, is considered the most advanced early warning system in the world.
The system famously warned residents just 5 seconds after 2011's magnitude-9.0 quake occurred, the strongest in Japan's history, giving residents precious time to prepare for the quake's powerful shaking.
MORE: Northern California's August 2014 Earthquake

Megabus Flips on I-65 in Indiana, Injuries Reported

Eric Zerkel
Published: December 20,2014

This is a breaking news story. Check back for the latest updates on the Megabus crash. 
A Megabus traveling from Chicago to Atlanta flipped on a slick I-65 near Seymour, Indiana, early Saturday morning, injuring an unknown number of people,  Indiana State Police said.
"You don't need a major winter storm to lead to significant impacts on roads," said senior meteorologist Jon Erdman. "In this case, light snow was falling, and there appears to have been some very light, slushy accumulation on I-65."
The bus flipped on its side near the 55 mile marker of northbound I-65, shutting down lanes while emergency responders worked to assist the injured, Fox 59 reports.  The Indiana State Police told the Associated Press that the injuries were "minor" and "not life-threatening."
A total number of injured has yet to be released, but Jackson County Emergency Medical Services supervisor Roger Wheeler told The Tribune that there were "numerous" injuries.
"I brought in four and another ambulance brought in six," Wheeler told the paper. "There were so many that were walking and wounded that I lost count."
There's no word yet on what caused the bus to flip.
In an eerily similar accident in October, a Megabus traveling from Atlanta to Chicago flipped onto its side while trying to avoid another vehicle on a slick I-65 in the Indianapolis area. Eighteen people were injured in that accident.

7 Hospitalized After Lightning Strike at Tampa Bay's Raymond James Stadium

Carolyn Williams
Published: December 21,2014

Seven people were hospitalized after lightning struck in Lot 14 of Tampa Bay's Raymond James Stadium late Sunday afternoon.
The strike occurred after the Buccaneers game, around 4:15 p.m., according to ABC Action News.
Tampa Fire Rescue and other emergency crews were dispatched to the scene around 4:20 p.m., WFLA-TV reported.
Lt. Douglas Groves, spokesperson for the City of Tampa Police Department, said the victims were transported to St. Joseph's Hospital. Six of the patients suffered minor injuries, and a seventh was in trauma. The patients' injuries were reported to be non-life threatening.
Eyewitnesses took to social media to recount the scene:
There is currently no word on the identities of the patients.
Dr. Marshall Shepherd, host of The Weather Channel show WxGeeks and former president of the American Meteorological Society, echoed the sentiments of many professional meteorologists in a tweet Sunday afternoon:
This is a developing story. We will continue to provide updates regarding the ongoing situation.


By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:23PM,GMT on December 21,2014

By Steve Gregory substituting for Jeff Masters
21-DEC-14 (Next Update TUESDAY – DEC 23 on my own Blog)


Above normal Temps continue to persist across much of the nation, but will begin trending back to normal later this week, with below normal Temps likely to develop from west to east after starting next weekend and continuing into the New Year. .

A large scale long wave TROF will be forming over North America as the week progresses, with a strong vorticity Max forcing the development of a large area of locally heavy precip in the southeastern US by late Monday, with a storm system expected to form along the Gulf coast. This storm will move northward into the eastern Great Lakes by XMAS, with a warm flow along the east coast (including New England) and locally heavy rains. While some snow may fall on the back side of the storm across the western Great Lakes and upper Ohio Valley – total amounts are not expected to be heavy.

Although a cold flow will become established following this storm, it will take some time for deep arctic air to develop over Canada, so Temps will be close to normal going next weekend, before falling below normal during the week just prior to New Years. The latest global model runs continue to show large run-to-run forecast variations on just how long and how cold it will be during the first 10 days of JAN – as the atmosphere has taken on an El Niño like flow, with some indications that a southern branch of the flow from the Pacific will be undercutting the main TROF over North America during the first half of JAN, limiting the extent, and at times the intensity, of the arctic air surge into the U.S.

Further out, due to the large swings in model projections in the longer ranges, exactly what the pattern will be in JAN is nothing more than a toss-up at this point. That said, with the continuing oscillation of the major teleconnection forecasts (AO, NAO, and PNA) every 2-3 weeks, a small uptick again in Equatorial SST’s in the Niño regions, the continuing negative North Pacific decadal SST pattern, and uncertainty on the strength of the next MJO signal now evolving over the Indian Ocean - a forecast for a ‘highly variable’ (El Niño like) pattern, with large swings in Temp anomalies during JAN seems to be the most likely outcome at this time; along with several more significant rain events in drought stricken California Ca. (More information on the impact of MJO, El Niño and the Pacific decadal oscillation can be found on numerous postings on my own Blog over the past month and the last Winter Outlook posted here and on my Blog.)

CLICK BOTTOM IMAGE to open full size image in new window

Fig 1: The various global model forecasts valid on the evening of DEC 30... There are very large differences in model projections at 10 Days out with equally large variations in the projected Temps – especially during Week 2. The GFS is actually the coldest, while the ‘New’ GFS (which goes online in mid JAN) is the ‘mildest’ of last nights' runs. OTH, the European and Canadian models imply stormier weather during Week 2, with the European model warmer than the GFS but colder than the Canadian. The latest GFS run (not shown) is similar to last nights 00Z run, and has been largely accepted when developing the Temp anomaly forecasts. Nonetheless, the result is a high uncertainty for Temp anomalies during the first week in JAN – though the odds favor solidly below normal Temps across the nation.

Fig 2: The above chart shows High Temps reported yesterday across North America. Note that sub-zero readings are confined to the high arctic in northern Canada and the interior of Alaska (where DEC Temps have averaged 5°-15° above normal so far). Though the upper level flow favors much colder air moving into the US later this week, it will take 4-67 days for deeper, arctic air to develop over Canada first, before plunging into the U.S.

Fig 3: The GFS Ensemble forecasts for the NAO, AO and PNA Teleconnections out thru 14 days. There is an extremely large divergence in the forecasts for the AO and NAO during the last 6 days of the forecast period, with very large implications for Temp anomalies during the first half of JAN. (A Negative AO and NAO imply below normal Temps over the eastern half of the nation – while Positive values imply warmer than normal.)

Fig 4: The SSt anomalies across the Pacific show a continuation of well above normal values from the northern most Pacific/Gulf of Alaska to the eastern Pacific, with a currently weak El Niño event in progress, and a wedge of cold water from off the coast of Japan eastward across much of the North Pacific. The atmosphere has responded to this SST anomaly pattern during the last 3+ weeks with an El Niño like flow (which I expected when developing my Winter Outlook). This type of flow brought the unusually long lasting mild pattern this month along with the heavy rain events to California. This SST anomaly pattern is no doubt contributing to the large divergences in model solutions for periods beyond 7-10 days exhibited by all global models for over a week now.

Fig 5: The SST and Wind anomalies over the Equatorial Pacific continue to show an El Niño event in progress. After Temps fell off a bit around the start of DEC due to the upwelling phase of a passing Kelvin wave – they have begun to warm again as the down-welling phase of a Kelvin wave and weaker than normal Trades have again developed in the EPAC. It appears the Niño 3.4 region will see SST anomalies approach +1.0° by the start of JAN – regardless of how the next MJO cycle evolves. (Whether the SST’s remain above normal in FEB, however, is at least partially related to the next MJO cycle.)

Fig 6: The above Temperature forecasts are based STRICTLY on the GFS MOS model data sets which call for above normal Temps nationwide on average during the week ahead, but anomalies have decreased considerably from the past 2 weeks and will fall to near zero or slightly below normal by next Sunday.

Fig 7: The Week 2 Temperature ANOMALY forecast is based on the 12Z run of the HI-RES operational GFS (90%) integrated with the 00Z EURO model (5%), & 12Z GFS ensemble mean (5%) - using the projected pattern, along with the GFS surface and 850mb Temperature forecasts. Some Temp forecasts are adjusted for known or expected anomalous thermal patterns and/or projected storm systems. Though solidly below normal Temps will dominate much of the nation, there is still significant uncertainty in the daily Temp forecasts after Day 10. This is due to large variations in the models’ upper air projections – and an equally large uncertainty on where and how much additional snow cover there will be by the opening days of JAN. Therefore, Confidence in the general Temp anomaly pattern and its absolute values, is below average, with a rating of ‘2’ on a Scale of ‘1-5’.

✭ The next Weather Update will be issued TUESDAY – DEC 23 on my own Blog


Weather Underground National Forecast for Sunday,December 21,2014

By: nationalsummary , 11:00PM,GMT on December 20,2014

Weather Underground Forecast for Sunday,December 21,2014

A low pressure system will impact the Northwest on Sunday, while unsettled weather will persist across the Southeast.

A low pressure system will move east southeastward over southwest Canada and the upper Intermountain West. A cold frontal boundary associated with this system will extend southwestward. Heavy rain and mountain snow will continue to develop across the Pacific Northwest. Heavy rain could lead to flash flooding along the coasts of southwest Washington, western Oregon and northwest California. Heavy snow showers are also forecast for the northern Cascades, especially along western facing mountain slopes. In addition, widespread heavy snow showers will affect the northern and central Rockies, while a mixture of rain and snow will develop across the northern tier of the Great Basin. Snow accumulations will range between 6.0 to 12.0 inches across favorable mountain slopes. A ridge of high pressure over the eastern Pacific will keep weather conditions pleasant from southern California to the southern Plains.

A disturbance over the Gulf of Mexico will trigger rain and thunderstorms across the central and eastern Gulf Coast, the Southeast and the southern Mid-Atlantic. To the north, a light mixture of rain and snow will be possible over the coast of New England.

Meanwhile, there will be a slight chance of freezing rain over the Dakotas during the late afternoon and evening hours of Sunday. Light, scattered snow showers will also be possible over the upper Midwest.

This Date in Weather History for December 21,2014 from

Weather History
For Sunday,December 21,2014
1892 - Portland, OR, was buried under a record 27.5 inches of snow. (21st-24th) (The Weather Channel)
1929 - An exceptional storm produced snow from the Middle Rio Grande Valley of Texas to southern Arkansas. The storm produced 26 inches of snow at Hillsboro TX, 18 inches at El Dorado AR, and 14 inches at Bossier LA. (21st-22nd) (David Ludlum) (The Weather Channel)
1964 - A great warm surge from the Pacific Ocean across Oregon and northern California brought torrential rains on a deep snow cover resulting in record floods. (David Ludlum)
1987 - High winds continued along the eastern slopes of the Rockies. During the morning hours winds gusted to 64 mph at Cheyenne WY, and reached 97 mph near Boulder CO. Gale force winds prevailed across the Great Lakes Region. (The National Weather Summary) (Storm Data)
1988 - Seven cities in the eastern U.S. reported record high temperatures for the date, including Charleston SC with a reading of 78 degrees. A storm in the northwestern U.S. produced 22 inches of snow at Idaho City ID in two days, and up to two feet of snow at Happy Camp CA. Ski resorts in Idaho reported three to six feet of snow on the ground. (The National Weather Summary) (Storm Data)
1989 - Forty cities in the north central U.S., including thirteen in Iowa, reported record low temperatures for the date. Havre and Jordan, MT, tied for honors as the cold spot in the nation with morning lows of 43 degrees below zero, and the temperature remained close to 40 degrees below zero through the daylight hours. Dickinson ND reported a morning low of 33 degrees below zero and a wind chill reading of 86 degrees below zero. The high for the date of 16 degrees below zero at Sioux Falls SD was December record for that location. (The National Weather Summary)
1998 - Cold air spread into the southern San Joaquin Valley of California. For the next four nights, temperatures in the agricultural portions of Fresno, Tulare, and Kern counties dropped below 28 degrees for several hours at a time. In some locations, temperatures dipped into the teens. The California citrus industry suffered more than $600 million in damages due to the extreme cold.

The Year's 'Strangest' Meteor Shower to Radiate Near the North Star

By Michael Kuhne, Staff Writer
December 21,2014; 10:30PM,EST
As the skies darken Monday night, stargazers will have the chance to witness the streaking glow of the Ursid Meteor Shower, which will radiate from near Polaris.
"The Ursids may be the strangest meteor shower of all," Slooh Astronomer Bob Berman said. "It's the only one where the shooting stars seem to radiate from very near Polaris, the North Star."
For those wanting to view the meteors outdoors while listening to Slooh's live broadcast Monday night, a location far removed from city lights with a position facing the northern sky is recommend, according to a Slooh press release.

Those planning to the view the meteor shower outdoors should also wear warm clothing and pack blankets for additional warmth to protect against the cold. will broadcast the celestial event live from their flagship observatory at the Institute of Astrophysics, Canary Islands and later from Prescott, Arizona, at Prescott Observatory, utilizing advanced low-light imaging equipment, specifically configured to track meteors
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Much of the eastern half of the United States will have poor-viewing conditions Monday night due to clouds from a disturbance across the upper Midwest and a coastal storm near the mid-Atlantic, according to Meteorologist Jordan Root.
"The best viewing conditions will be across the Southwest where skies will be crystal clear," he said.
Folks across southern Texas and parts of the central Plains may see extended breaks in the clouds that could offer some viewing time. Watch the event live at 8 p.m. EST:

The Ursids are the only meteor shower in which the best direction to view the event is due north, Berman added.
"It also boasts the slowest-moving meteors, which cross the sky at only half the speed of the more famous summer Perseids," he said. "These oddities make up for their skimpy numbers. It honestly takes a bit of patience to observe them, as they only appear once every six to twelve minutes."

On Social Media
AccuFan #Weather Photo of the Day: Cold Dec. Day in RI by "ANGPAYAG" on 12/12 #photoofth...
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Seattle: Wet Weather to Continue Through Christmas Eve

By Michael Kuhne, Staff Writer
December 21,2014; 10:23PM,EST
The wet weather pattern across the Seattle area will continue through the week, creating poor travel conditions in the region ahead of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Temperatures will hover near the 50 F mark through the Seattle area leading up to Christmas Day, but those planning holiday travel should expect some snow east of the Cascades and in mountain passes.
Average December rainfall for Seattle is just over 5 inches. As of Dec. 21, the city had received 3.48 inches since the start of the month. With more rain on the way, it is likely that Seattle will finish the month near-normal with respect to rainfall amounts.

"A persistent onshore flow from the Pacific Ocean will bring a few plumes of moisture with isolated to scattered bouts of showers and mountain snow," Meteorologists Erik Pindrock said.
RELATED: Winter Weather Center
Seattle Radar
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The wettest day will be Christmas Eve as a strong storm moves ashore, bringing a steadier period of rain and mountain snow into the nighttime hours, he added.

"By Christmas Day, some breaks of sunshine are expected with just a few lingering snow showers possible in the Cascades," Pindrock said.
Looking ahead into the weekend, drier weather will make a return.

On Social Media
@Brenda_J123 Saw your tweet about AccuWeather MinuteCast; want to tell you about the sweepstakes @
AccuFan #Weather Photo of the Day: Cold Dec. Day in RI by "ANGPAYAG" on 12/12 #photoofth...

Snow to Spread Over Interior Northwest for Christmas

By Brian Lada, Meteorologist
December 21,2014; 10:22PM,EST
People who are dreaming of a white Christmas across the interior Northwest may see their dreams come true this year as another storm is set to impact the region just in time for the holiday.
A major snowstorm is not expected to unfold for the holidays, but the storm will still bring a blanket of snow to areas east of the Cascade Mountain Range and into part of the Plains.
Those west of the Cascades from Seattle, Washington, through Medford, Oregon, can count on rain rather than snow, washing away the hopes of having a white Christmas.
However, this storm is not expected to bring nearly as much rain as the storm that soaked the region over the weekend.

The storm will begin to impact the region late on Tuesday with rain moving into western Washington before evolving into widespread rain and snow for Wednesday.
This can lead to poor weather for travelers and for the last-minute holiday shoppers rushing out to the stores.

By Christmas Day, the storm will shift over the Rocky Mountains and part of the northern Plains with only spotty rain showers lingering over the Northwest.
This will be the greatest chance for Salt Lake City, Utah; Billings, Montana; Casper, Wyoming; and Rapid City, South Dakota, to pick up a few inches of snow.
People headed out on Thursday in this part of the country should allow for some extra time to reach their destination as the snow can lead to slick roadways and slowed traffic.
Know when the rain and snow will start for your exact location by using AccuWeather MinuteCast® for your location.
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Dry weather is in the forecast in the days following Christmas across both the Northwest and the northern Rockies. This will result in much better travel weather conditions than the days leading up to the holiday.
The only fly in the ointment is the potential for another storm to bring some light rain to the Northwest again over the weekend.

On Social Media
Karen Anderson
Snow on the ground and another storm coming - but will we see a White Christmas? @MetMikeWCVB's holiday forecast on #wcvb this morning
Matthew Hladio
Cold air on the back side of the storm will change rain showers to snow showers overnight into Christmas morning.
Though we don't have snow here in Namibia during the Christmas holidays, we do have beautiful evening storms to...

British Isles, Northern Europe Staying Wet and Windy into Christmas

By Eric Leister, Meteorologist
December 21,2014; 10:21PM,EST
A series of fast-moving storm systems will continue the theme of unsettled weather from Ireland and the United Kingdom through northern Europe through Christmas.
While no one particular storm will cause widespread damage or travel disruptions, each will produce showers, gusty winds and put temperatures on a roller coaster ride.
The showers will occasionally occur as or be mixed with snow in the higher terrain of the British Isles, as well as parts of Scandinavia and northeastern Europe.
Gusty winds will howl even when dry weather prevails, especially near the coastlines.

The next storm AccuWeather meteorologists expected to bring impacts to this region has already made its presence felt on Sunday across the British Isles as wind gusted near 65 kph (40 mph) in many areas. In some coastal areas and higher terrain gusts topped 80 kph (50 mph).
Similar wind speeds are expected to spread to the east on Sunday night and Monday from Germany and southern Scandinavia into Belarus and western Ukraine.
Not only will this bring system bring gusty winds, there will also be rainy conditions along the length of a frontal boundary across the region. Snow and ice is expected in eastern Europe as moisture pushes into colder air.
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Although this system will bring windy and at times wet weather, it will usher in a milder air mass from the Atlantic Ocean. This is especially true in eastern Europe where a deep trough of low pressure recently brought chilly conditions. In Warsaw, the high temperature struggled to reach 5 C (41 F) on Sunday, but could reach 9 C (48 F) on Monday which is well above average.
The mild air will likely not last as another cold front is expected to open the door for fresh cool air to spill across the British Isles and northern Europe by Christmas.
Contributions by Meteorologist Adam Douty

On Social Media
NWS Gaylord
Mild and wet weather will return to northern Michigan through the first half of the Christmas holiday week, with...
Series of fast moving storm systems forecast for British Isles, Northern Europe -- Earth Changes --…
British Isles, Northern Europe to Stay Unsettled into Christmas. Story:
Eric Fisher
For New England, timing continues to slow down on Christmas Eve storm's departure. Looks like it may stay wet into Christmas morning.

Holiday Travelers to Face Delays as Christmas Eve Storm Eyes Two Dozen States

By , Expert Senior Meteorologist
December 21,2014; 10:14PM,EST
A storm bearing strong winds, heavy snow, torrential rain, thunderstorms and fog will converge on the Northeast and Midwest on Christmas Eve and will likely create major travel delays, both on the roads and at airports.
The early stages of travel problems from patchy rain and fog will develop on Tuesday. The most widespread travel disruptions and the worst weather conditions in terms of windswept rain and travel-impairing snow will be centered on Christmas Eve.

Problems due to snow and wind will continue in the Upper Midwest and central Appalachians into Christmas Day.
Jump to: Fog, Low Clouds to Reduce Visibility in Great Lakes and East | Drenching Rain to Raise Flooding Risk in Northeast | Strong Winds Could be a Snag for Airline Passengers | Strong Thunderstorms May Affect the South | Snow to Create Hazardous Travel in Midwest, Appalachians and Ohio Valley
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Fog, Low Clouds to Reduce Visibility in Great Lakes and East
As warmer air surges northward with the rain, the risk of travel delays due to fog will increase.
According to AccuWeather Chief Meteorologist Elliot Abrams, "Areas and episodes of fog can be a problem for travelers in the Midwest and Northeast spanning Tuesday into Wednesday night."

Low ceilings and fog could lead to flight delays at times from Detroit and Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, New York City and Boston.
Drenching Rain to Raise Flooding Risk in Northeast
For many people traveling by ground and air, rain will be an inconvenience. However, enough rain can fall at times to cause poor visibility and increase the risk of hydroplaning for those traveling at highway speeds.
Excess water on the roads will reduce the braking action and increase the distance required between vehicles in an emergency situation.
Heavy rainfall in the Midwest will tend to be spotty, but as the storm moves northward on Christmas Eve, heavy rain will become widespread progressing through the mid-Atlantic and New England.

Enough rain can fall to cause urban and poor drainage flooding in the I-95 mid-Atlantic and southern New England corridor on Wednesday into Wednesday night.
Check the start and stop times of rain, including when the most intense rain will arrive, using AccuWeather MinuteCast® for your location.
According to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Henry Margusity, "We are concerned about rapidly melting snow, combined with heavy rain leading to a stream and river flooding situation in northern New England."
Strong Winds Could be a Snag for Airline Passengers
One of the most common causes of flight delays is strong winds, especially where they blow perpendicular to runways.
Gusty winds blowing from the south and east may lead to flight delays in the mid-Atlantic, New England and eastern Great Lakes region Tuesday night and Wednesday.
Increasing winds from the west and northwest may cause similar problems throughout the Midwest on Christmas Eve with the risk expanding to the mid-Atlantic and Northeast on Christmas Day.
The strongest winds are likely in New England late Wednesday into Thursday, when gusts could reach 60 mph along the coast and over mountains across the interior. Gusts could approach 40 mph around New York City Wednesday night.
These strong winds can also lead to coastal flooding from the coast of New Jersey all the way up the coast of Maine.
This can result in flooded roadways and properties located along the immediate coast.
Turbulence during and in the wake of the storm could be a problem on some flights.
Strong Thunderstorms May Affect the South
The storm system will become strong enough to produce drenching and gusty thunderstorms in the Deep South.
The strongest storms are likely to develop on Tuesday but will still affect the holiday season as travelers take to the road days in advance.
"The atmosphere will be primed for strong to severe thunderstorms along the Gulf Coast and in the Southeast on Tuesday," said Meteorologist Ben Noll.
Blinding rainfall and gusty winds will make for difficult driving conditions for any motorists caught out in these storms.
"While the most likely impact will be strong and damaging winds, a few tornadoes cannot be ruled out," added Noll.
The concern for these thunderstorms is greatest from eastern Louisiana and Mississippi to Florida and South Carolina.
Gusty storms will span the eastern seaboard once again on Wednesday but the threat will be much lower.
Snow to Create Hazardous Travel in Midwest, Appalachians and Ohio Valley
While much of the South, mid-Atlantic and New England will be spared travel problems from snow with this storm, significant travel delays and dangers will develop in the Midwest and perhaps the Appalachians from Christmas Eve through Christmas Day.
The greatest risk for snow-related delays will be across Michigan and into parts of Indiana and Ohio.
It is during the transition to colder air following rain, when the greatest dangers for travelers may develop farther south.
While not a huge amount of snow is forecast for the Ohio Valley states, the lower Great Lakes and central Appalachians with the storm itself, snow showers or a quick burst of snow could lead to a rapid covering of snow on the highways.
From parts of Illinois, Kentucky and lower Michigan, eastward to western Pennsylvania, western New York and West Virginia, motorists should be prepared for rapidly changing weather conditions on Christmas Eve. This could occur during the day over the Midwest and toward evening around the central Appalachians as temperatures fall.
Check AccuWeather MinuteCast® for your location before heading out on the roads. It will show you the start and stop times of precipitation over the next two hours, and it will show you when rain will change over to snow.
Lake-effect snow showers are likely to follow in the wake of the storm on Christmas Day.

There is the potential for snow heavy snowfall accumulations where the bands of lake-effect persist in northern Indiana, southwestern and northern Michigan, northern Wisconsin, northeastern Ohio, northwestern Pennsylvania and western and northern New York state.
Meanwhile, as a storm targets the Midwest and Northeast on Christmas Eve into Christmas Day, a storm will also roll through part of the West with areas of heavy snow around the same time.

On Social Media
Lindsay MilbourneFOX
A warm stretch turns muggy into mid wk. Best chance of steady rain/storms late Tue/mid afternoon Christmas Eve #flwx
Storm Team 2 is watching a system that could bring wind, rain, and measurable snow to #Buffalo Christmas week…
Sean Ash
Some sun Sunday, wet Tuesday, wind-whipped snow Christmas Eve & White Christmas still possible #INwx #Indy

Wet, Unsettled Weather Continues in Atlanta

By Mark Leberfinger, Staff Writer
December 21,2014; 10:09PM,EST
Soggy weather will be the rule in the run-up to Christmas in the Atlanta area.
"Rain could cause slow travel on the roads and delays at Hartsfield-Jackson late Tuesday into Tuesday night," Meteorologist Michael Doll said.
"It will turn cooler Christmas Eve, but the rain will be out of the area by sunset."

RELATED: Winter Weather Center
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Track the incoming rain to your precise location and stay alert to rapidly changing conditions by using MinuteCast® if you are traveling or headed outside.
Rain will end Christmas Eve morning but the temperature will fall into the 40s after being near 60 F for the first half of the week.
Christmas Day will feature dry conditions under the influence of plenty of sunshine.
A shower may return to the area by late Friday night.

On Social Media
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Jesse Ferrell
Lightning injures 11 at football game near Tampa, FL this afternoon. MAP:
AccuFan #Weather Photo of the Day: Cold December Day In Rhode Island by "ANGPAYAG"

Harrisburg: Christmas Eve Storm to Affect Holiday Travel This Week

By Jordan Root, Meteorologist
December 21,2014; 10:02PM,EST
Holiday travel will be at risk across the central Pennsylvania and the Harrisburg area this week as a strong storm takes shape and blasts through the Northeast.
Heavy rain, strong winds, low clouds and poor visibility will be featured at times during the holiday week, increasing the risk for extended stays at the local hubs.
"Moisture streaming into the area ahead of the approaching storm system will lead to areas of drizzle through Tuesday," said Meteorologist Brian Edwards.

Some of that drizzle could freeze on surfaces early Tuesday morning, especially for areas north and west of the city.
Drizzle and low cloud ceilings will threaten those with holiday air travel plans as well as those taking to the road. Motorists should be prepared to face low visibility in their travels across the region.
Folks heading out to do any last minute shopping will be faced with dreary weather and may need a light rain jacket or umbrella.
After a weekend with high temperatures in the 30s, the stiff southerly breeze will send thermometers into the upper 40s and lower 50s this week with the warmest day coming on Christmas Eve.
Detailed Harrisburg Forecast
Harrisburg Interactive Weather Radar MinuteCast™ for Harrisburg

However, heavy rain will accompany the warmth on Wednesday and may cause localized flooding.
"Steadier and heavier rain will fall Wednesday and Wednesday night," said Edwards.
The heavier rain will lead to a heightened risk of hydroplaning so folks are urged to travel at lower speeds during downpours.
Strong winds will persist into Christmas day but there will be some improvements to the forecast. Dry weather will return on Thursday along with some sunshine as well.

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On this day in 1999 San Francisco, CA hit 70 degrees, smashing the old record for the date of 64 degrees set in 1969. #wxhistory
AccuFan #Weather Photo of the Day: NY Snow 12/13 by "theview" #photooftheday

Pittsburgh: Christmas Eve Storm to Affect Holiday Travel This Week

By Jordan Root, Meteorologist
December 21,2014; 10:01PM,EST
Holiday travel will be at risk across the Pittsburgh area this week as a strong storm takes shape and blasts through the Northeast.
Heavy rain, strong winds, low clouds and poor visibility will be featured at times during the holiday week, increasing the risk for extended stays at the local hubs.
"Moisture streaming into the area ahead of the approaching storm system will lead to areas of drizzle through Tuesday," said Meteorologist Brian Edwards.

Drizzle and low cloud ceilings will threaten those with holiday air travel plans as well as those taking to the road. Motorists should be prepared to face low visibility in their travels across the region.
Folks heading out to do any last minute shopping will be faced with dreary weather and may need a light rain jacket or umbrella.
After a weekend with high temperatures in the 30s, the stiff southerly breeze will send thermometers into the 50s for a couple days this week with the warmest day coming on Christmas Eve.
Detailed Pittsburgh Forecast
Pittsburgh Interactive Weather Radar MinuteCast™ for Pittsburgh

However, heavy rain will accompany the warmth late on Wednesday and may cause localized flooding.
"Steadier and heavier rain will fall Wednesday and Wednesday night," said Edwards.
The heavier rain will lead to a heightened risk of hydroplaning so folks are urged to travel at lower speeds during downpours.
As colder air moves in Wendesday night, some flakes may mix in with the rain and could create slippery spots on area roadways.
Snow showers will linger through Christmas day north of Pittsburgh and also in the Laurels but any snow shower activity around Pittsburgh will likely come to an end in the morning. Strong winds will persist all day.

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Jesse Ferrell
Lightning injures 11 at football game near Tampa, FL this afternoon. MAP:
AccuFan #Weather Photo of the Day: Cold Dec. Day in RI by "ANGPAYAG" on 12/12 #photoofth...
Erik Pindrock
25 days...that's the # of days with at least a trace of snow @ PSU so far this cold season. 1st full day of astronomical winter is tomorrow.
AccuFan #Weather Photo of the Day: Cold December Day In Rhode Island by "ANGPAYAG" on 12/12/14 http:...
Frank Strait
In other news, the days start getting longer tomorrow and it's less than a month until normals start going up.
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Frank Strait
Winter just started, unless you believe that it started back on December 1. <sarcasm>I don't know anyone like that, do you?</sarcasm>
Cory Mottice
Geminid meteors over the San Francisco Peaks in Arizona with light pollution from Flagstaff. #sharingsunday