The nation's weather

AP News
Posted: Dec 25, 2009 4:46 AM

A major storm was forecast to continue moving through the eastern third of the country on Friday, starting in the Mississippi Valley then traveling northward into the Plains as the day progressed.

It was expected to produce widespread heavy rain and areas of freezing rain in the Southeast and through southern New England. The precipitation was forecast to spread northward as the front moved toward the eastern seaboard later in the day.

Frigid air was forecast to pour into the Plains behind the storm, providing a cold Christmas Day for the middle portion of the country. A large amount of snow was expected to fall on the northern Plains. Winter Storm Warnings were posted in anticipation of this precipitation.

The storm was expected to be so intense that strong winds would likely blow the freshly fallen snow into blizzard conditions.

The West, on the other hand, was likely to experience a dry day as it remained under the influence of a ridge of high pressure.

The Northeast was forecast to rise into the 20s and 30s, while the Southeast would likely see temperatures in the 40s, 50s, and 60s. The Northern Plains were expected to be in the 10s and 20s, and the Northwest in the 30s and 40s.

Temperatures in the Lower 48 states Thursday ranged from a low of -24 degrees at Rudyard, Mont. to a high of 81 degrees at Miami, Fla.