Linked here is an interesting read on the Rapid City, S.D., blizzard and the struggles of weather service forecasters — not getting paid during the government shutdown — to even reach the forecast office to do their jobs.
What used to be Tropical Storm Karen is going to throw a curveball that could well turn the next several days’ weather in a much different direction than earlier expected. The previous expectation was that the cold front that moved through would bring a couple of days of cool, dry weather with some chilly mornings, then the prevailing upper-level ridge over the Southeast would re-establish itself and we’d be back in a warmer than normal but dry pattern as we were last week. But the loose circulation that remains from Karen is combining with some upper-level energy swinging through the jet stream trough that pushed the cold front though to spin up a new low off the Georgia-Florida coast that will meander north-northeastward along the East Coast. This low will not be tropical, so will not continue the name Karen or gain a new one, but it is something of continuation of the enigmatic Gulf storm. The low may stay just far enough east that our region does not get much, if any, of its rain, but combined with high pressure to the northeast, it will keep winds blowing in a northeasterly manner that will bank cooler air against our mountains for the remainder of this week. Highs may not reach 70 again over most of the area west of Roanoke, and will struggle to do so even in the Roanoke Valley south and east, with lows in the 40s and 50s, mostly. Many models now show a fairly weak upper-level low becoming cut off near our region through the coming weekend into next week, or at least, an upper-level trough only slowly lifting out. As a result, any thoughts of rebuilding warmth similar to last week seem to be on hold, and may be scuttled altogether, as there are some signals of the change to an overall cooler pattern in another week to 10 days.