The weather pattern that brought summerlike warmth to much of the East recently will yield to clouds, rain and cooler conditions to end the week.
In some cases, the warmth will end with a bang, with strong, gusty thunderstorms. In other areas, a dose of drenching rain is in store. In a few spots up north, wintry precipitation will mark the transition to chilly weather.
The same storm system that brought a blizzard from Colorado to South Dakota, much needed rain to Nebraska and hail storms to the Plains will close in on the Atlantic coast.
The downpours could slow the morning commute Friday along the bustling I-95 corridor. Drier air will sweep from west to east later Friday over the mid-Atlantic, but it may not reach the coast until the evening hours and may not clear New England until well after dark.
Temperatures stayed in the single digits much of the day in parts of Wyoming with wind-driven snow, while temperatures plunged 60 degrees in less than 24 hours on parts of the Plains.
However, conditions in much of East are likely to be much less intense and in general far less wintry for most areas.
The system will spread a zone of showers and thunderstorms across the Ohio Valley, South, Appalachians then the Northeastern states. Some of the storms can be strong and gusty, if not severe at the local level.
As a bit of a complicating factor, the chilly air across the north that we mentioned last week will sag southward ahead of the approaching storm from the Plains.
So the warmth will collapse from the north and the west over time Thursday into Saturday.
We said most areas will have a non-wintry transition. However, not everyone may avoid the four-letter word: snow.
A wintry mix will spread across northern upstate New York, northern New England and neighboring Canada Thursday.
As the colder air settles in this weekend, snow showers are possible around the Great Lakes, the central Appalachians and northern New England.
Thundershowers with hail could occur Saturday as the chilly air moves in aloft from the Ohio Valley to the central Appalachians and mid-Atlantic coast.
As for next week, the indications are that a storm similar to this week's system may affect parts of the Rockies and Plains with more snow, rain and thunderstorms.
However, there is uncertainty as to how much warm air returns to the east, how far north that warmth gets and how unsettled such another transition may be met with clouds and rain.
These questions will be answered step by step in the coming days.