The nation's weather

AP News
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Posted: Jul 14, 2011 4:40 AM
The nation's weather

Areas of the East will see a slight bit of relief from this week's heat during the next few days.

An energetic cold front will drop across the eastern valleys and into the Southeast with bands of showers, periods of heavy rain and clusters of thunderstorms Thursday through Saturday. This much needed precipitation is expected to reach drought stricken areas from the Texas-Louisiana border eastward through Florida. As this front drops southeastward, a broad area of high pressure from the north will follow the system. A cooler airmass will accompany this system over the Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and the Ohio and Tennessee Valleys on Thursday and farther south into the Southeast by Friday and Saturday. Expect a gradual cool down throughout these areas during this period. New York and the D.C. area will drop down into the lower 80s by Friday, while Atlanta drops to the upper 80s Friday and Saturday.

Hot weather conditions with high heat index values will unfortunately continue in the Plains on Thursday. Southwesterly flow from a ridge of high pressure over the north-central region of the nation and a trough of low pressure setting up over the Pacific Northwest will kick up showers and thunderstorms from the Northern High Plains through the Central Plains. Increasing instability may lead to some severe weather development in these regions during the afternoon with damaging wind and hail.

Elsewhere, chilly weather with well below normal daytime highs will continue in the west coast states. Finally, monsoon moisture spreading across the Four Corners will create more chances of showers and thunderstorms during the afternoon.

Temperatures in the Lower 48 states Wednesday ranged from a morning low of 33 degrees at Truckee-Tahoe, Calif., to a high of 105 degrees at Duncan, Okla.