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Blizzards, Arctic Blast, and 1000 Weather Records Set

12 Jan 2009, 6:49 am
Blizzard Warnings for the Northern Plains
Blizzard Warnings for the Northern Plains

Radar Center Precipitation Type with Frontal Overlays
Radar Center Precipitation Type with Frontal Overlays
Bitter Arctic Air Bashes the Midwest
Bitter Arctic Air Bashes the Midwest

Over 1000 Weather Records Set in last 7 days
Over 1000 Weather Records Set in last 7 days

Blizzard warnings have taken over our nation’s midsection this morning, ranging from North Dakota through central Iowa as a respectably strong low pressure system is diving southeast through the region that will result in widespread blowing and drifting snow with whiteout conditions.

Our Radar Center currently shows the area of lower pressure centered between North and South Dakota, with snowbands extending along the state lines from Minnesota south to Iowa and Missouri.

The blizzard warnings in the Dakotas will run out later today around 6pm cst while Iowa, directly in the path of the system will have warnings valid until 3pm cst Tuesday.

The strongest concern with this system is wind speed as intensities will range up to around 50mph or so while snow accumulations in the Dakotas will up to around 6″ or so, and lesser amounts further south.

Our Precipitation Type Forecast Animation shows the system streaming through the nation’s midsection, then deciding it doesn’t like the warm and swinging northeast to New England, similar to the last system that moved through, a normal occurrence this time of year.

Also notice behind the initial snowfall, more is projected to occur in the wake of the system. This will be a gift from a shortwave that will stream through the region. With limited moisture, accumulations should average up to maybe 4″ or so.

Arctic air will also sneak in behind the initial system with north to northwesterly winds which will provide a setup for lake enhanced snowfall for the Great Lakes downwind of the flow for Lakes Erie and Ontario by Tuesday evening.

Our Forecast Temperatures Animation shows the complete extent to which the arctic air will invade the northern tier. Watch the “purple” colors closely that represent 0ºF, and the thin red line that represents 32ºF, the bitter arctic air will spread as far south as Chicago and propagate east through Ohio all the way to the eastern states. It will be cold enough to make me remember I need a vacation!

However, the south will not be left out of the equation as the leading edge of cold air will spread as far south as Atlanta on Wednesday morning, and even into the Florida Panhandle. Allow me to say nananana! =) The good news for the south is that the cold won’t last for long as the arctic air swings out with milder temperatures streaming in on the heals of the system.

A glance at our Climate Center shows that over the last week 1,235 Record Events occurred, with rainfall being by far the highest occurrence. My initial thoughts were that the flooding in the Pacific Northwest would drive that region to receive the highest records, but the rainfall across the southern United States through the Mid-Atlantic states received the majority of events.

For example Winnsboro, Louisiana received 7.39″ of rainfall on Monday January 5, more than doubling the previous record of 2.82″ from 2007. However, Washington does take up the next two slots with Baring, Washington receiving 6.42″ of rainfall on Wednesday, besting the 4.8″ record set in 2002. While Forks, Washington comes in just behind with 5.28″ beating the previous record of 3.62″ set also in 2002.

Second on the list was snowfall with Sunrise Mountain, Arizona blasting its previous record of 8″ set in 1974 buy receiving a whopping 19″ of snow on Monday, January 5. Hoonah, Alaska did not want to be outdone by coming in a close second with 17.6″ of snowfall on Friday January 9, demolishing the previous record of 5.5″ from 1983. Jamestown, New York deserves honorable mention by receiving 12″ of snow on Friday, January 9 more than doubling the previous record of 5″ set in 1978.

Please be sure to view our Advisory and Radar Centers for the latest updates and developments.

As always stay tuned to your favorite weather outlet, stay informed, and stay safe!



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