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Cold front: 40s here, 70s in southern Va.

One of the fascinating things about springtime weather in these parts is the battle between persistent cold air to our north and rapidly warming air to our south. And today provides a terrific example.

With a low-pressure system approaching from the Midwest, the counter-clockwise flow around the low is drawing cold, wet Atlantic air in from the sea, giving us this chill, drizzly weather. It's snowing hard across northeastern Pennsylvania and Upstate New York. Forecasters

don't expect us to get much above 50 degrees this afternoon.

At the same time, the flow around the same low is dragging much warmer, wet air from the Gulf states, driving today's temperatures to our south into the 70s to near 80 degrees. Charlottesville, Va. is expected to see a high today of 75 degrees.

And as the low passes through the region later today, and the associated cold front passes by, we're likely to see thunderstorms, some of which could become severe.

Forecasters at the National Weather Service say the storms could kick up after 4 p.m., with between a tenth- and a quarter-inch of rain possible, more in thunderstorms. The chance of storms continues into the evening, ending around 2 a.m. with a nother quarter-inch possible. But showers could persist until 8 a.m. Thursday. There's some chance the overnight precipitation could mix with snow, both in the mountains to our west, and in higher elevations along the Mason-Dixon line.

Looking toward the weekend, daytime temperatures will hold in the 40s - 10 degrees below the

average - after the cold front passes by, and Canadian air moves in. Nighttime lows will drop to freezing or below from Thursday night right through the weekend.

The next storm system arrives Saturday night, and there's a 50 percent chance the rain could mix with snow by Sunday morning. No significant accumulations are likely, but forecasters caution that their confidence in the forecast this far out is low.  

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