"A great wind is blowing, giving you
either imagination or a headache."
- Attributed to Catherine The Great,
Ruler of the Russian Empire from 1762 to 1796
8:00 AM EST Saturday 2/19/2011 - Bob Dylan would have agreed with Ms. Catherine, great winds are certainly blowing across the nation in more ways than one, and the times they are a'changin. High Wind Warnings (orange) and Wind Advisories are in effect today for areas covering tens of millions of people in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast today. Sustained winds of 25 mph or greater are expected, with gusts over 50 mph common. The departure of a low pressure system into central Canada in combination with a sprawling high pressure system nosing into the U.S. from western Canada has produced this strong northwesterly flow behind last night's cold front. Whether it is windy or not in your region, the dry conditions have led to countless small brush fires yesterday in the East, thus NWS forecast offices have Red Flag Warnings still in effect for the Carolinas and Virginia, as well as west Texas into New Mexico.
IN THE MID-WEST AND WESTERN STATES Though conditions are "only" cold and windy in north central U.S., that will soon change as well. A blanket of Winter Storm Warnings (pink) encompass the Northern Plains to the Upper Great Lakes regions, in anticipation of heavy snow from a vigorous low pressure system just now moving across southern California. Significantly colder temperatures are anticipated for the western third of the U.S. for most of next week, as shown in this graphic from the U.S. Hazards Assessment.