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The nation’s weather

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Weather Underground Forecast for Saturday, March 24, 2012.

Two strong weather features were to affect the nation on Saturday. In the East, a low pressure system continued making its way eastward from the Plains. On Saturday, it was expected to move over the Ohio River Valley and toward the East Coast. Flow around this system continued pulling in moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, allowing for moderate to heavy showers and thunderstorms to develop along its associated cold front. Those storms were expected to turn severe with heavy downpours, strong and damaging winds, large hail, and a few tornadoes. Temperatures were finally cooling down over the East Coast as this cold front passed. Highs were expected to return to the 60s for the Northeast, Midwest, and Mid-Atlantic states.

Out West, another strong low pressure system was making its way onshore from the Pacific Ocean. This system was to obtain abundant moisture and energy before moving pushing a cold front into northern California. Rainfall totals across northern California and southern Oregon were expected to range from a half-inch to an inch. Two to 6 inches of new snow were expected above 3,000 feet across the mountains of northern California. Only light snow showers were expected across the Sierras, but strong winds were developing across the region, ahead of the cold front. Winds were to range from 40 to 50 mph, up to 60 mph gusts likely at high mountain passes.

Meanwhile, between these two systems, a ridge of high pressure was building over the Central U.S. This was pushing moisture away to the south, producing mostly sunny skies and dry conditions. Highs were to range in the 50s and 60s across the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains, while the Central and Southern Plains were expecting highs in the 70s and 80s.