Friday weather updates: Yosemite to reopen after 3-week closure; Gulf Coast thunderstorms; snow in Michigan

It'll be a relatively drama-free St. Patrick's Day for most of the country when it comes to weather on Friday.

Strong thunderstorms will roll across the Gulf Coast, while parts of Michigan will get more than a foot of snow. Californians will get a bit of a break from what has been a torrent of storms.

Thunderstorms will affect cities such as New Orleans and Pensacola, Florida, as well as the southwestern part of Georgia, said Bob Larson, senior meteorologist at AccuWeather.

Meanwhile a storm that affected parts of the Midwest on Thursday is centered over Michigan on Friday, with more than a foot of snow expected in northern parts of the state and rain showers to the south.


Also worth noting: Yosemite National Park is reopening after being closed for three weeks amid snow and winter storms.

Here's what you need to know about Friday's weather:

A pedestrian uses an umbrella to shield themself from the snow in downtown Omaha on Thursday, March 16, 2023.
A pedestrian uses an umbrella to shield themself from the snow in downtown Omaha on Thursday, March 16, 2023.

Good news from California: Yosemite National Park to reopen

After being closed to the public for 21 days due to an overwhelming amount of snowfall, Yosemite National Park will partially reopen on Saturday. Yosemite Valley will only be open from sunrise to sunset, with very limited services available, the National Park Service said.

It is recommended that cars entering the park carry chains. Several miles of paved pedestrian pathways in the park have been plowed but most trails are still snow-covered and the park doesn't recommend hiking them.

PREVIOUSLY: Yosemite Park won't reopen until at least St. Patrick's Day

The South

The National Weather Service issued a hazardous weather outlook for portions of southeast Arkansas, northeast Louisiana, and much of Mississippi on Friday.

Isolated severe thunderstorms are possible, and tornadoes can't be ruled out, according to the outlook. Residents can also expect hail and damaging wind gusts up to 65 mph, Larson said.

The storm will move out of the region by Saturday, though rain showers will likely continue, he said.

The Midwest

A winter storm moves from Wisconsin and Minnesota into central and northern Michigan on Friday, with 6 to 12 inches of snow expected to fall in many areas.

Some spots in the upper Peninsula of Michigan could pick up as much as 17 inches of snow, from both the storm and the lake-effect, the National Weather Service said.

What is lake effect snow?: Here's how it happens and how much snow it can bring with it.

By Saturday, that storm will move on to eastern Canada but it will produce strong winds on its backside. Wind gusts as high as 50 mph are possible throughout Michigan, northern Ohio and Indiana, Larson said.

Residents can likely expect some localized tree damage and power outages as a result, he said.

A break for California, the Northeast

Meanwhile, California is coming off its 11th atmospheric river of the season, which has dumped so much rain and snow that the state ended water restrictions for nearly 7 million people on Thursday.

Atmospheric river: The weather phenomenon extends thousands of miles from the tropics to the western U.S

Though some showers and rain are expected at higher elevations in California on Friday, most of the state will have a few days to dry out before another atmospheric river arrives on Monday.

The Northeast is also experiencing a bit of a break, with winds and cold subsiding Friday, though some light rain showers could move in during the evening.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: St. Patrick's Day weather: Yosemite reopening; thunderstorms and snow