On the Radar
Jonathan is an emergency management coordinator with a passion for all things weather. He currently lives in south-central Pennsylvania with his wife and son.
Old Man Winter Strikes Back
Jan 18, 2012
Well, I’ve got to hand it to Old Man Winter – he certainly knows how to make a comeback. Earlier this month I reported that parts of Texas saw their average seasonal snowfall in a day. Seattle, WA now joins that exclusive club.
|Snow accumulates on the branches of trees below the Space Needle in Seattle, after heavy snowfall in the Puget Sound Region January 15, 2012. Photo credit: REUTERS/Anthony Bolante
Each year, Seattle sees an average of a mere six inches of snow. Despite being located in the Pacific Northwest, the city is used to rainfall – not snowfall. According to Accuweather, Wednesday’s snowstorm shattered the previous daily snowfall record with 6.8” of snow recorded at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport at 5:20 PM local time. The previous record was 2.9” recorded in 1954.
The same storm is responsible for new snowfall totals exceeding one foot in higher elevations, heavy rainfall along the coast, and high winds. But the Pacific Northwest isn’t the only area see Old Man Winter strike back this week – nearly the entire northern third of the country will see some form of winter weather through the weekend.
Unfortunately for those in the Upper Plains states, you’ll probably get the worst of the weather with bone-chilling cold settling in. While some areas have the benefit of a little snowfall on the ground to insulate winter wheat, many of you are still lacking in the snowfall department, placing winter crops at risk from the extreme cold.
|Extreme cold is expected from Wednesday night through Friday in parts of the Northern Plains. Wind chill values could reach less than -50 degrees with real air temperature approaching -30 degrees.
During the overnight hours from Wednesday into Thursday cold weather advisories and warnings were in place from Montana east through the Dakotas into Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Iowa. The National Weather Service warned the worst hit areas could see wind chills below -50 degrees. Temperatures could dip as low as -30 degrees in some areas through Thursday morning and the bitter cold will remain over the area through the day on Friday.
A system moving over the Great Lakes Thursday will produce light to moderate snowfall across the Mid-Atlantic and New England Thursday and into the day on Friday. While many inland areas will see generally light accumulations, New England will be under fire with up to 6” possible Friday. Forecasters believe the storm will move offshore and quickly gain strength, producing a 6” target area over coastal New England. Some forecast models suggest an icy mix for areas from Long Island south through New Jersey. A second round of snow is possible for the same areas Friday night into Saturday.
The rain and snow drought in areas of Northern California and the Rocky Mountains will come to an end this weekend as well. Forecasters expect the jet stream to shift south, creating basically a highway for future storm systems to track across Northern California and the Rockies. Several systems are expected to track along the jet stream over the next week, possibly bringing rain as far south at Southern California and potentially dropping several feet of snow in part of the Sierra Nevadas. If the forecast models hold true, this will help to alleviate (but not eliminate) concerns over how much water will be available for irrigation this spring.
Despite being fashionably late, it appears Old Man Winter is finally here.