All Weather News

It’s Been A While… Wednesday-Thursday’s Blizzard And Recent Larger Snowstorms

19 Dec 2012, 11:33 am
Denver, CO: Snowy Traffic Cam
Denver, CO: Snowy Traffic Cam

That is a snowy scene from this morning in the Denver-area.  Many folks bracing for similar looks to this basically from the front range on eastward.

Ending The Snow Drought

For many people, such as those in Milwaukee and Chicago, it might seem like AGES since the last big snowstorm.  That is because, up until yesterday for Milwaukee – it actually was!  You saw your record-breaking streak in Milwaukee for no measurable snowfall end at 288 days.

For others, it hasn’t been *quite* that long, but still many months since they saw their larger snowfall tallies.  Let’s break down a few of these locations.

Omaha is in the path of our impending blizzard/snowstorm:

Omaha Snow
Omaha Snow: Last Big Storm

So that was a fairly large event.  How about places like Des Moines?  They actually saw a pretty similarly timed event (same storm, same day) – but with lesser snowfall tallies:

Des Moines Snow: Last Big Event
Des Moines Snow: Last Big Event

Moving on from southwest Iowa/Nebraska to eastern Iowa, you get into Cedar Rapids and Waterloo.  Waterloo saw a snow event a bit more recently – but it has still been some time:

Waterloo Snow: Last Big Event
Waterloo Snow: Last Big Event

Finally, as we tour around the region and look back on when some of these larger metropolitan areas and when they last got a big (4″ or greater totals) snowstorm, we check in on Madison, WI:

Madison Snow: Last Big Event
Madison Snow: Last Big Event

There’s a reason we bring all of this up.  You likely are aware by now, or maybe not – that there is a massive winter storm and blizzard that has already kicked out snow as far east as Nebraska and South Dakota as of 11am CST today.  It is set to storm eastward (quite literally, as well as figuratively) – pummeling some of these spots with massive amounts of snow and wind.

Take a look at this snowfall forecast map:

Snow Accumulations Through Saturday
Snow Accumulations Through Saturday

Look at how the heavy swath of snow doesn’t just end at the northern United States border with Canada – but in fact continues onward.  Those purplish/pinkish shaded regions are specifically spots where our high-resolution computer models are putting out close to 12″ or greater of snowfall.  While those totals may not pan out in those exact locations, somewhere *near* there you could easily see anywhere from 10-16″ isolated totals.

Snowfall totals aren’t the only concern, however.  Wind is a SERIOUS factor in this storm.  In fact, many locations are looking at 30-40mph sustained winds from this storm, gusting to higher than that.

I was actually living in Iowa during their last major blizzard, that of the beginning of 2011.  I found myself driving around 8-10 foot drifts after we saw reported gusts of over 60mph and sustained winds in line with those 30-40mph types.

Aaron By A Drift
Aaron By A Drift (I am roughly 6 feet tall, for comparison)

That was the view from the car we were driving in, streaming live road conditions video back to the station I worked at during that particular storm.

Now, Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Kansas are all set to see similar scenarios.  Look at this wind forecast map:

Wind Forecast HiRes
Wind Forecast HiRes

As you may be able to figure out on your own, those yellows/reds/oranges indicate regions of higher winds.  Cool-looking picture… scary weather scenario.

Make sure if you are doing any traveling in these areas that you either leave *before* snow – or SERIOUSLY consider postponing your travels until the storm has passed.

 

WeatherNation Meteorologist Aaron Shaffer @ashafferWNTV

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