By Alex Sosnowski, AccuWeather senior meteorologist
December 28, 2018, 3:23:11 AM EST
As the final hours of 2018 wind down and 2019 begins, a large storm will spread rainy and mild conditions over much of the eastern part of the nation.
The storm around New Year’s Eve will follow a storm with mostly rain into Friday night in the East.
“A lack of Arctic air from the South Central states to New England will cause most of the precipitation from the storm on Monday to Tuesday to fall as rain,” according to AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson.
Revelers from New Orleans to Nashville, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York City and Boston should be prepared for wet weather if they will be heading out to parties or spending time outdoors for First Night activities.
The heaviest rain with the storm at the end of 2018 will focus from the central Gulf coast to the Tennessee and Ohio valleys to parts of the southern Appalachians.
A general 1-3 inches of rain is forecast with local amounts to 5 inches possible.
This is enough rain to cause urban and small stream flooding. Significant rises are anticipated on some of the major rivers in the region, which have already spilled out of their banks and remain unusually high for this time of the year.
However, temperatures are forecast to surge with the front side of the storm.
The highest temperatures during the period from Monday to Tuesday may occur Monday night or Tuesday morning, due to the path and timing of the storm.
While a few pockets of ice and snow can occur over the northern tier of New England and New York state at the onset of the storm, the bulk of this storm will be rain even in those normally cold locations.
Temperatures are forecast to climb well above freezing in northern New England and into the 40s and 50s F across much of the upper mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes and the 50s and 60s farther south.
Compared to last year at the same time, when frigid conditions gripped many areas, temperatures may be 20 to 40 degrees higher in much of the East.
A New York City police officer stands near revelers gathered on Times Square in New York, Sunday, Dec. 31, 2017, during New Year’s Eve celebrations that took place in frigid weather conditions. The AccuWeather forecast is for warmer, but wet conditions on New Year’s Eve 2018. (AP Photo/Craig Ruttle)
Download the free AccuWeather app to see what the temperature and weather will be like in your area on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
As the storm moves along, dry air is likely to sweep from west to east across much of the eastern part of the nation on New Year’s Day. Rain may still start the day in New England and along the mid-Atlantic coast.
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Travel trouble related to strong winds may arise over the Midwest initially then spread eastward across the Appalachians and Atlantic coast during the afternoon and evening on New Year’s Day.
People with flights during this time may experience airline delays and have to deal with turbulence.
As colder air wraps in on the back side of the storm, there may also be spotty snow first from the Great Lakes, then to parts of the Ohio Valley and central Appalachians later in the day and at night.
Expect much colder conditions during Tuesday and Tuesday night in the Midwest and in much of the East during Tuesday night and Wednesday, according to AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Meteorologist Paul Pastelok.
“It will feel like January by the middle of the week and may pave the way for the next storm that rolls along to bring much more snow and ice in part of the interior South and perhaps the Northeast, when compared to recent storms,” Pastelok said.
The pattern during the first part of January is likely to bring more temperature swings, but cold air may be more potent and persistent, which may result in wintry travel for more places as storms continue to move through.
2018 was a record breaking year for extreme weather events and storms. Extreme Meteorologist and Storm Chaser Reed Timmer talked to us about his top 5 chases of the year. He discussed some of his most dangerous experiences, what it’s like to be out in the field, and the moments he’ll never forget!
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