The Washington Post

Halloween weather forecast: Where to find, avoid the scariest skies

A strong cold front plowing towards the East Coast could certainly make for some wicked weather this Halloween.

Damaging thunderstorms possible in Tennessee and Ohio Valleys

The front, which will extend from western Michigan to the Louisiana Gulf Coast by Thursday evening, promises to be the nation’s major weather maker.

Forecast weather map at 8 p.m. Thursday (National Weather Service)

The National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center has placed a large region from southeast Texas to western Ohio under a slight risk of severe thunderstorms. Almost 42 million people reside in this risk area, which includes Houston, Indianapolis, Columbus, Memphis, and Nashville.

“The potential for widespread damaging winds…and possibly a few tornadoes…will increase throughout the day,” the Storm Prediction Center writes.

Percent chance of severe weather within 25 miles of a point in shaded areas. Areas shaded in yellow and red are officially in a “slight risk” area for severe thunderstorms. (Storm Prediction Center)

Western U.S. in the clear

Most people residing north, west, or northwest of Houston, Texas all the way to the Pacific coast should have no Halloween weather worries. A large, sprawling area of high pressure keeps much of the central and western U.S. dry.

Simulated radar at 7 p.m. Thursday evening, showing dry weather north, west, and northwest of Houston, Texas (

Rain mostly holds off for East Coast

Compared to the last two years, the Halloween weather spook factor is much reduced for the eastern seaboard. After all, trick-or-treaters won’t face the windy, flooded, and/or snowy aftermath brought to them by 2012’s Superstorm Sandy or 2011’s Snowtober.

The incoming front and its wall of rain/storms should avoid the I-95 corridor until after midnight – although a few showers cannot be ruled out sooner. Winds from the south should keep it nice and mild, with temperatures some 10 degrees above normal.

Temperature difference from average simulated at 8 p.m. Thursday by the GFS model (

Eerie aurora up north?

Skies could turn ghostly shades of green and red in the northernmost states (where there is no cloud cover) if a possible solar storm materializes. writes:

NOAA forcasters estimate a 25% chance of polar geomagnetic storms on Oct. 31st when a CME [coronal mass ejection] is expected to hit Earth’s magnetic field. It was propelled in our direction by an M4-class flare from sunspot AR1882 on Oct. 28th. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras on Halloween.


Jason is the Washington Post’s weather editor and Capital Weather Gang's chief meteorologist. He earned a master's degree in atmospheric science, and spent 10 years as a climate change science analyst for the U.S. government. He holds the Digital Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association.
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