|The largest blizzard in the history of the world has taken hold of the Northern Great Plains, as temperatures matching that of the newly named dwarf planet Pluto plummet south from the Arctic Tundra!
Locations such as Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota (forecast) currently have air temperatures (actual) of -10°F, with wind chills in the negative 30s, this is not a time to be messing around. Frost bite can be achieved at wind chill factors of that level in less than 30 minutes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have a guide available to assist in understanding the severity of cold weather scenarios.
Minot AFB (forecast) will experience low temperatures in the negative range at least through next Friday, while the snow and drifting snow will blow out by Monday Morning. An example of the spread of cold temperatures is available in the graphic at left (2nd from top), that is valid 03z December 14th, note the red line delineating the freezing mark, and how far south the cold air has advected, additionally, how the 0°F and below (purple colors – note scale) have pushed deep into the Northern Plains and associated areas of higher elevations in the Rockies.
Also included at left (3rd from top) is our HAMmodel 2 Meter Temperature Animation (WRF-NAM). Recall these animations are at 3 hour intervals from initialization (00z today) out 84 hours (3.5 days). Note the animation closely, fortunately for those in the midwest it appears the frigid arctic air will remain scuttled in the Northern Great Plains, and advect as far south as Kansas, brushing into the Oklahoma Territory as upper level conditions constrain further propagation at this point. However, will it move further east? =)
A sample of one of the many blizzard warnings is below for you, specifically from the National Weather Service Office in Duluth, MN. Please be sure to view our Advisory and Radar Centers for the latest updates and developments.
URGENT – WINTER WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DULUTH MN
945 PM CST SAT DEC 13 2008
…A MAJOR WINTER STORM WILL STRIKE THE NORTHLAND…
AN INTENSIFYING LOW PRESSURE SYSTEM OVER COLORADO WILL REACH MINNEAPOLIS SUNDAY AFTERNOON… AND UPPER MICHIGAN LATE SUNDAY NIGHT. MOISTURE FROM THE GULF OF MEXICO WILL INTERACT WITH VERY COLD AIR POISED JUST NORTH OF THE REGION. SNOW WILL CONTINUE TONIGHT AND BECOME HEAVY ON SUNDAY. AS THE SYSTEM NEARS NORTHERN WISCONSIN SUNDAY AFTERNOON WINDS ARE EXPECTED TO INCREASE SIGNIFICANTLY. AS A RESULT SNOW AND BLOWING SNOW WILL RESULT IN NEAR BLIZZARD CONDITIONS AT TIMES WITH BLIZZARD CONDITIONS EXPECTED SUNDAY MORNING THROUGH EARLY SUNDAY EVENING IN THE TWIN PORTS AREA. VISIBILITIES WILL LOWER TO LESS THAN A QUARTER OF A MILE AT SUNDAY AFTERNOON AND SUNDAY NIGHT ESPECIALLY NEAR THE HEAD OF THE LAKE AND ALONG HIGHWAY 2 IN WISCONSIN. TRAVELING MAY BECOME VERY DIFFICULT OR IMPOSSIBLE. ALTHOUGH THE MAJORITY OF THE NORTHLAND WILL RECEIVE SNOW SNOW WILL MIX WITH SLEET AND POSSIBLY FREEZING RAIN OVER THE INLAND COUNTIES OF NORTHWEST WISCONSIN.
THIS WILL BE A VERY DANGEROUS WINTER STORM.
…BLIZZARD WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL 12 PM CST MONDAY…
BLIZZARD CONDITIONS ARE NOT EXPECTED TO DEVELOP UNTIL SUNDAY MORNING SHORTLY AFTER DAYBREAK.
SNOW IS EXPECTED TO CONTINUE TONIGHT WITH ACCUMULATIONS OF 1 TO 3 INCHES BY 6 AM. THE BRUNT OF THE STORM IS EXPECTED SUNDAY AND SUNDAY NIGHT. SNOW HEAVY AT TIMES WILL COMBINE WITH NORTHEAST WINDS OF 25 TO 30 MPH AND LOCAL GUSTS NEAR 45 MPH. THIS WILL CREATE VERY DANGEROUS TO NEAR IMPOSSIBLE DRIVING CONDITIONS ON SUNDAY. TRAVEL ALONG HIGHWAY 61 FROM DULUTH TO TWO HARBORS WILL BE IMPACTED SIGNIFICANTLY AS WELL AS HIGHWAY 2 HEADING OUT OF DULUTH AND SUPERIOR. ADDITIONAL ACCUMULATIONS OF 5 TO 9 INCHES ARE POSSIBLE TOMORROW. BE AWARE THAT MUCH COLDER AIR WILL BLAST THE REGION SUNDAY AFTERNOON AND SUNDAY NIGHT. THE COMBINATION OF WIND AND COLD AIR WILL GENERATE WIND CHILLS OF 15 TO 30 BELOW ZERO BY LATE SUNDAY AND SUNDAY NIGHT. BE PREPARED FOR THE CHANGES AND SERIOUSLY CONSIDER THE NECESSITY OF TRAVEL DURING THE STORM.
WINDS WILL INCREASE OUT OF THE NORTHEAST ON SUNDAY. IT IS DURINGSUNDAY MORNING AND ESPECIALLY SUNDAY AFTERNOON WHEN HEAVIEST SNOWFALL AND STRONGEST WINDS ARE EXPECTED. THIS WILL BE LOCALIZED TO AREAS NEAR THE HEAD OF LAKE SUPERIOR INCLUDING DULUTH SUPERIOR PROCTOR AND CLOQUET. ONCE WINDS SHIFT SUNDAY NIGHT IT IS LIKELY THAT BLIZZARD CONDITIONS WILL SUBSIDE THOUGH WINDS TO 30 MPH OR HIGHER WILL BE POSSIBLE AT TIMES CREATING BLOWING AND DRIFTING OF SNOW.
A BLIZZARD WARNING MEANS SEVERE AND LIFE-THREATENING WINTER WEATHER CONDITIONS ARE EXPECTED. THE COMBINATION OF STRONG WINDS AND FALLING AND BLOWING SNOW WILL RESULT IN DANGEROUSLY LOW VISIBILITY AND WHITEOUT CONDITIONS. ANY TRAVEL IS STRONGLY DISCOURAGED. MANY DEATHS OCCUR IN BLIZZARDS WHEN PEOPLE LEAVE THEIR VEHICLES TRYING TO SEEK HELP.
As always stay tuned to your favorite weather outlet, stay informed, and stay safe!!